Thursday, June 19, 2014
Sproles sparks possibilities for offense
By Andy Jasner
It's easy to point to what the Philadelphia Eagles lost in the offseason -- three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
It's also easy to forget what the Eagles gained on offense -- running back Darren Sproles.
Along with LeSean McCoy, this duo could wind up being one of the most dominant in the NFL this season.
"You know, first thing that sticks out is just how well he [Sproles] trains," Eagles coach Chip Kelly told reporters Wednesday during the three-day mandatory minicamp. "He's one of the guys that you point out to the younger guys on film as that is what it's supposed to look like. That's the effort and that's what we're looking for on a daily basis from him, very, very intelligent football player. He's got a great knowledge of the game and I think he's really shared that with Duce [Staley] and myself kind of how he sees things and has helped out some of the younger running backs at that position. Besides Darren, we are pretty young. LeSean is the next oldest guy at 25 and the rest of them are younger than he is. Been a great mentor to the younger guys and has really showed how they want them to perform out on the field."
Sproles led the league with 2,696 all-purpose yards in 2011, but his rushing, receiving and return total numbers have decreased in the following two seasons. He joined a team which doesn't need him to put up those kinds of numbers.
Quarterback Nick Foles had one more yard rushing (221) than Sproles did (220) last season. But Sproles can contribute in many ways, though, between rushing, catching passes and special teams.
Training camp is still more than a month away, but it's natural to wonder exactly how Sproles will fit into the high-powered offense.
"I've said that since Day 1: We are just trying to get reps and get plays and we are not game-planning anybody," Kelly said. "That's the fortunate thing for us is let's see how much work we can get done, get everybody on film and then when we start to get into the season we'll start to see how we can deploy our personnel in appropriate manners to win games."