Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Eagles off-season: RBs

When Big Red felt like running the ball last season, the combo of Weaver and McCoy worked very well. With Westbrook gone, can we count on a similar performance in 2010?

Weaver is a RFA, and he'll be tendered a one-year contract if the Eagles can't work out an long-term deal by tomorrow. I'm pulling for the latter, because Weaver is a perfect fit for this team. He blocked, ran, and caught the ball better than expected, and demonstrated that a FB can be an effective offensive weapon.

McCoy looked good at times last year, but he still has a long way to go. I saw him miss too many blocks in pass protection and he didn't always run decisively enough. He should also beef up a little - ten pounds of lean muscle would be good - to increase his effectiveness between the tackles and improve his durability. All of these issues are common in rookie RBs, so it's nothing to panic about. Still, the team would benefit greatly from a veteran presence to share the load with Shady.

Eldra Buckley performed well when given the chance, but he didn't flash a lot of talent. A solid special-teamer and goalline back, but nothing more. I'd bring in a rookie to compete for his roster spot.

I have no comment on the two practice-squad guys, Dwayne Wright and Martell Mallett, since I haven't seen them play.

I'm not comfortable heading into the season with only those backs, and I don't believe the Eagles are either. I'd address the position twice: once through a veteran FA signing, and again through a mid-to-low-round draft pick.

Chester Taylor is the back the Eagles should target. A solid, veteran back who runs well but blocks and catches even better, he'd be the ideal complement for the lightning-quick McCoy. Taylor does not have breakaway speed, so I doubt anyone will break the bank to sign him, which means the Eagles could sign him to a reasonable contract. If that falls through, Thomas Jones is my second choice. Rumors abound that the Eagles may target Darren Sproles, but I'd prefer a workhorse back instead of a second slasher. Still, it's hard to argue with his explosiveness.

With Weaver, McCoy, and a veteran FA, the RB corps would be set for 2010. The last roster spot could be up for grabs between Buckley, Mallett, and the low-round draftee.


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