Sermon ready for his chance to bring physicality to RB rotation


Trey Sermon was a promising third-round pick a year ago, so he admitted it was a little shocking when he was cut by the 49ers just after final cuts in August.

But then the Eagles claimed him.

“Once I knew I was coming here,” Sermon said on Friday, “it was just, ‘What’s next?’ That was my focus. I didn’t want to just sit there and dwell on it too much because I knew things would start moving fast.”

He was right.

Because about a month after he was claimed off waivers, Sermon is expected to make his Eagles debut at the Linc on Sunday.

Sermon has been inactive for the first three games of the season as he worked behind the scenes to learn the Eagles’ offensive scheme but Boston Scott has been ruled out with a ribs injury. That leaves the Eagles with just Miles Sanders and Kenny Gainwell as the healthy options on the roster.

So, ready or not, Sermon is up.

“I expect to just go out there and be efficient,” Sermon said. “Just be my very best and do whatever I have to do to help the team win.”

Sermon, 23, was the No. 88 overall pick in the 2021 draft. The only running backs taken before him last year were Najee Harris, Travis Etienne and Javonte Williams. But the 49ers elected to move on after just one season and the Eagles pounced.

And so far, they’ve been impressed by the Ohio State and Oklahoma product.

Head coach Nick Sirianni said Sermon has picked up the offense “really well” in the weeks he’s been here. Running backs coach Jemal Singleton and offensive quality control coach T.J. Paganetti have spent a lot of extra time with Sermon. And the Eagles have added additional developmental periods this year; Sermon has taken full advantage of those.

“Obviously, Trey has done a great job picking it up,” Sirianni said. “Jemal has done a great job coaching it, and [Sermon] has gotten a lot of the reps of doing it.”

The biggest adjustment for Sermon has been acclimating to a scheme that’s different than the one he had in San Francisco. But he said there’s plenty of carryover from the offense he was a part of at Oklahoma and even some from his offense at Ohio State.

Singleton’s biggest message to Sermon has been to watch film and really put himself through mental reps. Envision he’s the one running the plays. On Sunday, he might be doing it for real.

“He’s coming along real good,” Sanders said. “He’s learning everything quick, he’s staying after with Coach Singleton and getting the game plan ready. It’s hard to learn a whole playbook, but as long as he’s learning the game plan for the week, he should be good.”

At 6-foot, 215 pounds, Sermon is the biggest running back on the Eagles’ roster. They could perhaps use some of his physical style as a part of their rotation.

Sanders watched plenty of Sermon when Sermon was in college and is impressed by his physicality but also his athleticism.

What kind of player does Sermon think he is?

“I’m a physical runner, but I’m also elusive as well,” he said. “I pride myself on making the first guy miss no matter whether I have to run through them or make a juke move or stiff arm. I feel like I’m a very physical back.”

We’ll finally get to see that on Sunday.

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