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Big Question: Do The Eagles Have Enough At Running Back?


This feature is all about you, Eagles fans. We solicited your questions and the writers answer them below.

Five, count 'em, five, but remember there is no fullback here so the Eagles aren't working with unmanageable numbers here. I see it as a running back-by-committee approach and, honestly, it may have more to do with the game plan than anything else. It would not be surprising if, at the end of the season, we see that Wendell Smallwood has the most carries on the team. He's got the most juice. If he can stay healthy, he'll have a chance to be very productive this season. LeGarrette Blount is the hammer. Bring him in on third-and-short situations and in the goal-line area. He won't get close to the 299 carries he had in New England last season unless the offense is on the field all game. Darren Sproles will get his touches, mostly, I think, in the passing game. Both Corey Clement and Donnel Pumphrey are developmental players. Clement could help on special teams right away and maybe he works into the offense a bit this season. - Dave Spadaro

The important thing to keep in mind when it comes to constructing the 53-man roster is that you have seven players who are inactive on gamedays. Some of those seven will get worked into the rotation, but a handful of those players will rarely be activated throughout the season. In that case, it doesn't necessarily matter what position you're "heavy" at because at the end of the day you are purposely stashing those players and keeping them safe from being scooped up by another team. Keeping five running backs allows both rookies, Corey Clement and Donnel Pumphrey, to develop at their own pace. - Fran Duffy

To me, this backfield has everything you could want as an offensive coach. There's the bruiser in Blount, who averaged 5.13 yards per carry on 16 third- and fourth-and-1 attempts last season. He also led the league in both red zone rushing yards (174) and touchdowns (16). We all know what Sproles can do, and I agree with Spuds' point about Smallwood's skill set. The key for head coach Doug Pederson, offensive coordinator Frank Reich, and running backs coach Duce Staley will be keeping defenses honest when the different backs are on the field. - Chris McPherson

Remember that there are a couple of outliers that affect this number with veterans Darren Sproles, LeGarrette Blount, Brent Celek, and Jason Peters on the roster, but it's certainly not a bad thing. The Eagles are working to influx as much youth as possible where they can, but the best teams aren't always the youngest. What you don't want is to have a lot of older players on the downside of their careers locked into long-term contracts. That's what the Eagles stayed away from during the brightest years under head coach Andy Reid, and that's what they've done more of lately with some contract extensions for younger veterans such as Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson. - Fran Duffy

Doesn't worry me a bit. Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, and Donnie Jones skew the numbers a bit, don't they? And Brent Celek, Chris Long, and Corey Graham are not going to be asked to play 60 snaps a game. The Eagles have eight players who are 30 years or older. Not a big deal to me. - Dave Spadaro

To me, it's important that there's a combination of youth and experience at each position. There are established players across the board putting the Eagles in position to win now, but also young players in key roles as well as others who are in the pipeline for when the older veterans leave the team. - Chris McPherson

Just because the Eagles have only eight offensive linemen on the 53-man roster doesn't mean they lack depth. Halapoulivaati Vaitai can play both tackle spots. Chance Warmack can play both guard spots. Stefen Wisniewski can play both guard spots as well as center. Teams usually dress seven offensive linemen on gamedays, so if there are injuries beyond that, the team is in trouble, anyway. Dillon Gordon and Josh Andrews give the Eagles two more young players on the practice squad they can turn to who know the system and can help. Can the Eagles expect all five starters to stay healthy? Probably not. But if someone goes down, there is quality depth at each of the five positions. I'll trust offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland all day and all night. He knows what he's doing and if he really likes this group, then take it to the bank. - Dave Spadaro

Absolutely. Some have expressed concern about the depth at tackle, but remember that starting left guard Isaac Seumalo has starts under his belt at the tackle position. You can plug him in outside and insert either Chance Warmack or Stefen Wisniewski at left guard if you are ever forced to use a fourth tackle. Seumalo's versatility is a major piece of the Eagles being able to carry eight offensive linemen. He is a glue guy inside who can play a number of roles like Todd Herremans did for so many years. Remember, as well, that tackle Dillon Gordon is right on the practice squad in case you ever need a long-term answer midseason. - Fran Duffy

The Eagles certainly felt good enough about the depth that they traded away a starter (Allen Barbre) and a versatile backup (Matt Tobin) this summer. The silver lining, if you want to call it that, to Lane Johnson's suspension last year was the development of Halapoulivaati Vaitai. The Eagles are in a much better position now to handle an injury. The team hasn't used a lot of draft capital in recent years on the offensive line, but its hit on Johnson, Vaitai, and Isaac Seumalo. - Chris McPherson

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