Monday, September 22, 2014
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Dunn the most intriguing RB option

When the Brian Westbrook news broke last week, MTC immediately asked if you thought the Eagles needed to add a veteran running back.

Dunn the most intriguing RB option

When the Brian Westbrook news broke last week, MTC immediately asked if you thought the Eagles needed to add a veteran running back.

The response was mixed.

Some of you disagreed with me on Edgerrin James. Some preferred different options. And others thought they could get by with LeSean McCoy, Leonard Weaver and Lorenzo Booker.

Here's my take on the situation.

James doesn't make sense for the following reasons:

** He won't be happy if he's not touching the ball.
** He said he wasn't successful last year because the Cardinals were a pass-first team. Well, what exactly are the Eagles?
** Frankly, after having watched him last season, I don't think he has much left.

A little more on the last point. I think it's funny what we choose to remember. James carried 61 times for 236 yards in the playoffs last season, a 3.86 average. There's no question he looked rejuvenated at times during the Cardinals' run, but let's not get carried away here. The way some are talking, you would be led to believe he put Arizona on his back as the Cardinals maneuvered through the NFC.

Meanwhile, Westbrook had 50 carries for 119 yards in the Eagles' three playoff games, a 2.38 average, and obviously not a good mark. But do we just want to erase from our memories the 71-yard touchdown catch against the Vikings? Wasn't that the Eagles' only offensive touchdown that day? Didn't it come at a crucial time when they were clinging to a two-point lead in the fourth quarter?

C'mon people. Let's be fair here.

Aside from James, some other names have emerged in the past two days. Jeff McLane over at Birds' Eye View put together a list with the following guys: Warrick Dunn, Rudi Johnson, Deuce McAllister, Ahman Green, Michael Pittman and J.J. Arrington.

ESPN.com's Sal Paolantonio put together a similar list, which also included DeShaun Foster and Chris Perry.

The group is filled with players who are either old, beat-up, or both. That's why they're available.

But there's one name that intrigues me: Warrick Dunn.

Let's address the negatives first: He's old (34), and he didn't do much down the stretch last year when the Bucs were fighting for their playoff lives.

Yes, both points are valid. But here's why he makes more sense than the other guys.

Dunn is the consummate professional and teammate. Between him and Westbrook, you couldn't ask for two better mentors for LeSean McCoy.

And when you look at the numbers, Dunn was still surprisingly productive last season. On the ground, he carried 186 times for 786 yards, a 4.2 yards per carry average. He's always been a solid receiver, last year catching 47 balls for 330 yards. Overall, 1,116 yards from scrimmage. Not bad.

He also had three games of 20 carries or more last season. Westbrook had four. So he can probably carry the load in spurts if he needs to.

And there's more. Despite being 34, Dunn has missed just one game in the last five seasons. Has he been banged-up from time to time? Sure. But he's still been remarkably durable since his 30th birthday, an unusual occurrence for NFL running backs.

So there's my case for Dunn. I don't know if the Eagles need to add a running back. They'll have to monitor Westbrook's recovery, see how McCoy is picking things up and go from there. We'll be able to tell how confident they are in their situation by seeing if they make a roster move, or at least attempt to.

If they do, Dunn should be the choice. He can block. He can catch the ball. He can be the man if the team suffers injuries during the season. And he's a high character guy who would fit well in the locker room.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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