With DeSean gone, Sproles takes on greater importance in Philly

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It’s a good thing the Eagles waited to cut receiver DeSean Jackson until after they traded for running back Darren Sproles and then signed Sproles to an extension.  If Jackson had been gone before Sproles arrived, the price tag for either or both transactions may have been a little higher.

Now that Jackson is gone, Sproles will be counted upon to help replace some of the spark that Jackson brought to the offense and, possibly, to the special teams.

Coach Chip Kelly understandably downplayed the Sproles/Jackson swap last week at the league meetings, two days before Jackson was cut.

Totally different positions,” Kelly said, via Ed Kracz of the Burlington County (N.J.) Times.  “Darren is a running back, DeSean a wideout, so our whole thing, and I mentioned it when we got Darren, we’re excited about him, but we’ve got a long way to go before we play a game so let’s get him in here.  Let’s go through phase one, OTA, minicamp, and all that, and find out what his strengths are and play to them, but I’m real excited with the addition and what he can give us.”

While Kelly surely has some ideas based on game film, he seems to want to wait until he has a chance to experiment first hand with the nine-year veteran.

“Until we get out on the field and run around, I know, obviously, he’s an outstanding returner, he’s an outstanding receiver coming out of the backfield, [but] what run plays does he run the best?” Kelly said.  “Is he an inside zone guy?  Is he an outside zone guy?  Is power a better play for him?.  Those are all things we’ll figure out when we get our hands on him.”

Traditionally, it’s been hard for opponents to get their hands on Sproles.  When the Eagles got the chance to acquire him, the analysis was simple.

“The way we looked at it is, if Darren Sproles was available in the fifth round of the draft this year would you take him?” Kelly said.  “And absolutely we would.”

Whether Sproles justifies that investment will go a long way toward justifying the move away from Jackson, who’ll visit Philly’s division rivals in Washington on Monday.

48 responses to “With DeSean gone, Sproles takes on greater importance in Philly

  1. Yeah because the price would have been so much more for a 31 year old RB…. First they outbid everyone else in the league and then extended him. Boy, they sure outsmarted everyone!

  2. Kelly seems to be on top of things.

    It’s good that he has distinguished the difference between a RB and a WR, and that if you trade a draft pick, it’s like you are essentially using that pick on the traded player like as if they were in the draft the whole time and everybody else passed on them until your pick in that round came up! I never really thought about it that way. *rolls eyes sarcastically but all in good fun*

    But in all seriousness, I’m more interested in his detailed analyses regarding the WR position. I’m not really interested in hearing him talk about anything else right now, and I don’t have concerns about Sproles anyhow, just concerns about WR, and I want to hear him elaborate a lot about that. Please get him to talk on that matter and let him have all night. That could get really interesting!

  3. So…. the head coach says Jackson’s release doesn’t affect Sproles’ role at all, and you parlay that into a headline that Sproles is more important now. Not good.

  4. It’s alright Philadelphia the Steelers will continue to make Pennsylvania look like a winning state. You can continue not winning a super bowl. #sixrings #mostsuperbowlsinleaguehistory

  5. Yes, Sproles is 31, but he’s a low-mileage 31, and still the most dangerous 3rd down back in the league.

  6. Sproles was the reason Philly thought DeSean
    was expendable. Not really agreeing, but I bet
    that was their thought process…

  7. So somehow the ADDITION of the newly acquired 31 y/o back-up RB, is somehow supposed to offset the SUBTRACTION of your 27 y/o in the prime of his career most productive WR?


  8. As far as a spark, Maclin is the guy everyone should be talking about. Maclin is the better receiver in my opinion. Maclin and Cooper are going to be just fine, you still have to account for McCoy, and now Sproles. You have legitimate threats in Celek and Ertz as well. Bryce Brown is also another RB that will be more involved this year. Desean was never the only spark on this team, and Kelly knew that.

    You draft another WR or two to fill out the roster and this team is still as potent as it ever was. The key to this teams success will be the improvement of the defense.

  9. Good thing angrygreenbird is in top of things seeing as the eagles didn’t outbid anyone for sproles. They traded their extra third for him.

  10. An aging RB does not replace a #1 WR.

    Are they going to draft a WR? I guess. Nevermind the fact that they need to use the draft on defense.

    This move made zero sense. Djax could’ve stayed on the roster until after the draft when you know what you already have in hand. At the very least, they could’ve secured a WR and then potentially traded Djax for another pick if another team found they didn’t get the WR they wanted.

    All I can think is that something VERY bad is coming and the Eagles decided to get out ahead of that.

    Short of that, my bet is that Djax ends up having a stellar career somewhere else and Chip Kelly ends up out of the NFL before Djax.

    I’ve been an Eagles fan for 35 years, so I say all this with a heavy heart.

  11. Jbeagle… Yes they outbid everyone because he was on the block for almost a week and it ended up the Eagles outbidding the Skins for him and second, it was a fifth rounder, not a third.

  12. Wait, when did the Eagles release Jackson? You’d think PFT would have put up at least one post letting us know about it.

  13. I actually hope Jackson has a Pro Bowl caliber season this year with whatever team he ends up with. Year two of THAT particular Soap Opera is going to be awesome! I bet Dez Bryant is also hoping Desean gets a big deal,because if that happens Jerrah’s going to have to break the bank to keep him happy!

  14. “Sproles isn’t on the Lions.”

    Bucs = worst winning percentage all time
    Cards = most losses all time

    That is all.

  15. Sproils is NOT going to take the top off of the defense and assist the WRs. This is a JOKE !!! Chip will be gone in two years. Enough said…..

  16. stunzeed5 says:
    Mar 30, 2014 8:25 PM
    Sproles, welcome to the losingist city in sports. Sigh…..
    San Diego
    Teams: Chargers, Padres, Rockets, Clippers
    Championship Round Record: 1-6
    Semi-Final Round Record: 3-3
    Total Seasons/Championships: 107/1
    Last Title: 1963
    Chargers lost their only Super Bowl (1995), the Padres their only two World Series (1984 and 1998). Meantime, two professional basketball franchises have come and gone.

  17. saintsfan1111 says:
    Mar 30, 2014 9:43 PM
    > Yes, Sproles is 31, but he’s a low-mileage 31, and still the most dangerous 3rd down back in the league.
    “In the Saints offense he was.”


    ….and that was prior to this past season. He didn’t do much in 2013. Aging, banged up RBs that are missing game time generally don’t get better.

  18. he will fill the hole left by avant , 3rd down chain mover through the air , with way more yards after catch ability

  19. Boy, I hope that Kelly knows his football. Now the Iggles HAVE TO SPEND a draft pick on a WR. These Iggles will only go as far as that defense will take them.

  20. I think you all are still overlooking the locker room aspect of Desean’s release. If someone is missing team meetings, showing up whenever they want, and not doing “team” activities, they aren’t part of a team.

    Sproles cannot replace Desean on the field, you’d be hard pressed to find someone for the Eagles now that could.

    However, The organization was willing to take the hit in the name of team chemistry. As an Eagles fan, I am OK with it.

  21. Chip Kelly recruited this kid…Kelly stole him from USC…he was electric everytime he touched the ball in Eugene.

    the eagles will draft the black Mamba, DeAnthony Thomas from Oregon, to take the place of DeSean Jackson..

    you heard it here first

  22. sproles isn’t a traditional back…more like a jack of all trades but designated a back…he will do fine…Philly got good value trading for and extending him…

  23. Kelly brought in Sproles not knowing what kind of run plays he prefers?

    “Is he an inside zone guy? Is he an outside zone guy? Is power a better play for him?. Those are all things we’ll figure out when we get our hands on him.”

    A disconnect between GM and coach it appears.

  24. THANK GOD we traded a 5th round pick for a 31 year old Running Back. I am sure this will mean the Birds don’t miss a beat from getting nothing for their 27 year old pro-bowl wide receiver coming off the best year of his career.

    Won’t miss a beat. Solid move Birds.

  25. This implosion will be great to watch. Kelly will be back in college in a year. You can tell that he dislikes the NFL life.

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