Football is a brutal sport. For a professional player it wreaks havoc on the body on a weekly basis. No matter how many ice baths or massages an NFL player endures during the course of a season, it is almost impossible to escape the damage that is inflicted on a player’s body during a 60 minute game.
The half back position arguably withstands the largest toll during a game. Whether the coach calls a simple run play up the middle, or a passing play that calls for the halfback to stay in and block, the running back is inevitably going to make contact with a defensive player that is often times, twice his size.
Ten years ago, one half back was enough for a football team to have a productive offense. However, with the continuously growing size of defensive players, along with the nature of the sport becoming rougher than in the past, one halfback can no longer shoulder the load for an offense.
More than ever before, NFL teams are adopting the “dual-back” strategy, by employing two running backs and splitting the amount of carries between the two to preserve the shelf life of their half backs and also to decrease the risk of injury.
While the Eagles may have possessed the best rushing offense in the league last season and appeared to not need any help in that area, they still went out and added what some could call a “swiss army knife” to the offense.
In other words, the Eagles acquired an extremely unique weapon.
With the two-headed monster of Sproles and LeSean McCoy leading the backfield, the Eagles have produced the most dangerous running back tandem in the NFL.
Sproles will be another valuable asset to add to an offense already full of talent. Lesean McCoy led the NFL in rushing last season. However, he also carried the ball 314 times and caught 52 passes out of the backfield. Sproles is the ideal candidate to relieve McCoy of some much needed playing time.
New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, spoke highly of his former teammate, stating, “A Darren Sproles only comes around once your life”.
Brees is correct.
Standing at a mere 5 feet 6 inches, and 190 pounds, Sproles’ dynamic skill set has presented opposing defense with plenty of problems for years.
Sproles’ size allows him to fit through holes formed by the offensive line that might not be seen or available to a running back with a larger stature. Additionally, his quickness makes him one of the best receiving halfbacks in the NFL.
The 8-year pro has also been a serviceable kick return specialist for the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints, displaying a rare versatility.
The Eagles are a team that is on the rise. They have young talent on both sides of the ball and are just beginning to tap into their massive potential under second year head coach Chip Kelly. Therefore, trading away a 5th round draft pick for someone like Darren Sproles, who is an experienced, proven leader, was somewhat of a genius move by the Eagles’ front office.
After a draft in which the Eagles are expected to add more pieces to the defense, the Eagles are in position to win. They no longer need to build.
The Eagles closed last season on a 7-1 run to win the NFC East. After resigning key offensive contributors, such as Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, along with offensive lineman, Jason Peters and Jason Kelce, adding Darren Sproles to the offense might just be the piece that the Eagles needed in order to contend for a Super Bowl.