Philadelphia Eagles News

Off And Running With His Opportunity

This is all business, and Charles Scott knows it. He calls it "grown man's stuff out here," and the rookie running back from LSU knows very well that as a sixth-round draft pick there are no guarantees, no time to let down. He is just catching his breath now after the whirlwind life of the pre-draft period, then the draft itself and then the reality that is the NFL.

"This is a different tempo, a whole different tempo than anything I've experienced, even from college," said Scott, who is competing for a roster spot and some playing time with the Eagles. "It's a physical challenge and a mental challenge. They throw a lot of stuff at you and they expect you to pick it up right away. When you mess up, there is no second chance.

"So, you've got to have your mind right to do it and to excel at this level."

If all Scott had to do was carry the football, well, things would be so much easier. He was an all-SEC pick as a junior at LSU, and was on his way to another stellar season last year until he suffered a fractured clavicle and missed four games. Carrying the football is the easy part. Everything else is a foreign language.

A running back in this system -- in any NFL system, really -- has to block, has to run pass routes and has to catch the football. The amount of learning is so completely over the top of anything a player has been exposed to, it is sometimes daunting.

The challenge for Scott is to adapt to the speed of life here, to adjust to the volume of information and then to go on the field and do it right every single time.

"A lot of people think the running game a running back would concentrate on, but you've been a running back your whole life, so one thing you're going to know how to do is to run the football," said Scott. "I would say the first thing you focus on is protection. Protection and my routes in the passing game. If somebody calls a running play, it comes second nature to me. The roles outside of the running game are the parts of the game that I have to learn and get down and make sure the coaches can trust me on."

Scott is competing with Eldra Buckley and Martell Malletl for the team's third halfback job. He has done a good job so far, and Scott appears to have moved ahead of Buckley during these Organized Team Activities, although the Eagles don't have an official depth chart. The coaches are moving a lot of players around, learning as much as they can about the youngsters who are being flooded with information as they are introduced to concepts in the schemes.

Scott is a power player who weighs in the range of 237-238 pounds. He has a lot of mileage on his tread -- Scott didn't play football until he was in middle school, and then didn't become a starter in high school until his junior season. Same thing at LSU -- Scott was a backup until he was a junior. His ideal playing weight will be around 233-235 pounds and the Eagles want to see him pound the rock in short-yardage situations, and then some.

In this offense, being a short-yardage "specialist" means you don't necessarily have a job. You have to do more than one thing. Scott is proving that he has soft hands and is a reliable target in the passing game. He will have to be a factor on special teams when training camp opens, and he has to go out and win a job in the preseason.

"This is what I love to do. I love to wake up every morning and practice and immerse myself in football. Football is my life and it is my job," he said. "I am enjoying this. I'm not paying attention to my reps or where I fit in. I know I have to make the coaches trust me in every situation. I want to increase my role. I want to play every down.

"Right now, it's all football. When I'm not practicing, I'm in the hotel and staying off of my feet and I'm studying, or I'm watching TV. I know how tough this is. Once you step on the practice field, you know you can't line up wrong. You can't make mental mistakes. I'm in shape and I'm ready to rock. I've made a few mistakes, but I think I'm playing good football."

Then Scott is snapping his fingers. Snap, snap, snap, snap.

"That's what it is like at this level. Man, it's fast. It was up-tempo at LSU, but what we did there doesn't compare to this," said Scott. "The tempo is your conditioning. We don't run laps here. We don't condition at practice, other than practice is our conditioning. You run five reps and you run on every rep and you don't get a rest and you are expected to go, go, go. It's different, but I've adjusted and I like it.

"My goal is to not only make this team, but to play and contribute. We have a great team, with great coaching and the competition is outstanding. I'm enjoying every minute of it."

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