LeSean McCoy has continued to tout this offseason that he is the best running back in the NFL. But with newcomer Darren Sproles on the roster, McCoy may not be exactly the most dangerous person on the field at times.
As the team continues OTA’s and we head into the summer months, Sproles is continuing to find his place in this offense. What is his position on this team? Sproles spoke to team reporters and said “I don’t know, whatever they give me.”
Sproles is coming a new offense that has the similar offensive approach of the New Orleans Saints, “using the pass to help set up the run game”.
Make no mistake, the trade for Sproles it not an attempt to take away touches from McCoy. Rather, he was brought in to be another explosive part to an offense that is already high powered. He will boost the already “high octane offense”, which were ninth in passing, first in rushing and second in total offense in the 2013 season.
During the offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles traded a fifth-round draft pick in March to bring 30 year- old. While he is older, Chip Kelly and Eagles must believe that he still has something left in the tank as he is not an every down back. He has amassed 5,600 yards of offense since coming into the NFL, although he is listed as RB, he plays more like a receiver with 71 receptions and 607 yards compared to the 220 yards from the back field on 53 attempts.
His numbers show he can play, but what will he play? The team is in the process of figuring out exactly what it is he will be doing in their offense. He may be listed as a RB, but like Denard Robinson in Jacksonville, he was listed as an “OW”, or offensive weapon, before he was given a legitimate listing as a RB.
As an “OW”, the one place where Sproles will be most effective is on third downs, because of his ability to catch the passes out of the backfield. Head coach Chip Kelly knows what he has on his hands with the RB. He wants to get him out there and create mismatches, alla, pairing him up with a LB in pass coverage. He understands that he will get over top of a LB in coverage, creating that mismatch that Kelly is looking for in his offense.
McCoy’s threat as an “every down back” will create one on one matchups for Sproles on the outside, thus giving him the chance to display his big play ability. The threat of McCoy running will help stack the box, creating the space for Sproles to run wild.
While McCoy may put the yards up, he may need the attempts to make it happen. Because of McCoy’s big play ability, the big play threat with Sproles becomes even more valuable. Chances of him seeing a lot of mismatches on fewer touches make his value that much more important.