Philadelphia Eagles News

Smallwood Ready To Step In If Needed


While heavy backfield contributors Ryan Mathews (MCL) and Darren Sproles (ribs) are both hindered by injuries, rookie running back Wendell Smallwood is ready for the challenge of stepping in on Monday night if called upon.

"I think I just have to step up. Got to take the 'next man up' mentality and be better this week and (if I) have to take on a stronger load (I'll) just be ready to handle it," said Smallwood.

Both Mathews and Sproles suffered injuries in Seattle, ultimately resulting in the pair being ruled out for the remainder of the game. From then on, the running back duties were carried out by Smallwood and Kenjon Barner, as Smallwood finished the game as the Eagles leading rusher with 48 yards and career highs with four receptions and 31 receiving yards.

While it's still unclear as to whether or not Mathews and Sproles will be able to suit up on Monday night against the Green Bay Packers, Smallwood moves forward preparing as if he'll see most of the workload.

"We haven't talked about it but I know it's going to be hard," Smallwood added. "We clearly can't lean on those guys being hurt. They weren't out there today so (I) just have to take on more (carries) and be more responsible and be able to handle it."

The Packers defense is ranked sixth overall in rushing yards allowed per game with a 91.1 average. They did, however, allow 191 yards on the ground to the Dallas Cowboys earlier this season.

As a rookie, Smallwood obviously hasn't faced the Packers defense this season, but he's been watching film to prepare for Monday's opponent.

"(I'm) just studying those guys and to know what they're doing. (I don't want to be) surprised when I get out there and I want to take the attack mode to them," said Smallwood. "Knowing they're Green Bay, they have a good defense and they play excellent, we have to come out and be ready to give them the best of us and they're going to give us the best of them."

Smallwood has tallied 253 yards on the ground for the year as well as an 86-yard kickoff return touchdown against Washington. He's gained a significant amount of experience under his belt thus far, but Smallwood sees even better things in his future.  

"I think I'm just getting better every week," Smallwood said. "I don't think I'm taking any steps back after a game. I think I'm getting better and seeing things better and doing more than what they're asking me to. The more I can handle the more they're going to give me."

Even if Mathews and Sproles are cleared to return for Monday's matchup, Smallwood's fresh legs could provide the difference. 

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