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Jemal Singleton Explains Unique Drill, Talks Eagles Running Backs

The team's RB coach spent about 10 minutes talking with reporters following Day 9 of training camp
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PHILADELPHIA – Jemal Singleton is a football coach by trade. The boxing thing?

“I’m just getting a workout in,” joked Singleton following Tuesday’s training camp sizzler at NovaCare Complex.

Anybody who saw Sunday night’s open practice on Lincoln Financial Field, saw the drill the Eagles RB coach put his runners through. He laced up a pair of boxing gloves and started punching his guys. It was a ball security drill that was interesting to watch, to say the least.

“When I do the studies and every year I do a big NFL fumble study, how are defenses knocking the ball loose and that’s a big thing, guys punching the ball,” he said about the drill he created. 

“You see it week in and week out. Guys aren’t even tackling. They are punching at the football and that’s been very effective for defenses, so I’m always going to try to simulate a drill that’s realistic and authentic to what it’s like playing in a game.

“That’s what it came down to. I got some gloves and just started wailing on guys as much as I can. They see it in a game. I think it’s a great tool that they have to have the ball protected even when getting punched.”

Jemal Singleton (left) uses boxing gloves for a ball security drill

Jemal Singleton (left) uses boxing gloves for a ball security drill against Miles Sanders at Lincoln Finacial Field on Aug, 7.

Running backs are an interesting watch in this camp because there are so few of them. Just five, and two of them are hurt – Boston Scott (concussion) and Kenny Gainwell (hip).

It’s hard to keep guys fresh when the pickings are that slim.

“You have to adjust,” said Singleton. “One good thing being a military guy with all that is you have to adapt and overcome. I think that’s part of what we have to do as a position group that, hey, maybe we change our reps a little bit. Maybe some guys will have to go with the twos a little bit more so we can get the reps.

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“Other guys can jump up and go with the ones. But that’s the most important thing I can do is make sure we can get the guys ready to go and ready to play on Sunday and stay healthy.”

Before the regular season, there are three preseason games, beginning on Friday night (7:30) when the New York Jets travel down the turnpike to play in South Philly.

It doesn’t seem prudent to play Miles Sanders much, so expect a heavy dose of Jason Huntley and undrafted free agent Kennedy Brooks in all three preseason games.

Still, it's a dangerous game should injuries crop up, like they already have. Perhaps the Eagles will try to sign another running back after Tuesday when each team has to trim five players from their rosters.

Huntley has had a nice camp; Brooks is still feeling his way.

“I want to see him do some of the things he did in college," Singleton said of Brooks, the undrafted rookie free agent from Oklahoma, "just a steady player that fell forward for extra yards, was physical, could run, and he’s kind of shown that he’s capable of doing that, but it’s way early for a young buck, so we’ll see what happens when we start getting into preseason games and start rolling,” 

Brooks has the size, at 5-11, 213, to perhaps be that bigger back that none of the other runners possess.

Singleton, though, said a bigger back isn’t always necessary.

“When you go back and look at Boston Scott’s touchdowns, the majority of them are in the red zone down near the goal line,” he said. 

“He has a knack for that. You need that ability, yes, but it doesn’t have to come in a 240 (pound guy), maybe a smaller guy can hit a smaller crease and make some things happen. The guys we have right now, I love all three of them.”

Ed Kracz is the publisher of’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at or and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.