While Jake Elliott may be star of yesterday’s win over the New York Giants, there’s one more rookie who shined just as bright. The Eagles rushing attack has been heavily criticized since the season opening win over Washington and the pressure on Carson Wentz was mounting. Just like he did in week three last year, Doug Pederson ensured this was the game that would show just how dangerous the Eagles backfield could be.
As LeGarrette Blount barelled through the second level and Sproles continued to show the shiftiness that landed him in San Diego thirteen years ago prior to an injury, the Birds’ then turned to undrafted free agent Corey Clement.
Clement forced his way into the running back picture after a strong offseason and even stronger preseason. The Eagles originally kept five running backs on the roster and it didn’t take long for Clement to make his mark. The very first tackle of the Eagles NFL season belonged to the former Badger as he contained a kick return. Two weeks later, he would see his first offensive action.
Clement started out returning kicks but was called upon in the fourth quarter to make something happen. With a thick base and a chip on his shoulder, Clement ran with the assertion displayed by Blount just a few drives ago. Clement touched the ball six times and amassed 22 yards on his offensive debut, the end result of which, was a touchdown he was simply not going to let get away.
“It felt awesome, especially in front of the home crowd and first regular season home game touchdown, not preseason.” Clement explained. “I’m still dreaming kind of. It’s kind of weird, so when I wake up tomorrow I have to hit the reset button and look for another one.”
There must be something about this stadium that sends Clement into the next level of production. Many will remember the touchdowns he scored at the Linc during preseason along with 105 total rushing yards, but now the dominant downhill runner has scored one where it counts. For Clement however, as special as the touchdown was, it’s the production of the entire group that shined through.
For the running back group itself, we really stepped up today. Clement told reporters after the game.” “When our name was called, I think everybody did what they were supposed to do. We trusted in us, [Eagles Head] Coach [Doug] Pederson trusted in us. All week we were practicing the run game and I think it showed today. We just have to keep executing it and I think we can be a better group.”
On a day where rookies shined…a day where Rasul Douglas hauled his first interception and Jake Elliott stole the show, Corey Clement did everything in his power to do just the same. If the injury to Sproles is serious, the Eagles will be down to three running backs after as many regular season games. Clement could be called upon far more frequently moving forward, especially after such an impressive display.
The biggest concern now is how the backfield will move on from this. Will the stunning level of production continue to rise, or dramatically drop as has almost become the norm in this Offense?
“We just have to keep game-planning and prepping and things should be in our favor.” Clement said. “As we approach going into the next game, we just have to keep looking forward. This game is put to bed now and I look forward to next week.“
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports