Newly acquired offensive weapon Darren Sproles arrived in Philadelphia on Friday and met with the Philly media. He touched on a number of topics in a short amount of time.
Shortly before the press conference even started, it was reported that Sproles received a two-year contract extension. His new deal last through 2016. It's obvious Sproles wouldn't have re-signed with the team if he didn't like being traded to Philadelphia. But don't just take my word for it: Sproles himself said he's very happy to join the Eagles, he likes the fit, and he wants to stay. "When I finally heard [that I was traded], I was happy, because they could have traded me somewhere I didn’t want to be."
A "Real Crazy" Eagles Offense
When news of Sproles being traded to the Eagles hit, I couldn't think of a more happy man than Eagles' head coach Chip Kelly. The addition of Sproles gives him yet another offensive weapon to work with. As if the collection of players such as DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, etc. wasn't threatening enough, the Eagles found a way to get even more dangerous. Sproles acknowledged the potential for this offense. " I feel....it could get real crazy," he said.
Sproles isn't exaggerating, either. The Eagles offense ranked near the top in the league in nearly almost offensive category last season. But for an idea of how it could get better, compare Sproles production as a receiver to what Jason Avant did for the Eagles in the slot last season. The numbers aren't perfectly comparable since Sproles is not a full time slot guy (40% in 2013), but the key takeaway here is the YAC ability:
Sproles: 71 rec, 84.5% caught, 604 yards, 540 YAC, 7.6 YAC/rec, 0 drops, 0 fumbles
Avant: 38 rec, 53.5% caught, 447 yards, 69 YAC, 2.3 YAC/rec, 3 drops, 2 fumbles
How does Sproles fit in?
Sproles put it simply: "Anywhere in space." Expanding upon that answer, there have been some well-written articles about "space" players that are worth your time. Here's an idea of how Kelly could use Sproles based on how the Saints used him:
In coaching the Saints, Payton takes advantage of the three best ways to use space players. First are screen passes — plays designed to get the runner into open space, preferably with blockers ahead of him. Second is the space player’s role as an underneath receiver, where he provides an easy option for a quarterback while drawing coverage away from downfield receivers. And, finally, a space player can be a runner on draws and sweeps after the earlier plays have forced the defense to substitute favorable (for the offense) personnel. When the defense adjusts its personnel to cover such screens and quick passes to Sproles, it opens an opportunity for the Saints to run the ball at quicker, pass-concerned defenders.
Here are two more pieces you should read:
If you watched the Sproles press conference, you may have noticed he seemed a little uncomfortable while talking. This isn't to say he isn't happy here, it's just that you need to understand Sproles has a speech impediment. Sproles is a member of a non-profit organization called The Stuttering Foundation. He purposely stayed in school, despite being a top five candidate for the Heisman Award in 2004, so that he could finish his degree in speech pathology.
Darren Sproles shows off his No. 43 jersey pic.twitter.com/a3eAM6snTC— Eagles Insider (@EaglesInsider) March 14, 2014