Philadelphia Eagles News

State Of The Running Back/Fullback Positions

Here's a look at the Eagles backfield as the players enjoy the bye week and prepare for the second half of the 2010 campaign.

What They've Accomplished: Second-year running back LeSean McCoy has shined in this, his first full season as the team's starting running back. McCoy is sixth in the NFC in rushing yards (477), but has 25 fewer carries than any of the five rushers ahead of him (four of whom are former Pro Bowlers). His lack of touches haven't kept him from the end zone, however, as McCoy is tied for first in the NFC in rushing touchdowns (5). His 4.54 yards per carry is almost a half-yard above his average in 2009. And let's not forget, McCoy has played his last three-plus games with a cracked rib.

McCoy's best game this season came in Week 2 at Detroit. The 5-11, 208-pound running back had his first-career multi-touchdown game, as he was the first Eagle to run for three touchdowns since Charlie Garner on October 8, 1995. McCoy also ran for a career-high 120 rushing yards, marking his first 100-yard game and the highest output by an Eagles running back since Brian Westbrook had 131 yards on December 7, 2008.

Joining McCoy at the running back position is Jerome Harrison, whom the Eagles recently acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns. Harrison made a name for himself over the last three weeks of the 2009 season, when the quick and elusive runner totaled a league-high 561 rushing yards and five touchdowns. It was the eighth-highest three-game rushing total in NFL history.

The Eagles also have Eldra Buckley, a smash-it-up-the-middle back, who gained 40 yards to close out the win over Atlanta and promising rookie Joique Bell, who could see a bigger role in the second half of the season after the trade that sent Mike Bell to Cleveland.

The biggest surprise of the Eagles backfield is fullback Owen Schmitt. After a Week 1 season-ending injury to Leonard Weaver, there were some major question marks at the fullback position. Enter Owen Schmitt, former Seattle Seahawk who actually replaced Weaver when he left for Philadelphia. Schmitt has excelled this season as a blocking fullback, and has shown the ability to catch the ball when called upon. In fact, his 12 catches for 94 yards more than doubles his production in two full seasons as a member of the Seahawks.

What Lies Ahead: Now as a member of the Eagles, Harrison will be a part of the bigger picture at running back. McCoy is the team's primary option, and will get the bulk of the carries. But Harrison's role is of crucial importance, especially in today's NFL where so many teams feature more than one productive running back. While Harrison's touches may be limited, he's proven that any play could be the play with touchdown runs of 70-plus yards in each of the past two seasons. He's also highly capable of catching the ball out of the backfield, something the Eagles demand out of their running backs. Harrison has 61 career receptions, and has averaged 7.3 yards per reception since 2006 with three touchdowns.

As the winter months approach, it will become increasingly important to run the football and do so effectively. This group has been a bright spot for the Eagles through seven games, and look for them to have continued success following the bye week.

-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 6:00 p.m., October 27

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