After perhaps the most impressive season of any NFL running back in 2013 from Philadelphia Eagles’ back LeSean McCoy, some fans were shocked when his team went ahead and gave up a fifth round draft pick to the New Orleans Saints in order to sign Darren Sproles. We’ve heard it all before, star running backs having their carries stolen by other backs, leading to a drop in production.
But not this time.
Sproles brings a whole new dimension to the Eagles offense that can only help improve those around him. Head coach Chip Kelly ran a system with the Oregon Ducks that saw the runners pile up the stats. In his final season with the Ducks in 2012 running backs Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas, along with quarterback Marcus Mariota, put up over 3,000 yards rushing, as well as 37 touchdowns. If the same level of explosive play can be brought to the Eagles, they may be a great bet to make a deep playoff run, maybe even to the Super Bowl, with odds available at sportsbettingsites.tv leading up to the season.
However, Sproles’ biggest impact will not come in running the ball. To put it simply, Sproles is a complete match-up nightmare for defenses in the passing game. Too elusive for safeties to cover, and too fast for linebackers, Sproles presents a real problem in the flats, in screen plays, and in short to intermediate routes. This doesn’t only create huge plays for him, but it will take attention away from McCoy, opening up space for him to run into and keeping safeties honest.
The signing of Sproles also brings with it an advantage that many fans, especially those looking purely at football from a fantasy point of view, may not see as such. McCoy had the second most touches of any NFL running back last season, and that kind of a pounding does not go without its consequences. By even taking ten touches every week, Sproles will allow McCoy some critical rest during games, without sacrificing the production he put up last year.
That can only be good in the long run.
Another key piece to this explosive offense may come in the return of an almost-forgotten man. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin missed last season through injury, but was re-signed by the Eagles to a one year deal. If he can return to his best, his combination of speed, size and route-running ability may open up the offense further. One thing is for sure, the Eagles will have one of the most potent, dynamic, and downright scary offenses in the NFL this upcoming season.