Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Backup running backs will push McCoy

You'd think Pro Bowler LeSean McCoy has it easy now that he signed a lucrative five-year contract extension this offseason. Certainly that level of commitment is comforting, but his backups won't make it too easy for him.

Backup running backs will push McCoy

Seventh-round pick Bryce Brown is a potential sleeper among the Eagles´ running backs. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Seventh-round pick Bryce Brown is a potential sleeper among the Eagles' running backs. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

You'd think Pro Bowler LeSean McCoy has it easy now that he signed a lucrative five-year contract extension this offseason. Certainly that level of commitment is comforting, but his backups won't make it too easy for him.

Behind McCoy, who set a franchise record and led the NFL with 17 rushing and 20 total touchdowns, are second-year back Dion Lewis and a pair of potential sleepers in seventh-round pick Bryce Brown and undrafted free agent Chris Polk.

"I think the guys realize, "Hey, I'm in a fight,' so they better come out swinging," said running backs coach Ted Williams of his talented group.

A point of emphasis for the backs will be pass blocking. Unlike the past, this year the Eagles' backs will spend a designated amount of time daily working on proper footwork and techniques.

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"That's a big focus of Ted's for any running back," said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. "If you can pass-block and you're talented, you can play. Very few backs are asked to do it college and very few do it well."

"We've made a real concerted effort to work on pass-blocking because we have so many kids," Williams said. "I'm excited because I can see they know what to do when it comes to the point of attack, pocket protection, and pocket development."

Blocking aside, Williams is intrigued by Brown, whose meandering path to the Eagles included stops at the University of Tennessee and Kansas State, where he played just 13 games combined and rushed for 476 yards and 3 touchdowns on 104 carries. In 2008, he was the number one recruit in the country according to some services.

"You can see he has ability," Williams said. "He's got speed and he has a whole other gear he hasn't found yet. It's my job to coach it out of him, to teach him how to take it to that next level."

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For news, stats, video, live chats and more, Red Zone is the place to find Eagles coverage you can't get anywhere else. Reach Jimmy at jkempski@philly.com.

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