Lost: Nick Foles
Foles finds himself in a boat similar to Weeden’s, but one with even more leaks. Foles posted some nice stats as a rookie, and put some good things on film. But he’s a hopeless fit for Chip Kelly
’s offense, and doesn’t have a future in Philadelphia unless Kelly decides to reinvent the system that earned him his NFL chance in the first place.
That’s not likely. What was
likely was a reunion with the man who drafted him, Andy Reid
. It won’t happen after Kelly and Company seemingly overplayed their trade hand, however. Now Foles is a man without a country, a backup without a legit chance at a starting job. There’s not enough to go on to acquire him as a starter, and probably not enough incentive for the Eagles to deal him for a fifth- or sixth-round pick. At least until Michael Vick
’s next injury, Foles will go down as 2012’s answer to T.J. Yates
. Gained: Ryan Williams
Why is Williams’ stock up? Partially because it couldn’t possibly get any lower. But Bruce Arians
and Company sound genuinely enthusiastic about the snakebitten former second-round pick, taking time to pump him up to anyone who will listen.
Arians “loves” Williams, while GM Steve Keim is “expecting big things.” That’s in stark contrast to Beanie Wells
, whom the duo has refused to either confirm or deny. Arians went so far as to leave Beanie’s name out of his introductory press conference. That’s never a good sign, particularly since the Cardinals’ new head man took ample time to praise Williams.
It’s true that Arians isn’t exactly the run game’s most ardent supporter, but considering his quarterback situation, he’ll have no choice but to lean on his backs in 2013. It sounds like Williams will be the first man up. There’s no guarantee he’ll win the job, or stay healthy if he does. But the fact that he’s in the mix is more than could have been assumed after his disastrous first two seasons. Lost: BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Going by yardage and carries, Green-Ellis is coming off a career season. But there’s the first issue. The more the LawFirm is worked, the more he’s exposed. Green-Ellis averaged just 3.9 yards on his 278 totes, enhancing the Bengals’ urgency to find a more explosive change-of-pace backup, or perhaps make BJGE
"BenJarvus would probably welcome it," OC Jay Gruden said of a change-of-pace backup. "It takes some carries off of him. Some guys want the ball every single play, but some guys like to get that rest and come out and have that change of pace guy. … You need two good backs you can count on. Like quarterback, you are one heartbeat away from them carrying it every time.”
When Gruden said he thought BJGE would “probably welcome it,” he likely meant he better damn well welcome it
. BJGE is hard-nosed, blue-collar back, but simply isn’t talented enough to carry a running game. The Patriots realized it in 2012, and the Bengals have realized it in 2013. He should have value as a goal-line back, but he’ll be more of a RB4/5 after going as far as flirting with low-end RB2 value last season. Gained: Isaiah Pead
First things first: the same is true of Daryl Richardson
. Both backs are in for more opportunities with Steven Jackson
on his way out of town. But whereas Richardson established himself as a rookie, Pead did no such thing. Buried inside a labyrinth of mental mistakes — particularly on special teams — Pead ended up touching the ball just 13 times. It made it hard to remember Pead was drafted 202 spots ahead of Richardson, and that the Rams weren't the only team with bigs plans for him.
But at least one person thinks that’s all going to change in 2013: head coach Jeff Fisher
. "We drafted Isaiah because we felt like he has a chance to be a good back, not necessarily just a change-of-pace back, but the guy
.” Perhaps Fisher’s comments are part of the reason Adam Schefter is already calling Pead his choice for NFC breakout player of the year
It’s far too early to know how the Rams will delineate carries in a post-Jackson universe, but it’s not too early to know Pead should be a much bigger part of the offense.