INDIANAPOLIS — When Eagles running back Boston Scott found out that Duce Staley had a drill named after him at the NFL scouting combine, he wasn’t surprised. He just wasn’t sure which one they had picked.
Staley, the Eagles’ running backs coach and assistant head coach, is known for coming up with new practice methods for his charges. On Friday night, he was able to see one of his brainchildren on display at Lucas Oil Stadium when the running backs went through their position drills.
Staley said he came up with the drill to enhance footwork, and he tried to play down his accomplishment.
“They should have named it the Darren Sproles drill,” Staley said in jest, pointing to his newly retired former player, who is in Indianapolis with the Eagles as a personnel consultant and demonstrated the drill.
The drill will have running-back prospects working their way through three horizontal step-over bags, running toward coaches as the coaches move in a certain direction to dictate which way the players should run. The drill, which emulates what running backs are asked to do on zone run plays, is new for this year as part of an attempt to modernize the scouting combine’s workouts.
“It’s good for the run game in general, not just limited to inside zone or outside zone,” Scott said. “It’s going where the defender isn’t.”
Scott, who had a three-touchdown game against the New York Giants in the regular-season finale, said Staley has a handful of drills that seem unique.
“I knew he was making his own drills. I’m not surprised they’re using it,” Scott said by phone. “I’m not surprised he’s had success in the league. He knows what he’s talking about, and he does his research. He works his tail off.”
Staley, who turned 45 on Thursday, has been the team’s running-backs coach since 2013, and had assistant head coach added to his title in 2018. The team ranks fifth in rushing offense per game since Staley took over the position group. Miles Sanders credited him for his emergence as a rookie-of-the-year candidate after he finished last season with 1,641 all-purpose yards.
Before his coaching career, Staley spent 10 years in the NFL, including seven with the Eagles.
“From a coach-and-play standpoint, the fact that he’s been through what he’s been through makes him relatable,” Scott said. “We tell him what we saw and why we did it, and he can see where we’re coming from. He’s a grinder; all he does is work in the coaching world. He worked his tail off as a player, too."