Pederson: Wendell Smallwood Can Take ‘brunt of the Load' If Necessary

The Eagles enter the week of preparation for Green Bay a little light at running back. 

Both Ryan Mathews (knee) and Darren Sproles (rib fracture) left Sunday's game early and did not return. Head coach Doug Pederson said Mathews is day to day and Sproles won't practice early in the week but is expected to be back for the game on Monday against the Packers. 

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Aside from Mathews and Sproles, the Eagles have just Kenjon Barner and rookie Wendell Smallwood as their other running backs. 

Based on Sunday, it seems like if Mathews isn't ready to play, Smallwood would become the Eagles' workhorse running back. 

Is the fifth-rounder ready for that? 

"Yeah, I think so," Pederson said during his Monday press conference. "I think so. Again, we'll evaluate Ryan later in the week, but Wendell has done a nice job, and I think if need be, I think Wendell would be OK taking the brunt of the load."

Smallwood, the West Virginia product, got 38 snaps against the Seahawks, by far the most of his career. He ended up with 13 carries for 48 yards to go along with four catches for 31 yards (he had just one catch coming into Sunday). 

For the season, Smallwood has 57 carries for 253 yards and a touchdown. Among players with at least 55 rushing attempts this season, Smallwood's 4.4 yards per carry average ranks 19th in the league and fifth among rookies. 

Smallwood is the first Eagle to have 250-plus yards rushing in his first 10 games since LeSean McCoy in 2009. He's just the 12th Eagles player to rush for at least 250 yards in his first 10 games since 1970. 

Smallwood, 22, is on pace for just over 400 yards this season, but that number could be much higher depending on the statuses of his fellow running backs. 

If he needs to take on that role, Pederson thinks he's ready.

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