Eagles still have questions in offensive backfield

Posted July 30, 2010 @ 3:06 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

Offensively, there's little not to like about the Eagles' potential. QB Kevin Kolb has great talent and is coming off a strong offseason. The wide receivers are strong at the top with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant, and the tight ends are deep, young and talented. The offensive line has its share of questions, mostly because of injuries, but the depth at the position is an Andy Reid hallmark, and the thinking is that some young players might be willing to step up if injured starters are not ready.

But the offensive backfield is an area with some unknowns. All signs are that LeSean McCoy could be a special player one day. New short-yardage RB Mike Bell played a nice role on the Super Bowl-champion Saints and should have similar responsibilities. And FB Leonard Weaver proved to be a reliable and polished performer in his first season in Philadelphia.

But can this be a position of strength this season? Much of it will hinge on how much McCoy can handle in this offense.

"Well, that halfback spot, as you know, is critical in our offense," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "I do think LeSean has proven himself to some extent. He carried the load quite a little bit last year. That experience that he built up as a rookie will pay off this year.

"Many times you'll make a pretty good jump between your rookie and your second year. Sometimes it's between your second and third year, but I would expect him to make a pretty good jump this year. That great experience that he got is going to pay off."

Right now, McCoy is not strong enough in pass protection to be counted on as a third-down back. And although he has some flashy offensive moves as a runner, he also must prove his stamina and ability to run through contact.

Mornhinweg said McCoy doesn't necessarily have anything major to prove to him, but it's clear the Eagles will throw more responsibility at the second-year back and see what he can handle in an expanded role. Bell, Weaver and Eldra Buckley are capable alternatives, but none of them has the playmaking potential of McCoy.

There also are other options to consider. Rookie Charles Scott and Canadian import Martell Mallett could stick with the team as fourth or fifth options, depending on how many backs the Eagles keep on their 53-man roster. Scott is more of a tough, inside runner, and Mallett appears more shifty and skilled in the passing game.

 

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