Friday, February 5, 2016

Dion Lewis impresses early in training camp

Pads have been on for only two days, but there is one observation that is not premature to make: Dion Lewis is the Eagles’ No. 2 running back behind LeSean McCoy.

Dion Lewis impresses early in training camp

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Running back Dion Lewis had 23 carries for 102 yards last season. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Running back Dion Lewis had 23 carries for 102 yards last season. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Pads have been on for only two days, but there is one observation that is not premature to make: Dion Lewis is the Eagles’ No. 2 running back behind LeSean McCoy.

The Eagles planned for that to be the case by neither signing a veteran in the offseason nor investing a draft pick in one until taking Bryce Brown in the seventh round. They also signed Chris Polk as a rookie free agent. During the rookie portion of training camp, it became intriguing to speculate whether Brown or Polk could unseat Lewis. After two days, it is clear why Lewis is the No. 2.

"Dion has had an excellent camp up to date,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “Sure is a fine runner. Excellent with his protections. He's probably a little bit shorter than one would think, but he's certainly bigger."

Lewis, who is listed at 5-8, is compact and draws comparisons to Brian Westbrook. At 195 pounds, though, Lewis is strong, and that helps him play at his size.

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Lewis only had 23 carries for 102 yards last season, so he did not have much time to flash in front of fans. He was on display in the season finale, when he rushed 12 times for 58 yards and a score.

“That’s probably my mistake,” Mornhinweg said of Lewis’ limited carries. “Always wanted to go into a game using him a little bit more. Then you get into a game, every play’s important, and LeSean was so good last year.”

But Lewis came to camp determined to fill a bigger role this season, and it was clear over the weekend that he is more advanced in running, receiving and catching than those behind him on the depth chart. Much can change as camp progresses, but there is reason why Lewis is No. 2 on the depth chart at this point.

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