When former Pitt back Dion Lewis signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, it looked like he was a shoo-in to make the team. Then, enter Ronnie Brown - an Eagles signee from the Miami Dolphins. Suddenly, things didn't look so sure.
The Eagles then proceeded to release West Virginia rusher Noel Devine, realizing they were stocked with running backs, probably opening the door for Lewis a bit.
So will he make the club? Almost certainly.
Granted, he's not going to be the backup to Shady - that role will belong to Brown, barring injury. But he could stick as the third back.
One reason there have been questions about Lewis is because of his size. But he says it's not an issue:
"I’ve been playing football since I was six-years-old," Lewis said. "I’ve always been short, but it never held me back. I know this is the NFL, but at the end of the day it’s still football. I love the game and I love to compete."
But could that size actually help him:
Dion Lewis is a runt, but he’s a quick runt who can run with the football. I thought he was more effective running with the football than Ronnie Brown on Thursday night. Like the other short backs in the league, Lewis is able to get by the big defensive linemen because they have no idea where he’s at until it’s too late.
I think there's something to that - guys like Lewis, Maurice Jones-Drew, etc. can be successful due to their small size. Obviously they've got more of a chance for wearing down quickly, but while they're healthy, can be effective.
Lewis has also had to fight through a hamstring injury, but it apparently was only a minor one.
So how's he been doing so far? He played okay in the Eagles' first preseason game, but struggled a bit at times:
As a result, rookie running back Dion Lewis got much of the action with the second team offense, but didn’t have a lot of chemistry with backup quarterback Vince Young as the two botched a couple of handoffs during 11-on-11 drills.
Another problem for Dion is that he's apparently having some trouble blocking:
Lewis is a small and quick back, who has shown good ball running skills, but he has struggled greatly as a blocker. I don’t see any way that Lewis will be able to pick up the blitz. He’s has good receiving skills, but he must shine on the special teams if he wants to make this football team.
Mix in the fact that there's some transition on the offensive line and it's tough to see things falling Lewis' way this year. He'll play behind McCoy and Brown and hopefully win the job as the third back.
Not sure I buy the whole special teams thing - if he's the third best back, he should make the team regardless. Plus, Ronnie Brown has missed parts of two seasons with injuries, so he's a bit prone to getting hurt. To me, I don't see any way that Lewis doesn't make the team.