Eagles Running Back a Surprise Healthy Scratch vs. Patriots

Nick Sirianni

Getty Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni does not appear to be overly impressed with Rashaad Penny.

Rashaad Penny will have to wait to make his Philadelphia Eagles debut as the running back is surprisingly a healthy scratch against the New England Patriots in Week 1. The news means Penny has a lot of ground to make up if the veteran hopes to become part of the running back rotation.

“Running back Rashaad Penny is expected to be a healthy scratch today against the Patriots, league sources tell me and @jctsports,” The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Olivia Reiner tweeted on September 10, 2023. “Penny, a five-year veteran with a career 5.7-yard rushing average, signed with the Eagles as a free agent in the offseason.”

Here is a rundown of the additional inactive Eagles players against the Patriots for the season opener: quarterback Tanner McKee, cornerback Mario Goodrich, cornerback Eli Ricks, offensive linemen Tyler Steen, defensive tackle Moro Ojomo and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam.

Rashaad Penny’s Status Is ‘Slightly Surprising’ After Signing a $1.3 Million Contract With the Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia’s 94 WIP’s Eliot Shorr-Parks labeled the decision as “slightly surprising” while adding that Penny was slowly worked out of the rotation during training camp. The Eagles are expected to use a rotation of new addition D’Andre Swift, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott until further notice.

“Rashaad Penny reportedly a healthy scratch vs. NE is slightly surprising but he was not used in training camp or preseason games as an RB that would have a big role on the team,” Parks detailed on Twitter. “Gainwell, Swift, Scott all got more work with the first team.”

Rashaad Penny Not Being Active vs. Patriots Is for Non-Injury Related Reasons

The important note here is that Penny is not being sidelined due to injury. Unfortunately, Penny has dealt with multiple injuries throughout his career which played a role in derailing his five seasons with the Seahawks. Penny only played a combined 18 games during his final three seasons in Seattle.

“I feel really great,” Penny said heading into Week 1, per Reiner. “Healthy as can be. Down to the lightest I’ve been in a while. So just keep stacking up days and just keep taking advantage of my opportunities and being prepared. That’s just the best thing that I’ve always learned.”

Rashaad Penny Was Selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the First Round of the 2018 NFL Draft

Philadelphia signed Penny this offseason to a one-year, $1.3 million contract as a bit of an upside play. Seattle selected Penny with the No. 27 overall pick in the first round during the 2018 NFL draft. At times, Penny flashed during his Seahawks tenure but largely failed to live up to the lofty expectations that accompany being a first-round selection.

Penny’s best season came in 2021 when the running back posted 119 carries for 749 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns in 10 appearances. Heading into the draft, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Penny to Willis McGahee.

“Volume-carry running back who plays with an active running style that rarely sees him slow his feet,” Zierlein wrote in his pre-draft profile. “Penny has the short-area foot quickness to create yardage for himself, but he doesn’t really have the burst or long speed to be a homerun hitter. His motor gives him a chance to be a productive NFL starter, but he may lack the explosiveness to be a great back.”

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