By: Chris Maurice
After a Wild Card loss to the New Orleans Saints last season, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to take their most versatile weapon during the offseason: Darren Sproles. Sproles was a fourth round selection by the San Diego Chargers back in 2005, and played five seasons with the Chargers before his three season stint in New Orleans. Sproles is now a huge part of Chip Kelly’s high powered Eagles offense, getting time as a running back, receiver, and punt return specialist.
Sproles is one of few players in the NFL who can perform at a Pro Bowl level in every aspect of the game. In fact, Sproles holds the NFL single-season record for All-Purpose Yards, finishing the 2011 season with 2,696 total yards. Sproles’s ability to perform anywhere on the field makes him a dangerous weapon in the offensive scheme of a coach like Kelly.
With LeSean McCoy handling the majority of the running in Philly, Sproles is used a lot in the passing offense. Sproles is a vital part of the Eagles passing offense this season, because his tremendous speed makes him a match up problem for basically every team in the NFL. Sproles has almost as many targets as rushing attempts this season; but when Mark Sanchez isn’t throwing it his way he helps the other receivers by drawing secondary help his way.
A huge part of Sproles’s success in Philadelphia is his special teams play. Sproles is the number one punt return man for the Eagles for good reason: he’s an explosive player who threatens to score every time he touches the football. In fact, in his 13 games played this season Sproles has racked up 496 total yards and two touchdowns on special teams. Sproles’s explosiveness continuously gives the Eagles offense a shorter field and sets them up in positions to score.
Sproles has played a key role in the Eagles success this season, and he has been a huge factor in their 9-5 season so far. The Eagles have slipped a little lately, so they are currently sitting behind the Dallas Cowboys at second place in the NFC East. With two games left this season, the Eagles are hopefully a Dallas slip up will earn them their second division championship in two season.