This past Sunday, Eagles running back Darren Sproles tore his ACL and broke his arm on the same play. After suffering such a gruesome injury, the Eagles must do their best to replace Sproles’ role in their offense, he has played a vital role in this team’s’ offense so far this season.
Breaking down Colts rookie Nate Hairston
In the first two games, Sproles managed about 60% of the running back duties, which means, he was their preferred running back on the field for the Eagles. He can block, catch and run, there is no wonder why the Eagles preferred to have him on the field rather than LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, and Corey Clement.
Blount, Smallwood and Corey Clement are going to have to carry the load for the Eagles in wake of the Sproles injury. However, yesterday, the Eagles brought in a familiar face, Kenjon Barner, who signed a one-year deal with the team. Barner is a player who can come in and immediately make an impact. Having known the duties on both the offensive side and special teams’ side, expect to see Barner have some role going forward. Barner will most likely be the Eagles new punt and kick returner.
As for the running back position, Smallwood is the running back everyone is expecting to pick up the slack. When Sproles went down injured, the offense snapped the ball 59 times and Smallwood was on the field for 38 of those snaps, including eight of the 11 3rd down snaps. Smallwood is a three-down back, who has the ability to catch the ball.He offers them a lot and seems to fit the offense better than Blount.
However, Blount does offer this team an aspect that no one else in the running back room can offer. His role is a little different than Smallwood’s. Blount is the grinder, he can fight for and get those short yards. He is a goal-line kind of running back, the Eagles need to play to his strengths.
In fact, the Eagles need to use their running backs to all their strengths. A committee of running backs allows the Eagles to sub in different running backs and use them to their advantage. Which means, when there is a certain play the Eagles want to run, they should know what running back should be in there. Unfortunately, a committee sometimes can hurt a team because like in Kansas City, one running back can only have one carry, but for now, that is what the Eagles use.
The Eagles have a unique running back situation because there really is not a true number one running back. Whether it is Smallwood, Blount, Clement and even Barner, the Eagles are going to feed the hot hand. So, going into the game, Smallwood might start, but if Blount catches fire, he will take over.
Knowing that the Eagles should be fine in wake of the Sproles injury, The Eagles have a variety of running backs who offer the team something. All of them can come into this team and make an impact. It is important for all of them to realize that because the Eagles do not have time to reflect on the Sproles injury, the Eagles have a game this Sunday and they need one of these running backs to step up.