Inside The Birds: Changes Coming To Birds Run Game?
With just a short amount of time left before the 2021 NFL draft, the Eagles are looking to fill a number of holes on draft night.
On the latest Inside the Birds podcast, Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan take a look at running back options as well as review the Eagles’ front office during the Doug Pederson regime.
Geoff Mosher: “I think it’s important that we repeat what we said after the Eagles signed Jordan Howard, and that is don’t get married to the idea that Jordan Howard is definitely going to be the No. 2 back. I mean he signed a one-year deal, he wasn’t wanted by very many teams. I don’t know if you heard his Zoom conference, but he told reporters that he thought he was done, he didn’t think anyone was going to have interest in him and that the market was so dry. So he comes back to the Eagles, where he has had some success, but he’s a person that I would think you can say is replaceable, fungible. If they draft a kid, you would want to see that kid get more time, but in case they don’t – or they do and the kid doesn’t work out – you’ve got the steady, reliable veteran there.”
Adam Caplan: “Agree, he is an insurance policy. The Eagles, as I understand it, loosely targeted him at the start of free agency. They knew he was going to be there. And they monitored the market, they had a certain money set aside for the position and they weren’t gonna spend anything really. They were looking for a veteran minimum deal and that’s what they got with Jordan Howard, and right now he’s the de facto No. 2, but that’s just a name only.”
Michael Carter, North Carolina
Caplan: “A guy who fits incredibly well for this kind of offense is Michael Carter from North Carolina. Five-foot-seven and 7/10 of an inch. A participant in the Senior Bowl, four-year player, 201 [pounds]. Now here’s the interesting part about it and why the tape matters more than the 40 time: his 4.50 40 wasn’t good, but his 22-yard short shuttle is better than Dyami Brown, who’s explosive, that’s why I mention it. He is so explosive, he’s had major production his last two seasons and he’s a terrific pass catcher. He’d absolutely be a great back. You don’t have to be 5-foot-10 and 220 be a great second back. He is so explosive, he’s twice or three times more explosive than anyone else the Eagles have on the roster, other than Miles Sanders.”
Mosher: “He also can help you in the return game, he’s just that explosive, that he can be a good kickoff returner or punt returner. The concern for him – but it wouldn’t be a concern if he was splitting time with Miles Sanders – is just workload, I was told. That you just don’t know because he’s exactly 5-foot-8, 200 if he’s a guy who is going to press the ball as much, but one thing about Michael Carter I’m going to add that a league guy told me that he has a tendency to want to bounce it to the outside a lot.”
Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis
Caplan: “This guy is my favorite back for the draft and it’s not even close. He’d be an unbelievable fit but he only has one year of production. I love this kid. He’s awesome, he played two years but really, his first year did nothing, he barely played. His one year though, the numbers matched the tape and it’s rare that numbers like this would match the tape but from what I’m told by three people, just off the hook, incredible. Two hundred and 31 carries in 2019, 1,459 [yards] on the ground, 13 touchdowns and – get this – 51 receptions for 610 [yards] 12 yards per catch, three touchdowns, and the tape is unbelievably dynamic. Greg Cosell was telling me that he thinks he really he’s explosive, but not as big physically as an Alvin Kamara. But this kid, his tape is so unbelievably phenomenal and I remember he opted out last season. It’s incredible, but you have to take a leap of faith.”
Mosher: “I got some pretty good intel on Trey and him being a pretty good running back, kind of a third- to fourth-round guy and he’s got great feet. That’s the one thing about Sermon great, great feet. You know, you’ve watched Nick Chubb, you see how awesome he is at stopping and starting on a dime. Well, Sermon is 6-foot, 215, great balance, runs with great pad level and if you’re just looking for a guy you can put the ball in his hands and he’s going to give you yards, Trey Sermon is a pretty good player. Now, obviously if he can’t catch the ball then he probably wouldn’t be a good fit, but I was told that he’s actually better at catching the ball than the stats would show.”
Caplan: So I told the story a couple years ago about how Greg Lewis was fired, right. So there were rumors that Greg Lewis might be fired. OK, just along the time when [Jim] Schwartz met with Jeffrey Lurie was that week after the  season. So I checked into it, I was told he’s not getting fired, that Pederson told his staff Greg Lewis was staying. OK, the next week he was fired. Fast forward to 2019, what happened? Doug Pederson tells the media Carson Walch and Mike Groh are back, the next day they were fired. So, this again goes to the miscommunication between the front office, ownership, and the head coach.
Mosher: “I mean, it’s the fact that it would happen again, it speaks poorly from many levels. It speaks poorly for the owner, speaks poorly for the head coach and GMs to not have collaborated before that season-ending press conference, to be on the same page and say, ‘Well, what are we going to say? We’re going to be asked about our coaches.’ Every last press conference when the season is over, every single one, somebody from the media, it’s been me at times, asks, ‘Are you bringing back your coaches?’ Unless you win the Super Bowl, and even sometimes then, but it’s a protocol question you’re supposed to ask because you don’t want to miss out on any potential changes, because you don’t get to speak to the head coach and the GM for quite a while after that.”
– Justin Morganstein (@jmotweets_) is a staff contributor to InsideTheBirds.com
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