Friday, December 23, 2005

Back For the Future?

Eagles fans… think back. Think back through the mists of time. The year was 2003. Things were different then. Terrell Owens was still playing on the opposite coast (well, was still playing at all). The Linc was brand new. Expectations were high. Things were good.

Things were different back then- especially at the position of running back. The Eagles touted the “three headed monster” of Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter, and Brian Westbrook. The running game was something other teams feared. During that season, Staley rushed for 463 yards combined with 382 receiving yards. Buckhalter had 542 yards on the ground and 133 through the air. Westbrook tallied 613 yards with his legs and was able to secure 332 yards with his hands.

Individually, none of those numbers stand out. But collectively, they ran for 1618 yards and collected 847 receiving yards. Collectively, they tallied 20 rushing touchdowns and 7 receiving touchdowns. One must admit that these were impressive numbers from the running back position. One must also admit that the 2005 running game left a great deal to be desired.

With all that has gone wrong this season, it is difficult to find something- anything- that can ease the pain of those in Eagle Nation. But one person has shown some promise. One person has shown that he might just belong. One person gives some hope for the future.

That person is a rookie from the football factory Louisiana Tech. That person is Ryan Moats.

On 39 attempts this season, Moats has collected 242 yards. That’s an average of 6.2 per carry. 10 of his 39 carries have gone for first downs. His percentage of 25.6 in that category compares well with Seattle’s Shaun Alexander (28.9%), New York’s Tiki Barber (20.4%), and Indianapolis’ Edgerin James (26.2%). He has also scored 3 touchdowns in only 5 games. Not bad for a guy playing on an offensive unit that is comprised of mainly backups.

The results so far have been good. They have been encouraging. Eagles fans can look to 2006 with some anticipation. Perhaps a backfield of Westbrook and Moats can be productive. Both have shown that they have talent. For the Eagles to return to the top of the conference, their running game must look more like it did in 2003 than it did in 2005.

Will Moats help that cause?

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