Yes, head coach Andy Reid said that the Eagles are "going to run the ball 80 percent of the time" this season. Hopefully by now, you should know that he was joking.
But Reid was serious in comparing the group of backs that the Eagles have in camp to the three-headed monster in 2003. That year, Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter and Brian Westbrook helped the Eagles finish eighth in the league in rushing as the team averaged 125.9 yards per game. Last year, the Eagles were 22nd in the league with an average of 102.3 yards per game. And Reid's not making the comparison just because Staley is back as an intern coach.
"I know we talk a lot about throwing the football a lot, but we spend a lot of time on the run game, too, and we do take that a little more serious than people present it and we understand that that's a big part of our offense and it's no different this year," Reid said. "I always go back to the three running backs that we rotated in there when Duce was here and Brian was young, and (Buckhalter) was here, and they were all a little bit different, and that's kind of how this group is."
Second-year man LeSean McCoy leads the way. McCoy broke Buckhalter's franchise rookie rushing record with 637 yards as the primary back in Westbrook's absence. McCoy can catch the ball out of the backfield and hit the home run in between the tackles as well.
The Eagles signed Mike Bell in the offseason, who has a style similar to Buckhalter's – big, lean frame to knock the ball up the middle. Charles Scott, the rookie sixth-round pick, is a bowling ball with the ability to play fullback as well. Eldra Buckley carved out a role as a goal line back last season. Recently acquired J.J. Arrington has a knack for catching the ball out of the backfield. And Martell Mallett is another one-cut-and-go back.
Of course, not all are going to make the team. But comparing this group to the one in 2003 is intriguing if for no other reason than the fact that you have a first-year starting quarterback in Kevin Kolb.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 3:25 p.m., August 3