The Philadelphia Eagles have been having problems at the running back position all season. They simply don't have a player that is able to be a leading rusher for the team every single week despite the opportunities given to them.
All three of their main running backs - Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, and Wendell Smallwood - have been the leading back for the team in at least one game this season. So the decision as for who to start has been a difficult one week after week.
However, according to reports, that decision has become a bit clearer due to unfortunate circumstances.
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On Saturday, the Eagles listed Mathews alongside tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai as out of the team's Monday night game against the Green Bay Packers, both due to knee injuries.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said according to the team's website: "Big V obviously with the MCL sprain, he’s not ready to go so rule him out. And Ryan Mathews with his MCL, his right knee MCL sprain, hasn’t practiced all week and still not there. So, I’m going to go ahead and we’re going to rule him out for this game as well."
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He also said according to ESPN: "There's always that fear, especially with the knee. We just want to make sure that it's 100 percent before we put him back out on the practice field. There is a concern that it could linger, because now we will be coming off a Monday night game into a short week and going back on the road, so we've just got to find out next Wednesday where he's at."
Philadephia is expected to rely on Allen Barbre on the offensive line, while Smallwood is expected to receive more carries and possibly the starting role in the backfield due to Sproles having a rib injury, although this hasn't ruled him out of the contest and he will be available.
Mathews has rushed for 427 yards and seven touchdowns off 102 carries, while Sproles has 319 yards off 63 carries, and Smallwood has 253 yards and a touchdown on 57 carries. If the rookie gets the start, this could be his opportunity to win the starting job if Mathews is unable to return soon.