INDIANAPOLIS - We've been told since the day he arrived in Philadelphia as the Eagles' third-round pick in the 2014 draft that Josh Huff was hell on wheels with the ball in his hands.
The only problem has been that, with the exception of his kickoff return chores, the ball hasn't been in his hands all that often.
Drafted by his college coach, Chip Kelly, Huff had just eight catches his rookie year and only 27 last season.
In Huff's first year at Oregon, Kelly was smart enough to utilize him as both a runner and receiver. He had 12 carries for 214 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman. But he carried the ball just six more times the rest of his college career, and in two seasons with Kelly in Philadelphia, he had one rushing attempt (for 7 yards). Go figure.
If Saturday night's preseason win over the Colts is any indication, Kelly's replacement, Doug Pederson, intends to make a more concerted effort than his predecessor to get the ball into Huff's mitts, one way or another.
Huff had 38- and 22-yard receptions against a depleted Colts secondary. The 38-yarder came on a short slant route that he turned into a big gain.
But the big story on Action News was Huff's 9-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep early in the second quarter.
The Eagles have been running occasional jet sweeps and end-arounds with Huff and running back Darren Sproles in training camp practices this summer. So, it's clear they've been considering using him a little more as a runner than Kelly did.
"We went into (the game) wanting to get certain guys in certain situations, and he was one of them," Pederson said. "He did a nice job tonight, obviously putting the ball in his hands (and) running it, and obviously throwing him some awesome slants and some intermediate stuff that he is very good at.
"It's something that we will continue to evaluate in his situation and keep putting him in those spots."
Huff said Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich have indicated that they'd like to use him much the same way Pederson and Andy Reid used De'Anthony Thomas in Kansas City the last two years. Thomas was used as both a runner and receiver. In 2014, Thomas averaged 8.1 yards per carry on 14 rushing attempts and also had 23 receptions.
Prior to Saturday, Huff had had an unremarkable training camp and preseason. Unremarkable enough that there appeared to be at least some doubt as to whether he was going to make the season-opening 53-man roster or not.
The Eagles had signed free-agent wide receivers Chris Givens and Rueben Randle in the offseason and then acquired another one, Dorial Green-Beckham, in a trade two weeks ago.
But neither Givens nor Randle have made particularly strong roster cases in the preseason. In fact, they were among the players released by the team Sunday.
As for Green-Beckham, who had a 4-yard touchdown catch against the Colts, he is weeks away from knowing the offense well enough for Pederson to feel comfortable putting him out on the field for more than a handful of plays.
Bottom line, Huff seems to have eliminated any doubt about his immediate future with his impressive performance against the Colts.
"The coaches know what I can do with the ball in my hands," Huff said. "They're trying to find ways to get the ball in my hands, whether it's in space or behind the line of scrimmage.
"I just went out there and played my type of game and controlled what I could control. I was aggressive. If I make a good play, forget about it. If I make a bad play, forget about it. It's on to the next play for me."
Quarterback Sam Bradford has been one of Huff's most vocal advocates.
"He had a great week of practice last week," Bradford said. "We had some plays designed to get him involved this week, get him the ball. I thought he did a great job.
"The one that comes to mind is the third-down play where it was man coverage. He beat the guy. It was a nice catch. Big conversion for us.
"I've said it all camp. This is a guy who has big-play potential for us, with his speed and his ability to run after the catch. To get him the ball tonight and see him do those things was really nice."
In the interest of fairness, or accuracy, or something, it should be pointed out that the Colts were missing a number of their better defensive backs Saturday and apparently had to borrow a bunch of kids from a local middle school. Or so it seemed the way Bradford was carving them up.
On both of his receptions, Huff was covered by Tay Glover-Wright, who appeared in just two games last season and probably will be coming to a waiver wire near you very soon.
Besides using Huff as a runner, Pederson also has moved him inside where he is a much more effective receiver than he was on the outside.
"I think Josh could really be a problem for defenses as an inside receiver if he's used the right way," Mike Quick, the Eagles' five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver and longtime radio analyst, said several months ago.
"He has running back type skills, kick return type skills. That guy working the slot can be a real headache. With the two-way go, with the ability to blow the top off the defense, I could see Josh maturing into a real good player."
With Jordan Matthews missing the entire preseason with a knee injury, Huff has been able to get a lot of work in the slot. But he is expected to return any minute now, and it will be interesting to see how many reps Huff gets once the season starts.
I think it's a fair bet, though, that we'll see at least one jet sweep against the Browns.
Huff insisted that his self-confidence has never wavered.
"I'm just getting back to being me," he said. "Getting back to being myself. I know every receiver in this league is going to drop balls. I can't beat myself over that.
"I know that I belong in this league. I know I'm able to make plays in this league. I just have to play my game and be myself and let the rest sort itself out."
One person who has really helped Huff is wide receivers coach Greg Lewis.
"He's been great for me," Huff said of the former Eagles wideout-turned-coach. "He's been able to dig deep within each of the receivers in the group and bring out the best in us. Obviously, we still have a lot of growing to do. But we're ready. We're ready for the long haul. We're ready to prove what we can do, with the help of G-Lew."