2. Kenneth Gainwell is Philly’s preferred RB1
Nick Sirianni threw fans a curveball to start the season by leaning on Kenneth Gainwell as his lead back. Much attention was paid to the team’s offense additions of D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny, yet it was the incumbent Gainwell who logged nearly 90% (14/16) of Philly’s RB carries in Week 1.
Boy, did the script flip quickly. Gainwell came out of Week 1 with a rib injury and was unable to suit up on Thursday night, clearing the way for Swift to take on an absolute workhorse role. The former Detroit Lion proved pivotal to the team’s Week 2 win over the Minnesota Vikings, popping off for 175 yards and 1 touchdown on 28 attempts.
It was shocking to see such a complete 180 in Swift’s usage, but it shows that the team may have been bluffing with the Gainwell hype. You don’t give 28 carries to someone unless you think they’re capable of handling that type of load.
But why just the 1 tote for Swift in Week 1? Maybe Sirianni didn’t want to reveal all his cards from the jump. Surely Swift’s surprising usage had lulled teams around the league into thinking the injury-prone rusher wasn’t 100%.
If Thursday’s performance didn’t make it obvious, Swift is more than ready to tear up opposing defenses behind one of the league’s best offensive lines. Sirianni can’t deny that, even if he does like Gainwell’s experience within the system. It’s time to hand the backfield keys to the better player.