• July 4, 2022

Bryce Brown And Chris Polk Battling For Remaining RB Spot

I like the battle that’s going on between rookies Bryce Brown and Chris Polk for the remaining backup running back position.  Let me make this clear that Dion Lewis has been sensational at training camp and shows no sign of giving up his backup role to LeSean McCoy.  Brown and Polk are competing for the spot behind Lewis.

Brown is the superior athlete, who has the bigger upside with a tremendous combination of size and speed.  Polk is a more seasoned football player, who is prepared to play right now, having played in a Pro style offense at the University of Washington.

“I think we’re bringing out the best in each other,” said Brown. “Me and Chris study together and we’re working hard out here trying to improve. Of course it’s nothing personal. It’s about going out and playing the best football we can play.”

“It was fun especially getting a chance to go against some of the veteran guys and just to know we had a lot of success”, Brown said. “That gives us both a lot of confidence. I root for him. I am so happy because we are both coming here at the same time. We are both pushing each other and we both help each other out. To see him go in there and do a good job makes me feel good too.”

Brown was previously the number one rated running back in the nation during his senior year in high school, but things didn’t workout very well for him at the University of Tennessee and at Kansas State.  Polk on the other hand, had a tremendous career at Washington but some injuries and the pounding that he took while amassing a large number of carries, made NFL teams shy away from him.  Now both of them are battling for one position.

Brown is a home run hitter who can take the ball the distance every time he touches it.  He’s a straight line ball carrier, who is able to run through tackles with his power, while giving the defenders a little bit of shake.  I see Brown’s eyes in the huddle, before each play and I see him thinking.  The youngster is still hesitating a bit, but all of sudden he’ll hit a seam and zoom, he’s gone.

Polk is one of those “in between the tackles” guys, with big, strong legs and tremendous determination.  The former Washington star has made a habit of breaking tackles at training camp during the live periods.  I like his vision and ability to find the hole with his surprisingly nimble feet.  He’s got very good patience for a guy so young.  Polk already seems comfortable picking up linebackers on the blitz drill.

“I’m focused on making every rep count,” Polk said. “Bryce is a great player and I think I am a great player, so we’re going out there and making the most of our opportunities. I can’t worry about anything other than making sure I am prepared and that I’m playing my best football every day.”

“It’s football”, Brown said. “I know that I have to go out there and be the best player I can be. I have a lot to learn. We all do,” said Brown. “I know I’m not sitting around counting numbers or worrying about what anyone else is doing. I can only control what I can control.”

This is going to be a tough decision for the Birds.  If they’re looking for somebody to be ready to play right now when the season starts, they’ll have to select Polk.  At the same time, they don’t want to look up a year or two from now and see Brown becoming a franchise back for somebody else.

A disadvantage for Polk, is the fact that Andy Reid has never been crazy about running backs who are pounders.  He always seems to take the running back with the most speed and quickness.  For that reason I would favor Brown in this competition, but I believe Polk can play in this league right now.  If they let Polk go, he will play for a team in this league, this year. I like both of them, but I don’t know if Brown is ready just yet.

GCOBB

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17 Comments

  • The Eagles drafted Brown for a reason, and in the 7th round, if Polk was really as special as some think….why not invest in him…Bryce Brown obviously, is the better player. He just hasn’t played a lot of football, before all the pre draft workouts. If Shady goes down, we will wished we hung on to him, instead of Polk.

  • Was watching Brown and Polk on Eagles.com training camp live…Seen a drill with RB’s/FB’s blocking LB’s…I am confident in saying Polk looked to be a better blocker, than majority of the backs. Polk is a physical player, running and blocking. Honestly wasn’t too impressed with Brown as a blocker.
    Seen the offense verse defense “move the ball” drill. Brown and Polk both did “work”. Gained nice yards rushing and screen plays. I’d take Polk…but won’t be disappointed if Brown is kept…Wish we could keep em both!!!
    Eagles appear to be working a lot on the screen game. McCoy less touches running, more touches passing??? I like it! Get McCoy in the open field on some 1 on 1 matchups, and go to work. Eagles haven’t used the screen game as I’d like to see….Also TE Brackett, looks good!! He did some work during the move the ball drill. Saw some nice catches, some good blocking…but I did see him get whiff on a block also…so not to sure bout the blocking.
    There was a play where DJAX went deep and I think jarrett was the safety (could be wrong, but pretty sure, was at work watching so may have gotten distracted haha) he was in good position but turned the wrong way at the last second, DJAX TD..
    McNutt, saw some solid things from him in the move the ball drill…He went up and got a pass aggressively. The type of play that you need in the red zone.

  • Wouldn’t surprise me if both stay and one is primarily allocated to Special Teams for now. The Eagles still need to sign Plax…even if it’s at the expense of trading Avant. Between McCoy, Celek, Harbor and maybe Brackett the 3rd WR role is going to be minimized again so the Eagles should make the most of it.

    If this is supposed to be the year, and all indications up to this point are that it feels like it could be, there really should be no regrets. For this same reason I think and have said/agreed wit other fans that the Eagles need to retain the services of Donovan McNabb to back up Michael Vick as well before the 49ers or the Bears do.

    While it can’t be questioned that the Eagles screen game is effective I would like to see them be a little more sneaky by doing some of the things New Orleans did with Reggie Bush…specifically the delayed RB release from behind the line.

  • I say, get rid of the fullbacks and keep Brown and Polk. If Polk can block, he can play FB in a pinch while bringing depth the to RB position.

    Running backs take so much punishment that depth there is very important.

  • I haven’t seen/heard much regarding Havili. Since both these guys are doing well I’d have to consider keeping them both. If I had to pick one, it would be Brown as he’s been so catching the ball as well as running. He’s got more speed too. I’d also choose Brown (if Havili stays) over Polk because as a 3rd RB, it’s not so critical about their blocking this year. He’s very mature, even-tempered and smart so learn quickly. Due to lack of college experience, he’s sometimes hesitant on hitting the hole and running north/south, but he’s too talented to let go. That was same issue for McCoy in his first year. I don’t want any NFC East team getting their hands on either of these guys after being released… they won’t last long enough to be put on our PS.

  • Don’t care which way they go as long as the best player wins out. One thing that still annoys the heck out of me with Reid is the passing nonsense with the backs. When will this guy understand that RBs are at their best when the ball is being stuck in their guts and they’re RUNNING! This insane fascination with passing all the damn time is part of his problem. Screens to the backs should still catch the d off guard. With Andy they’re expected and anticipated by the defense.

    Andy go sit with our neighbors in the state with all the hardware. learn something about ball control and why no matter how often the pundits won’t to pretend this is a passing league, teams like the steelers are always perrenial contenders.

  • Good points Iggles!

  • The Gmen will take the loser of the battle ibet. I think if they are good enough on special teams I say keep em both

  • EricT & Iggles. Great points. Perhaps the way we should be looking at the situation is this: If I told you that you had to pick the best 2 players from a pool that consisted of Brown, Polk and Havili and position Is NOT a consideration, who would you choose?  There isn’t exactly a right or wrong answer but just an opinion. 

    Eagles 2011 FB Owen Schmitt only ran 173 plays out of 1,036 offensive snaps (16%). Outside of Leonard Weaver, the Eagles have never really had a dynamic player playing the position of FB. But there is also the lower limit to the equation when the Eagles went into the 2008 season without a true FB and settled on Tony Hunt. The experiment failed and they eventually settled on Kyle Eckel later that season on their way to an improbable appearance in the NFC Championship Game against the Cardinals. 

    But the Eagles play offense differently these days. With their current inside/outside zone and sprint draw schemes, they are afforded the ability to run more 2 TE and 3 & 4 WR sets. I think Schmitt’s virtual non-existence in the offense last year is sufficient evidence of this. So would it be so radical for the Eagles to ditch the FB position, or would it be nothing more than a natural evolution of the Eagles offense? Perhaps embracing the pass happy mentality, balanced with a stable of dynamic players at the HB and TE positions is really the way to go. As long as they’re keeping the best players and still adequately and competently filling the roles this football team needs filled, then yes, I say go for it. Obviously, if Leonard Weaver was still able to play, I’m fairly confident we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But with Weaver out of football, and the presence of two low risk high reward rookie RBs, the unfolding of such a scenario isn’t so far fetched to me. 

    The thing about football though, is that you really never know until you see them play in a game. So declaring “this is what the Eagles should do” before even seeing one preseason game is probably a tad premature. But it would not surprise me in the least if the Eagles were to move on from the FB position altogether in order to keep better players and potentially bring about dynamic change in the offense. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that actually hopes it happens. Maybe I am a little bias and overrating the potential of the rookie RBs, but I honestly think the Eagles  will go that way if Polk and Brown both flashed big time in the preseason. 

  • I would cut havili and keep both Polk and Brown. Polk gives us the physical punishing in between the tackle runner needed to wear defenses down in the4th quarter. I would place Igwenagu on the practice squad and call him up if needed.

  • After a 5-Star career at Washington I find it unbelievable that Chris Polk isn’t getting the respect he deserves. He came into a program with Coach Willingham in 2008 the team was 0-12. In came Coach Sarkisian, the O-line was in shambles because of the miserable recruiting. Chris Polk ran over 1000 yard for each of the next 3 seasons. In 2009 he was the first Husky freshman running back to go over 1000 yds, the first game was against LSU. In 2010 and 2011 Chris started every game, and played in the Holiday and Alamo Bowl games. He holds football records from the same football program that produced Corey Dillon and Napoleon Kaufman. Most of all Chris Polk has a good head, memorizes plays easily, and has a very high football IQ. Can’t wait to see him play.

  • Third string RBs are a dime a dozen. It really doesnt matter. If it comes down to a 3rd string rb Reid is gonna pass 90% anyway. We always worry about who our 5th WR is. We always worry about our 3rd QB or our 3rd TE. It really never matters if you think about it.

  • A bigger concern on offense is WR. This team has no WR depth. They have only 2 WR who can play outside, Maclin and DJax. All thier other recievers are to slow and cant seperate on the outside. Ive seen what this offense looks like when Jackson or Maclin go down. Avant is a good slot but to slow for outside and the remaining WR are all little or slow possession recievers. I have remembered the last 2 years when DJax or Maclin went down nobody could get open. Avant has killed this team by catching everything thrown at him when honestly we need a bigger more explosive reciever to develop for the outside position McNutt is a wasted pick, we already have Cooper and Avant. Johnson is a waste we already have a Chad Hall. We need a outside reciever. IMO.

  • Guys always seem so good in training camp.

  • As Bruce Lee once said “Boards don’t hit back”

  • Dag Golden- If the Eagles had speedy wide receivers comparable to Desean and JMac, then there would be a log jam at the starting WR position. Not a bad problem to have, but, how many teams have that problem,. Not many. I believe Marvin McNutt will prove to be a better receiver than Riley Cooper and Ilike Cooper. Damaris Johnson is faster and shiftier than Chad Hall who is pretty stiff as a reciver and returner!!!

  • Garrett Reid found dead at training camp. Sad sad news to report. My heart goes out to the Reid family

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