Philadelphia Eagles Smart to Use 2-Back System in 2013

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistFebruary 13, 2013

November 18, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) gets carted off the field in the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

One thing Andy Reid didn't like to do that Chip Kelly does like to do: run the ball consistently. And another thing Reid didn't like to do that Kelly does like to do: utilize more than one running back. 

Both are signs of good things to come for the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans. At least those who aren't also LeSean McCoy fantasy owners. 

New Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said this week that both McCoy and second-year "backup" Bryce Brown will likely play big roles next season. From CSN Philly's Reuben Frank:

"I think it's important that you use more than one running back," Shurmur said. "It's a long season, and a guy can run out of gas quickly. If you have guys who are different, you can use them in different ways, and you try to play to their strengths. I think that's important.

"I've always believed there's a place on the roster for two good running backs. You have your starter, but the other guy needs to play so they can all get through the season."

Reid and Marty Mornhinweg didn't give Brown a proper chance to spell McCoy last season until a concussion suffered by the overworked starter forced Reid's hand. The rest is history after Brown burst onto the scene with 372 yards from scrimmage in his first two full games.

McCoy makes a lot of money, but this staff has nothing to do with the contract the Eagles gave him last offseason and Howie Roseman won't meddle. The reality is that while McCoy has to be considered the go-to guy, he won't last unless Kelly and Shurmur do exactly what it appears they plan on doing. 

Brown had an issue with ball control during his late-season run as a starter, but as part of a committee he'll ideally be utilized in situations that are less prone to result in a game-changing turnover. That'll give him a chance to work on his fumbling problem while gaining confidence and still contributing to the offense. 

Frank points out that, last year, only the Eagles and Baltimore Ravens had two backs with 500 or more yards and a 4.2 or higher average. Philadelphia only got there because its star back missed a quarter of the season due to injury. Baltimore got there with Ray Rice starting all 16 games. 

That should be the Eagles' goal for 2013. After all, things worked out quite well for the 2012 Ravens.