Chris Polk has nine career carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Even if you take out the 38-yard touchdown run against the Detroit Lions to seal the Eagles' 34-20 victory in the Snow Bowl, that's still 48 yards on eight carries, which equals a robust 6.0 yards per carry. Sure, it's a small sample size, but Polk was one of the standout players of Training Camp and has shown flashes of being an effective runner whenever given the opportunity. As the regular season winds down, he has started to take the snaps as the second running back behind LeSean McCoy.
"I'm just trying to bring overall aggressiveness and go out there when I get my number called," Polk said. "I do everything to the best of my ability. I'm in there to hit people."
And hit people, he does. That's Polk's style. He's a bruising, physical, north-south runner who welcomes contact and relishes pounding defenses.
"(LeSean McCoy) is real elusive, Bryce (Brown) is the speedster, I'm going to get the tough yards," Polk said. "I think we complement each other very well, it's just a matter of if we have time and if it fits the scheme."
Polk first appeared to be taking a step in the direction of separating himself as the number two back when he broke off a 28-yard touchdown run, the first of his career, against the Denver Broncos on September 29. Then, two weeks later against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for one game. Polk did not touch the ball again even once over the next five games, until the Lions came to town. Head coach Chip Kelly said afterwards he had been coming on in practice lately and deserved more snaps, which he received against the Vikings. Polk did not get a carry in that game and dropped the only pass intended for him.
"I got caught looking upfield," Polk said of the drop. "Don't take your eye off the ball because you catch the ball with your eyes, not your hands."
Later in the game, Polk contributed in a way that didn't involve running or receiving – he threw a big block to help spring tight end Brent Celek on a screen pass that got the Eagles inside the 10-yard line on their second touchdown drive.
"That was way fun," Polk said. "It would've been way more fun if we had scored and won the game, but it's a good feeling to get that big hit and help the team."
Polk has been a major contributor on special teams throughout his time with the Eagles and is now getting an extended look in the regular offense as he attempts to carve out a role. Against a Chicago Bears team that ranks last in the NFL stopping the run, perhaps Polk could get his most touches yet.