LONDON – For the second year in a row, an undrafted rookie running back has come out of nowhere to make plays for the Eagles.
You could go a generation without it happening, and now it’s happened twice in two years.
A year after Corey Clement was a late-season standout and Super Bowl hero for the Eagles, Josh Adams finally got a chance to get some carries Sunday, and the undrafted rookie out of Notre Dame responded with some big-time runs.
With the ground game ineffective early, Duce Staley called on Adams, who contributed runs of five and seven yards to the Eagles’ first touchdown drive in their 24-18 win over the Jaguars at Wembley.
Adams came back later and added a 21-yard run across midfield to help set up the Eagles’ third-quarter TD and then added a huge 17-yard run down to the 7-yard-line on the Eagles’ fourth-quarter TD drive.
Adams finished 9-for-61, both career highs. In the second half, he was 5-for-44.
Adams had just 11 carries for 46 yards in his previous five career games after starting the year on the practice squad.
“It felt good to be able to get out there and know that not only the guys on the field had trust in me but the coaches as well. I just try to take advantage of every opportunity I got. You never know how long you’re going to be out there so I tried to treat each and every snap like it was my last and give it all that I had. Just tried to do my job and not think of anything more and not overdo it. Just be out there and focus.”
Wendell Smallwood had a sweet 36-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass, but the running game has stalled lately with the exception of Adams.
Last three games:
6.0 yards per carry, Josh Adams [13-for-68]
3.1 yards per carry, Wendell Smallwood [35-for-107]
2.4 yards per carry, Corey Clement [23-for-55]
You can see why people want Adams's role to expand.
On Sunday, Adams had nine carries, Smallwood eight and Clement four.
“We just felt comfortable with Josh,” Doug Pederson said. “The other two guys play a lot of special teams, keeping everybody fresh and rotated. Wendell did a nice job. Corey came in there, he runs extremely hard. Josh had the hot hand today, kind of kept him going.”
If nine carries is keeping someone going, so be it.
Adams has earned more playing time. We'll see if he gets it when the Eagles come out of the bye.
He’s up to 5.4 yards per carry so far this year.
Clement hasn’t looked totally right since the quad injury. Smallwood still has value as a receiver and a runner.
But it really looks like Adams, with his speed, power and slashing ability, should be the lead ball carrier right now.
“He explosive,” Nelson Agholor said. “Let’s see if the rest of the NFL keeps sleeping on him. He gonna tote it.”
Adams, who grew up just north of Philly in Warrington, said he never thinks about how much he’ll play or how many carries he’ll get.
He doesn’t think in those terms.
He just wants to always be ready for whatever he’s asked to do. The rest he doesn’t worry about.
“You just never know, so each and every week we all prepare like we’re going to be the one in there, so we all have to stay ready and be ready, and come game time anybody could be called on,” he said.
“I’m blessed to be here so I’m just staying patient and waiting for my opportunity whenever it comes. Just so happened that I got a little more today but I try not to focus on that.”
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