Sunday is fast approaching and the hype is building for Eagles fans as they prepare themselves for a showdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But if you wanted another reason to be excited, we may have just found it.
The Eagles have had a little bit of running back controversy again this week. First Ryan Mathews has been missing from practice all week due to the fact he’s still yet to pass through concussion protocol. This means that he will likely be listed as questionable for this weekend and with his game fitness being fairly low, the chances of him being sidelined are quite high.
Then you have a certain Darren Sproles who has come out and openly said that he wants more touches in this Eagles Offense and doesn’t feel as if he’s being used effectively.
But interestingly, this won’t open up a huge door for Sproles as one might think, but it opens up a door for second year running back Kenjon Barner.
There seems to be a theme with running backs being frustrated at the moment as Barner came out and told interviewers that he was “Pissed and annoyed” about how little action he has seen so far..that could change this weekend.
Why? The Bucs aren’t that bad at stopping the run despite allowing over 1,000 yards and will be very much aware of the Mathews situation, in turn preparing to face Sproles. But if Chip Kelly plays a wildcard and inserts the former Oregon running back then it could cause a real problem. Just as you think the three headed beast has been wounded, it forms another head.
Barner looked great in pre-season and also had a touchdown to his name as well as over 4 yards per carry on average against the Colts. Let’s not forget that insane 92 yard punt return!
We haven’t seen much of Barner since he was picked up by the Eagles but it could be a blessing in disguise. If Barner begins to start taking punt returns early on and eventually moves into a Darren Sproles esque role, it could do just enough to confuse the Bucs Defense and see him pick up some major yards.
As of right now, Barner is a large unknown and if the Eagles do fail to pick up any kind of momentum on the ground without Ryan Mathews, Barner could not only help to do that..but add another problem entirely for the Bucs.