Sproles Update

Posted: March 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 87 Comments »

One of the concerns with the trade for Darren Sproles was the fact that he was in the final year of his deal. That seemed pretty odd. Clearly the Eagles had already planned on dealing with that and today they announced a 2-year contract extension with him. Suddenly the trade makes a lot more sense.

Some people wondered why Chip Kelly would acquire a player like Sproles. He’s older and declining. Why go for a player like that? The extension tells you that this isn’t a case of Kelly taking a flier on Sproles. Kelly has a specific plan for how to use him. To me, that’s great news. We don’t know what the plan is or if it will work, but I’m willing to have faith in Kelly. His offensive plans usually turn out pretty well.

I do think Sproles can thrive in Kelly’s system. The Eagles spread the field a lot. That stretches the defense and creates some interesting matchups. Get Sproles the ball in space and let him make plays for you. He won’t be a standard RB for the Eagles. He will play some in the backfield, but Kelly will move him around quite a bit.

I hope Sproles will benefit from fewer touches. The Eagles have a lot of playmakers as it is. Sproles had 124 offensive touches in 2013. That would have been second on the Eagles. I don’t think he’ll have that kind of a role. Limiting his touches on offense could also help him as a RS. That is one area where he could be an impact player for the Eagles if he’s able to get back to previous form. There is no question that 2013 was a down year for him as a returner.

You also wonder if the sports science stuff can help Sproles at all. He’s still very athletic and in good condition. If Kelly’s ideas can make him just a bit better, that could make a real difference.

The other consideration here is that Sproles is an insurance policy for the Eagles. The team is deep at RB, but if Shady were to go down, Brown and Polk would offer little impact as receivers. Obviously that is an area where Sproles is still among the best in the league. Shady stayed healthy last year, but you can’t count on a workhorse RB doing that every season.

Some of you have asked about Sproles as a blocker when he’s out in space. Great question. Jason Avant did a terrific job when blocking on WR screens and running plays. Sproles is a good pass protector, but I honestly don’t know about the other blocks. I’ll need to go watch a few Saints games. This may be a project that gets put off until after the draft. While highly interesting, it isn’t a timely issue.

Chip Kelly loves versatile players that can make plays. That is Darren Sproles in a nutshell. I didn’t anticipate this move, but it does make sense when you focus on him as a RS and slot receiver more than just as a RB.

I also think Kelly has earned our trust after the great performance by the offense last year. One thing we know won’t be an issue is teams seeing the same exact offense. When you add a player as talented and multiple as Sproles, there are going to be some new wrinkles for defenses to worry about.


87 Comments on “Sproles Update”

  1. 1 Charlie Kelly said at 9:49 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    sproles in the read option is going to so fun to watch. i have been following sproles for a very long time, eagles fans we got a real good player!!!

  2. 2 Cafone said at 10:34 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    I concur. And this extension alleviates all my concerns about the trade.

  3. 3 Flyin said at 10:50 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    The Eagles do not run the read option…

    “we don’t run read option if you want to get really technical. We run a zone read play every once in awhile.” – Chip Kelly


  4. 4 Charlie Kelly said at 10:52 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    zone read, yes thats what i meant. but the thing is when they dont run it it still lokks like they do run it. thats the genius part

  5. 5 Charlie Kelly said at 9:52 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Plus you gotta remember he came up under one of the best backs of all time in LT, then went and was working with one of the best QBs in brees. You gotta think this is a great move.. for foles. It gives nick a conduit to drew brees. and any self respecting eagles fan should know the connection between those 2 by now.

  6. 6 Flyin said at 9:57 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    I know, I know… they are both QB’s from the same state.

  7. 7 Flyin said at 9:58 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Went to the same high school.

  8. 8 Flyin said at 9:58 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    And the rest is in the record books.

  9. 9 Flyin said at 12:11 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Must have gone option read un-read zone.

  10. 10 Charlie Kelly said at 10:54 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    same high school, but more importantly its someone who nick wants to learn from and know he can ask sproles about the little things drew does, esp when it comes to throwiung the ball to sproles.. lol

  11. 11 Baloophi said at 10:05 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    4 letter first names, 5 letter last names that both end in “S”?

  12. 12 Flyin said at 10:09 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    I’ll call and raise… last names end in “es”

  13. 13 Cliff said at 10:42 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Both are white guys.

  14. 14 Flyin said at 9:54 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    When I read comments from fans saying that Sproles is old, declining and has lost a step… the first thing I thought about was Chip’s sports science program. I hope Chip’s “youth juice”, aka PBR smoothies, turns back the clock for him.

  15. 15 Weapon Y said at 10:16 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Worked well for Trent Cole, Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, and Todd Herremans (the latter 3 of whom had season ending injuries in 2012). It could definitely be just what Sproles needs to buy some more time.

  16. 16 Jeremy Glasser-Hyman said at 10:25 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    What does “RS” mean in terms of running backs?

  17. 17 Flyin said at 10:26 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Nothing… it means ” return specialist”. Tommy was just saying limited touches on offense would keep him fresher as a returner.

  18. 18 Jeremy Glasser-Hyman said at 11:10 PM on March 14th, 2014:


  19. 19 Weapon Y said at 10:31 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    The Chip Kelly offense is going to be even more deadly this year. Between Maclin recovering from injury and picking up Sproles, the Eagles might have the best group of skill guys in the entire NFL. I’m pumped to see Shady, DeSean (no, trolls. He isn’t getting traded), Maclin, Cooper, Sproles, Ertz, and Celek gash defenses. The versatility of these players will allow the offense to dramatically change formations without substituting players. Provided the OL continues its dominance in run blocking and improves its pass blocking, Foles has everything he needs to succeed. The Eagles will be a quarterback’s dream offense. Now if the defense just had some of this star power, the Eagles would be destined for multiple Super Bowl titles.

  20. 20 Cafone said at 10:39 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Don’t forget about Arrelious Benn!

    If he does make it back and make the team, maybe he could take over return duties since Sproles is no spring chicken and the Eagles now have him for 3 years.

  21. 21 Charlie Kelly said at 10:56 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    no please DO forget about benn. lol Benn has never been good at returns. and infact the guy is as injury prone as it gets, so lets not remember him. he is a nobody to me. not even worth thinking about.

  22. 22 Weapon Y said at 10:56 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Good point. I did forget about him, but I shouldn’t have. I like his size, but I need to see him in action first. It would be very convenient if he emerged as a solid fourth receiver. Dont know anything about him as a returner. Hoping DeSean remains the punt returner and we draft a guy who can be a good kick returner.

  23. 23 Charlie Kelly said at 10:57 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    no you should have forgotten about him.

  24. 24 Flyin said at 11:33 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Right, he’s small. We got Ifeanyi Momah. 6′-7″ little people.

  25. 25 Charlie Kelly said at 2:10 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    nah he just sucks and has torn his ACL a Bajillion times. yes a BAJILLION!!! No typo!!! lol

  26. 26 Arby1 said at 11:03 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Yes, and just wait till we take Brandin Cooks at 22!!

  27. 27 Mitchell said at 11:08 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    With all the skill talent you almost wonder if the Eagles wil go with an OL early.

  28. 28 Weapon Y said at 12:28 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Not impossible, but not as high on priority list as safety, inside linebacker, cornerback, and outside linebacker.

  29. 29 ICDogg said at 12:30 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    That’s your priority list… we don’t know Chip’s

  30. 30 D3FB said at 1:35 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    OLB and Safety are undoubtedly the two biggest positions on the wish list but guard would have to be right there with ILB and CB. Depending on who is left on the board it could very easily happen.

  31. 31 Weapon Y said at 12:20 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    I think it is very urgent to upgrade ILB. DeMeco Ryans just isn’t good enough in pass coverage. Good run defender and good guy, but we need a guy who can excel in this scheme. A 3-4 scheme is built around the linebackers and we need good ones.

  32. 32 D3FB said at 2:28 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    There are ways to still use Meco in pass coverage, if the wheels come off for Todd, we are in deep shit. That’s the downside to a zone blocking scheme, is that if one player is struggling it can throw off the entire scheme.

  33. 33 Mitchell said at 4:02 PM on March 15th, 2014:


  34. 34 zbone95 said at 10:48 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Now that we got offensive players who can do damage in space (shady, sproles) , speed (desean and maclin) and size (Cooper and Ertz). What kind of player do you think they should target in draft if at all? My guess would be someone who can go and get the ball high in the air and has a large catch radius like Kelvin Benjamin but I do not want him drafted in 1st. What do you guys think? Any mid-round players that fit that role?

  35. 35 Flyin said at 10:56 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    I always wanted Nicks for the Eagles, now I want Kelvin $100. Pipe dream of course, as I don’t think the Eagles should/would grab him in the 1st.

  36. 36 Charlie Kelly said at 10:59 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Nicks sucks.

  37. 37 Flyin said at 11:04 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    I didn’t want him this year, and he didn’t always suck.

  38. 38 Charlie Kelly said at 11:09 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    meh, i never was a fan. Good hands yes, but thats about it. And its not like he is a tall WR either.

  39. 39 Flyin said at 11:13 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Maybe not that tall, but played big. The years of red zone woes made me want someone of his caliber.

  40. 40 Anders said at 8:59 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    If you want somebody like Nicks, I think Beckham Jr is the perfect guy. He is slightly smaller, but he is more dynamic and oppose to guys “big” guys like Benjamin, Robinson and Matthews, he does not drop the ball.

  41. 41 Charlie Kelly said at 10:59 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Allen Robinson would be a perfect fit. He can get YAC, he can block, he can play all WR positions. oh and he has crazy body control along with his 39 inch vert with soft hands to pluck the ball at its highest point.

    If kelvin and Lee are gone @ 22 i take robinson.

    oh and im all about a WR in the 1st.

  42. 42 zbone95 said at 11:06 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    If they were to drafft him, My ideal scenario would be to trade down get more picks and then get Robinson and maybe get jimmie ward in 2nd

  43. 43 Charlie Kelly said at 11:12 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    yeah, but i dont ever think about trading down or up, because you never know if they will, can or want to… @ 22 if hasean, barr, kelvin, or lee (watkins and evans of course wont be there) then i go allen robinson. And i know the eagles sent a bunch of scouts to all of his home games at penn state this past season.

    oh and another point about not trading, allen wont be there at our 2nd round pick.

  44. 44 Alastair Lucas said at 8:03 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Robinson’s 40 time at the Combine may drop his stock enough for him to fall to no.54 in the draft. He’d definitely be the BPA if he falls that far. I think he’d be a great fit.

  45. 45 Charlie Kelly said at 7:47 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    he wont fall that far.

  46. 46 A Roy said at 3:45 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Second round talent. Not fast enough and drops too many balls.

  47. 47 Charlie Kelly said at 4:28 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    not fast enough? the dude gets YAC. Very good after the catch. But yes he does have perfect hands, a few drops, tends to double catch. But thats small things that most WRs go thru… plus those perfect soft passes from foles will be easy to snag… and we are talking at 22. not top 10.

  48. 48 A Roy said at 10:55 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Robinson was 38th out of 44 WR at the combine with a 4.6. That’s not first round speed. Yes, he was taller/bigger than some. And he does run good routes. Still, any team taking him in the first round isn’t going BPA. I think there will be better receivers than him available at #22. And I do think we’ll take a WR. Probably trade down and then take Beckham.

  49. 49 Charlie Kelly said at 7:46 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    the 40 time isnt the gospel of drafting WRs. lol.. if it was larry fitz and boldin would never have been drafted in the 1st round. (among others) His vert and long jump are among the best in the draft, that right proves explosion. step ya game up

  50. 50 Charlie Kelly said at 4:55 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    So is kelvin benjamin.. lol.. and allen out produced him every year he was in college. But allen has actually shown he has explosion with his 39 in vert. while kelvin had a poor vert. you guys need to step it up…

  51. 51 Anders said at 8:58 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Benjamin is 40 pounds heavier than Robinson, so why are we comparing them?

  52. 52 NinjaP said at 3:47 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Wide receivers that get caught from behind in college are not worth 1st round picks. So no thanks on robinson.

  53. 53 Charlie Kelly said at 4:29 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    then how did larry fitz and boldin get drafted in the 1st? lol..

  54. 54 Anders said at 9:00 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Boldin was a 2nd round pick and Fitzgerald is 10 times the WR Robinson is.

  55. 55 Charlie Kelly said at 4:59 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    and yet allen had 10 receptions of at least 40 yards, a figure that led the nation; that’s two more than Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, Texas A&M’s Mike Evans and Clemson’s Sammy Watkins.

    Step ya game up rookie,, i mean u still have a pic of stewart bradley.. yikes

  56. 56 A_T_G said at 7:32 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Often people takes things so personally on the Internet. It is refreshing to see two people who can disagree with smiles on their faces.

  57. 57 Charlie Kelly said at 7:42 PM on March 15th, 2014:


  58. 58 NinjaP said at 2:26 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    And yet he still got caught from behind. you didn’t disprove my point. He is slow and plays slow.

  59. 59 Charlie Kelly said at 7:42 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    he averaged, 15 yards a catch with over 1400 yards. And he is a beast after the catch. So your problem is that you havent actually made a point. lmfao

    oh and his vert and long jump prove he has explosion. step ya game up.

  60. 60 Charlie Kelly said at 7:44 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    oh and i completely disproved your point, most recs of at least 40 yards, avergaed 15 yards a catch with over 1400 yards.. completely blew your point out of the water. step it up cupcake.

  61. 61 Mitchell said at 11:02 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Martavis Bryant would be nice in the 3rd.

  62. 62 Poppi said at 12:01 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    you have to think defense and special teams to get to the big show- Niners, Seahawks, even Saints. We are good on offense – look what Denver is trying to do.

  63. 63 Sean said at 12:50 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Saints did not have a good defense the year they won the Super Bowl. They just forced some huge turnovers in extremely memorable moments, so it’s remembered as a great defense. Same goes for the Ravens last year, who just had a lot of big names on their defense, but they were past their prime and the defense didn’t really play all that well.

  64. 64 D3FB said at 12:32 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Cody Hoffman

  65. 65 Poppi said at 11:52 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    With a 3 year contract can the Birds trade Sproles without his consent?

  66. 66 ICDogg said at 11:54 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    Yes, I’m pretty sure the CBA does not allow for no trade clauses and such.

  67. 67 Poppi said at 11:58 PM on March 14th, 2014:

    thanks – just wondering about that because if he isn’t everything they hope he is or they can attract some serious draft pick or defensive player…may be a good option, especially since he is a “toy” and we have serious needs on defense.

  68. 68 ICDogg said at 12:00 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    I can only imagine what his wife’s reaction would be

  69. 69 Flyin said at 12:02 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Maybe a “toy”, but a proven one. I can see why most Slynky’s are made out of plastic now… much easier to detangle.

  70. 70 Baloophi said at 12:12 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    I’m telling you guys – Smoke is pulling all the strings…

  71. 71 Flyin said at 12:25 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Quite the setting… all in a TP enjoying the Smoke as they don their best threads.

  72. 72 A_T_G said at 1:06 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    See, I hear Smoke is pretty transparent and everything we see getting done is a result of smoke working with this guy.

  73. 73 ICDogg said at 12:29 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Chip Kelly will never be a “defense first” coach. That’s just not who he is. You can carry on about defense defense defense until you’re blue in the face but this team’s identity is going to be offense.

  74. 74 Neil said at 10:32 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    But I think that has more to do with how good he is at crafting offense and not for which unit he’s going to go out and acquire the most talented players.

    Look at Foles. Not particularly talented except for his ability to make the kind of decisions the offense is based on. Comes out and plays like the best QB in the league.

  75. 75 Sean said at 12:59 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Even if Sproles is in decline, the attention he still commands from coverage has its own value. Plus, he’s almost always available for at least an easy 2-3 yard checkdown, which should help Foles cut down on some of those sacks he took after patting the ball for several seconds.

  76. 76 GENETiC-FREAK said at 1:15 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    I think the Sproles signing is good for Chip needing his TAZR position he had LaMichael James n DAT playing.. Sproles is pretty much the finished product of what James n DAT are i see.. Chip may want DAT n the draft or someone similar with his skill set but where to select him n if he is there to select at the time is too much of a question.. So good move making the trade for the player with the skill set he wanted

  77. 77 JJ_Cake said at 2:06 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    What does this mean for Polk and Bryce Brown? Does one become trade material?

  78. 78 ICDogg said at 5:11 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    I don’t think they’ll need so many running backs, so it’s a possibility.

  79. 79 Jernst said at 9:29 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    I don’t think Sproles is viewed as strictly a RB. He’s a complimentary player. If Shady were to go down with an injury, you wouldn’t want him carrying the load. Nor do I think he physically could. I think you’d still want 3 other RBs on the roster.

  80. 80 austinfan said at 10:37 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Haven’t seen the details yet, but I suspect most of the guaranteed money is guaranteed salary, and the first year would have been paid in any case. So it’s probably a 2 year contract with a team option for the 3 season with little dead money.

  81. 81 Dominik said at 11:22 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Interesting nugget from Jimmy K in his article about the award Kelly received. (here: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/eagles/Chip-Kelly-collects-award-talks-to-reporters-on-a-variety-of-topics.html)

    “If players can’t contribute on special teams, they’re “not in the conversation” as far as adding them to the roster.”

    If Jimmy quoted the Chippah correctly, there is no way Nate Allen is returning. He would be our #2/#3 Safety and if I remember correctly he never played ST (at least he was never a contributor).

    Ihedigbo now would even make more sense. One commentator here said yesterday that he’s a great STer. And he appears to be at least a solid Safety. The age doesn’t concern me one bit, we will have a Safety in his second year and a Rookie we draft on this roster this year. Let Ihedigbo and Jenkins mentor them and give them snaps in dime coverage.

    Pay the man, if you have to. Short contracts aren’t a concern for us.

    Apparently he is close to signing with the Lions. There was no Eagles rumor, but that doesn’t have to be a bad sign. 😉

  82. 82 ICDogg said at 12:19 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    I heard what Chip said about players having to play ST’s and it seemed clear to me that he was speaking of backup players, not starters.

    As far as Ihedigbo, he was “imminent” to sign with Detroit 2 days ago. I don’t know what the hold-up is.

  83. 83 Dominik said at 12:53 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    If we re-sign Allen, he won’t be penciled in as starter. Jenkins is the one that’s penciled in, at least we pay him starter money. Allen and the Safety we’ll draft would fight with Wolff for playing time – that means Allen could very well be a backup and therefore Chips rule will apply, if the quote from Jimmy is correct.

  84. 84 shah8 said at 11:30 AM on March 15th, 2014:

    Sooo…what do you think is the deal with Carolina? With a roster of WR and, like, three catches from all of them last year…

  85. 85 ICDogg said at 12:21 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    Marvin McNutt! Superbowl!

  86. 86 A Big Butt and a Smile said at 1:11 PM on March 15th, 2014:

    Getts screwed the pooch letting Smith go. I think the plan was to retain Ginn and grab Nicks and maybe someone else….but that all went to hell with Smith gone. Ginn signed elsewhere and Nicks realizes one year with Ty Hilton and Wayne is better for him than being on a low-ball multi-year deal with no help in Carolina.

    I orignally had Car penciled as a loss. But with no line, no WR and no secondary – I’m thinking that game is def looking more like a W now. Even in March. lol.

  87. 87 Charlie Kelly said at 3:37 PM on March 16th, 2014:

    they will draft a couple… high. good time to do so