New Eagles running back Darren Sproles had more catches than runs in each of his last two seasons in New Orleans, and there’s been some talk that Sproles will effectively serve as a replacement to departed wide receiver DeSean Jackson in Philadelphia. But the Eagles’ coaches say Sproles is first and foremost a running back.
“I think he’s an outstanding running back, that’s what he is,” Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur told Philly.com. “There’s a lot of conversation about the fact we brought him in to play receiver. He’s played at a very high level for 10 years. He brings outstanding leadership. He’s one of our hardest workers. The first training session he went out there and he finishes as well as you see from any player, not to mention he can help us running the ball and catching it. That’s a very strong addition for us.”
Although head coach Chip Kelly has talked about Sproles being a difficult matchup for opposing defenses when he lines up in the slot, Shurmur said Sproles’s spot is in the backfield.
“He’s a running back, so we’re going to line him up in the backfield,” Shurmur said. “There is a portion of our offense where we can be in empty, or we can motion him out.”
That, however, will apparently be a minority of the time. Sproles’s primary role is to spell LeSean McCoy at running back.