Ageless Sproles still productive
The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t have much of a running game in their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week. The Eagles had 17 total rushing attempts. The player who had the most carries was running Darren Sproles with 10, gaining 48 yards. He was essentially the entire running offense for Philadelphia.
If you watched Sproles play over the last three years, it’s easy to see that he’s a pretty amazing player. At 34, Sproles, a 5-foot-6, 190-pounder, continues to be the Eagles most explosive player. In addition to being the leading rusher, he had two receptions for 30 yards against the Chiefs.
When the Philadelphia Eagles host the New York Giants in an NFC East matchup at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday (FOX 29, 1 p.m.), Sproles should be a big part of team’s offense again. It seems like every year there’s talk about limiting his touches, but he finds a way to get it done despite his size and age.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was asked about his comfort level with Sproles in terms of his touches this week.
“I don’t really have a set number with him,” Pederson said. “We know that he’s primarily been a third-down guy for us, situational player, and then at times he’s carried the bulk of the load. So I don’t go into it putting a number on it. [I] just kind of keep it more situational with him.”
They need him in a lot of situations. A year ago, he had 94 carries for 438 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards a carry. Sproles is a great receiver out of the backfield. He had 52 catches for 427 yards and two touchdowns a year ago. He’s also a big help on special teams. Sproles has consistently given the Eagles good field position as a punt returner. He averaged 13.2 yards a return last season.
Sproles is a unique player. He still has great quickness and overall speed. With his size and speed, he has the ability to hit the hole quickly and get to the outside. He’s performed extremely well as a running back, receiver and return specialist. He’s one of the most versatile players in the NFL. The three-time Pro Bowler leads all active players with 19,144 all-purpose yards.
In 2014, the Eagles traded a fifth-round draft pick to the New Orleans Saints for Sproles. He’s been one of the team’s biggest acquisitions over the last three years.
The Eagles have some playmakers on offense with Wentz, wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith and tight end Zach Ertz who should all get the ball against the Giants, but look for Sproles to get his touches, too.