Tapeh Gives Eagles Options at Fullback

With an increased emphasis on the running game, the Eagles are looking around for ways to help their backfield. Thomas Tapeh is finally healthy and could be one of the options for the Eagles at the fullback position.

RB Thomas Tapeh, a 6-1, 243-pound '04 fifth-round pick out of the University of Minnesota, missed all of last season after suffering a serious hip injury in the next-to-last game of his rookie year. Tapeh will compete for the starting fullback job this summer against incumbent Josh Parry, but unlike Parry, who is strictly a blocker and semi-occasional pass-catching option, Tapeh also is a capable ball carrier. "He's in heavy competition for the fullback spot. He looks like he's healthy and looks like he is performing pretty well on the field," said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

The Eagles drafted him two years ago with the idea of using him in one-back sets. But he was raw and struggled to pick up the Eagles' complicated offense. He carried the ball 12 times for 42 yards as a rookie.

In Andy Reid's seven years in Philadelphia, the Eagles seldom have used their fullback as a running option. But that could change if Tapeh wins the starting job.

"Yeah, that certainly is a possibility," said Mornhinweg. "Especially if you have a player there like (Tapeh) who can run it. It certainly can be a part of your offense."

If the spring minicamps are any indication, Tapeh appears to have a much better grasp of the Eagles' offense than he did as a rookie. As for his injury, which initially appeared to be career threatening, he said he has made a complete recovery.

Doctors had to wait more than seven months for his hip joint to stabilize last year before they could operate on him, which effectively ended any possibility of an '05 return.


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