In his explanation of the acquisition of running back Jerome Harrison from the Cleveland Browns, general manager Howie Roseman made sure to underscore the team's faith in both Eldra Buckley and Joique Bell. The ability of those two players to run the ball inside, Roseman said, allowed the team to part ways with a physical runner like Mike Bell and acquire a speedier, outside threat like Harrison. And the ripple effects of the move aren't lost on either Buckley or Bell.
"I talked to Howie (Roseman) and he told me they made some moves to try to get me out there a little bit more," Bell said, whom the team signed off the Buffalo Bills practice squad earlier this season. "I'm thankful for the opportunity. I'm looking forward to it and (I'm) ready to see how it goes from here."
Bell, 5-11, 220, is now the biggest back on the roster. The undrafted rookie out of Division-III Wayne State impressed in the preseason with 152 yards rushing on 27 carries (5.6 yards per carry), though he's only been active for one game since joining the Eagles. Now that he's had some time to learn the offense, though, Bell expects to start making an impact on offense.
"I'm picking up the offense very well," he said. (Running backs) "coach (Ted) Williams is doing a great job with me. He's making it easier for me to learn the playbook, giving me little tips here and there and just repetition. The more reps I get, the more comfortable I'll get with the offense. So I just have to take it from here."
Who else has been impressed with Bell? How about the guy who's been taking the second-team reps at running back this week.
"(Bell) is a good player," said Buckley. "He's a real good player. He's got nice vision, pretty quick and I just think he's an all-around good back."
As for Buckley, the veteran running back who fought his way onto the team last summer mainly on the strength of his special teams play is the consummate team player.
"Whatever they ask me to do, be the No. 2, No. 3 or No. 4. Whatever they ask me to do, that's what I'll be willing to do," Buckley said. "I just want to do it the best I can."
We have "great confidence in both (Bell and Buckley)," said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. "They both have worked hard and we know Eldra just a little bit. In fact he's played in games for us and done a nice job."
Of course, Bell and Buckley aren't exactly in line to get a ton of carries with LeSean McCoy lighting the league on fire to the tune of 583 yards from scrimmage - over 100 of those with a cracked rib. But Eagles fans should be confident that the guys standing in the shade behind McCoy have the ability to step in and make an impact when called upon.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 9:06 a.m., October 15