Eagles Insider

Doug Pederson discusses Le'Veon Bell's availability

Eagles Insider

Doug Pederson shot down the LeVeon Bell notion Wednesday, saying he’s “thrilled” with the Eagles’ current running back group.

“I’m extremely comfortable with the guys we have,” Pederson said. 

The Jets released the 28-year-old Bell on Tuesday, with GM Joe Douglas — Howie Roseman’s former right-hand man — saying, “We believe this decision is in the best interests of both parties.”

Although Miles Sanders has been very good, the Eagles have gotten minimal production out of backups Corey Clement and Boston Scott, and the Eagles have been on the lookout for running backs this season. 

They were interested this summer in Carlos Hyde, who signed in June with the Seahawks, with Pederson admitting, "He slipped through our fingers." And then they planned to bring in Devonta Freeman for a workout before he signed with the Giants when they lost Saquon Barkley last month.

Clement is averaging 3.3 yards on 19 carries and Scott is averaging 2.7 yards on 11 carries. That duo, expected to deliver production and versatility to the running game, has just 20 combined scrimmage yards the last three games and 138 all year.

Scott and Clement rank 67th and 77th in yards per carry out of 83 NFL running backs with at least 10 carries.

The Eagles also have rookie Jason Huntley, the Lions’ 5th-round pick this year, on the roster. He has just one carry for one yard, back in the opener. Rookie Adrian Killins had a carry for a 12-yard loss in the 49ers game and is currently on the practice squad, as is Elijah Holyfield.

 

Clement and Scott are 25, Sanders is 23 and Huntley, Holyfield and Killins are 22.

Because of a hamstring injury, Bell played in only two games for the Jets this year and had 74 yards on 19 carries and 3 catches for 39 yards.

Bell is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time all-pro, but he hasn’t averaged over 4.0 yards per carry since 2016.

And if he was frustrated with his lack of work with the Jets — and Sunday night he “liked” numerous tweets from Twitter users who said he should be getting more touches — Philadelphia would not make sense considering Sanders is going to be the lead back and there just aren’t going to be many other touches to go around.

Plus, a 28-year-old running back whose production has declined for several years and has close to 2,000 career touches is generally not someone who would make an effective backup. Bell has played in 79 career games and started every one.

Bell sat out the 2018 season in a contract dispute with the Steelers before signing a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets. He averaged just 3.3 yards per carry in 17 games with the Jets.

“Obviously, Le’Veon’s a good player and he’s had a lot of production in this league, but I’m excited about Miles, what he’s done, getting Boston interjected into the system, getting Corey an opportunity,” Pederson said. 

“This is a situation where I think we have found our three-down guy in Miles and that’s something that we’ve been looking for, as you guys know. So we’re thrilled about that and we’re also excited about the young guys behind him. Well, they’re all young — with Boston, Corey and even Huntley. This is a guy that’s got some speed and athleticism. So there’s room to grow there, there’s room to get better, but I’m excited about the guys we have.”