By Lewis Gould

Ryan Mathews saw his playing time drop from 26 snaps to eight in the Eagles’ Week 8 loss to the Cowboys, but coach Doug Pederson responded to questions about the back by saying he was still the lead guy in the team’s backfield.

Mathews played another eight snaps against the Giants on Sunday while Darren Sproles played 60 after playing on 61 snaps against the Cowboys.

That suggests Pederson had an odd way of defining lead guy, although an update on the backfield pecking order clears things up.

“By stats and by what you’re seeing, I would say that Darren is the No. 1 back right now,” Pederson said in comments distributed by the team. “You know, Ryan is still a big part [of the offense]; you saw the touchdown run that he had yesterday. Kenjon [Barner] had a nice run. Wendell [Smallwood] had a nice run. So it’s still a little bit of the running back by committee. Obviously, we haven’t hung our hat on one guy, but we tend to lean more towards Darren Sproles. It’s hard to take him off the field right now.”

Mathews had five carries and a catch on his eight snaps, so he does still have a role in the offense. It’s considerably smaller than the one Sproles is playing, however, and continuing to argue otherwise wouldn’t do Pederson much good.

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