Thursday, March 13, 2014
Sproles makes Eagles more dangerous
By Todd Archer
Chip Kelly has another tool at his disposal for the Philadelphia Eagles' offense.
The Eagles have acquired running back/return specialist Darren Sproles in a trade from the New Orleans Saints, which could put some more fear into the NFC East to see what Kelly can cook up with Sproles now on an offense with LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, a healthy Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Brent Celek.
This should make Nick Foles even happier.
With the way the Eagles like to spread the field, Sproles could be even more of a mismatch for defenses, but ...
Since 2011, when Sproles led the NFL with 2,696 all-purpose yards, his rushing, receiving and return totals have decreased. He had 603 rushing yards in 2011 and 446 yards the last two seasons. He caught 86 passes for 710 yards in 2011 and has followed that up with 75 (for 667 yards) and 71 catches (for 604 yards). His punt-return average went from 10.1 yards to 6.7 (which is still better than what the Eagles averaged last year as a team). His kick-return average went from 27.2 yards to 21.3 yards.
New Orleans coach Sean Payton is as innovative as they come in the NFL, but Kelly could be gaining on him.
Could he put McCoy and Sproles on the field at the same time? How would Sproles look in the slot? How much of a boost can Sproles be for the special teams, which could give that offense short fields to work with on a more regular basis?
An already potent offense got stronger on Thursday and a mastermind will be able to create even more trouble. That’s not good news for the defenses of the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and New York Giants.