What Trade for Jerome Harrison Means for Eagles

Written By Bob Cunningham On Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Harrison will add a new punch to the ground attack.

After fleecing the Eagles in the Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong trade, the Cleveland Browns were apparently feeling bad. Either that or Tom Heckert had an unpaid debt to Andy Reid.

Other than that, I can't truly explain why the Browns would give up Jerome Harrison for Mike Bell straight up -- even taking into account Harrison's small feud with the front office.

Harrison hasn't produced as well as they would have liked this year (31 carries for 91 yards), but showed at the end of last season that he can be a guy who carries the load. In the final three games, Harrison carried the ball 106 times for 561 yards for an average of 5.3 yards per carry and five touchdowns. He also caught 32 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns.

But even Harrison per-carry average this season would be a welcome improvement over what Bell was able to accomplish. Or, more to the point, what he wasn't able to accomplish.

In five games this season, Bell carried the ball 16 times for a paltry 28 yards and failed to find the endzone. Just in case you hate math and don't have a calculator handy, that's a slightly unimpressive (to put it mildly) 1.8 yards per carry.

Perhaps Bell is the type of guy who needs a few carries before he really gets going or maybe he's still injured but either way he was proving completely worthless for the Eagles. He was supposed to be a good change-of-pace to LeSean McCoy, but proved to have hands of stone and clearly sub-par field vision.

What Harrison brings to the table is an explosiveness that Bell is lacking. He is a guy who can enter the game cold and make a play whether it's via the ground game or catching a pass out of the backfield.

It's something the team will need while McCoy nurses a broken rib. He was able to tough it out and play against the 49ers last week, but the team probably would have liked to sit him and let him recover if they felt like they had a viable starting option behind him.

If Harrison can get in and pick up the offense quickly -- running backs do, after all, have the smallest learning curve -- it's likely he'll see a lot of time against the Atlanta Falcons. McCoy will still likely be in line to get the start, but the limiting the amount of times he gets hit should help speed up the recovery process.

And clearly, with Bell, Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg did not feel comfortable enough with him to take carries away from McCoy.

The added power of the running game should help Kevin Kolb, who is likely to get the start this week as Michael Vick continues to nurse a rib injury. Just the threat of the run should bring the defense closer to the line, which will hopefully mean more deep connections with DeSean Jackson. Harrison also forces linebackers to pay attention to him on passing downs.

I'm a big fan of Harrison and believe he and McCoy could grow into one of the best running back tandems in the league if they're given the time. Harrison, like Bell, is playing on a one-year restricted free agent tender so he might only have 11 games as an Eagle, but I think we're going to see an impact out of him right away and, hopefully, for years to come.

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