The running back room in South Philly has always been an interesting dynamic. It seems the Philadelphia Eagles roster has not had a solid starter at the position since or an every-down running back since the days of Lesean “Shady” McCoy. Over the past years, the Birds have utilized multiple backs from the likes of LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, Boston Scott, Miles Sanders, and so many more. Often splitting touches throughout the season with their fellow teammates in the backfield. Obviously, spreading the touches amongst players has its perks in regards to player health as the running back position is one of the most unforgiving on the gridiron, in addition to keeping opposing defenses on their toes. However, the 2022 Philadelphia Eagles must establish a true starter on the roster this season, one could argue that Miles Sanders is the guy although Sanders is so often sidelined with his many injuries. When considering this dilemma, one man comes to mind: Kenneth Gainwell.
Drafted during the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft, Kenneth Gainwell is entering his sophomore season as a Philadelphia Eagle. Throughout the 2021-2022 season, Gainwell saw action and got touches in most games and had a positive impact on the offense for the Birds. The University of Memphis alum racked up 291 yards on the ground (68 attempts), 253 yards receiving (33 targets), and 5 touchdowns. These stats may seem subpar for a player who saw action in 16 games during the 2021-2022 season, however, Gainwell was splitting touches with 3 other backs, (Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, and Boston Scott) and last season was his rookie year in the NFL. The ceiling is extremely high for the former Tiger and he will look to play a much greater role on the Philadelphia Eagles roster this upcoming season.
Another Dual Threat Player on the Philadelphia Eagles Roster
As aforementioned, Kenneth Gainwell is not just a back who takes hand-offs from his quarterback. Head Coach Nick Sirianni would draw up plays with passing options for Gainwell and would sometimes be positioned in the slot. In this day and age in the NFL, this is the type of player that teams want in the backfield. The game of football is ever-changing at the professional level, becoming much faster and more dynamic. A player like Kenny G is a perfect weapon in the offensive arsenal. Consider, Saints running back Alvin Kamara and all of the success he has had during his career. That is due to his ability to present a dual offensive threat to opposing defenses on the field. Gainwell most certainly has the best offensive line to be running behind and the ability to make plays in the air, he is a Swiss army knife on the gridiron who is poised to have a breakout season.
Kenneth Gainwell: Special Teams Contributions
Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins were the primary kickoff and punt returners on the roster for the Eagles prior to last season. After Watkins proved his ability to burn defenders and pose a deep threat and Reagor’s many fumbles, Kenneth Gainwell became the go-to guy for returns. The rookie was able to field the ball better on special teams and showed his true hard-nosed running style. This allowed Watkins to play a larger role in the passing game for the Eagles and yet again showcased the underperformance of Reagor. Special teams are an often looked-over unit in the NFL, Gainwell’s dominance on returns is nothing to be looked over and is something that should be cherished and utilized aggressively while he is an active and healthy member of the Eagles’ roster during the 2022 season.
Sky’s the Limit
Now entering his sophomore campaign with the Birds, Kenneth Gainwell is no doubt in a position to establish himself as a dominant back on the field. The 23-year-old has the necessary supporting players and the ability to earn the starting position for the Philadelphia Eagles. This training camp will be crucial for Gainwell to prove to his coaching staff that he is indeed that dude they want to be receiving hand-offs and passes from Jalen Hurts. Based upon observations from last season, Gainwell is a humble player who enjoys playing smash-mouth football and wants to win. That attitude will most definitely play well in the City of Brotherly Love. The sky is the limit for you Kenny G – now go have a year and take what’s yours.
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