Who’s going to step up in wake of Darren Sproles injury?
26 September 2017 Eagles News
With Darren Sproles out for the year, there is an opportunity for one of the younger running backs to step up and make a mark.
After Sproles went down, the Eagles still snapped the ball 59 times on offense. Wendell Smallwood took the majority of those snaps (38). Smallwood ended the game, carrying the ball 12 times for 71 yards and he caught one pass for nine yards. Other than Smallwood, LeGarrette Blount saw 15 of those snaps and Corey Clement saw six. Blount ended the game carrying the ball 12 times for 67 yards and one touchdown. Clement scored his first career touchdown capping off a six carry, 22-yard performance. All running backs performed very well, by seeing that you might think why is the Sproles injury such a big deal, but here is why.
So far this season, Sproles has handled about 60% of the running back duties. One of these running backs is going to have to step up and take those snaps. Right now, everyone is pointing their finger at Smallwood, who, in a way, is a bigger Sproles. However, Smallwood has struggled pass blocking in games, he has not earned the staff’s full trust. This past Sunday, Smallwood was much better in blitz pickup, so things are looking up for him. He is a shifty and strong running back, but with a guy like Blount on the roster, you need to be a complete running back to dominate the snap count.
Smallwood seems to be the guy the Eagles are going to lean on and for him, these next couple of games are really going to dictate Smallwood’s potential. He is the one player who needs to step up into Sproles’ role. Early on, expect to see Blount with Smallwood rotating in on 3rd down. Then following that, the Eagles will lean on the hot hand.
However, the darkhorse in this is Clement. He looked very good in the short amount of time he had on Sunday. Sometimes when an opportunity is presented an unlikely candidate runs away with it. Definitely keep your eye on Clement here.
When it is all said and done, the Eagles should have no problem using Blount as their primary running back. However, in their offense, they like to use their running back to their advantage and if there is a matchup to expose they will expose it. That is why Smallwood should dominate the snap count, he can run and catch. Regardless, the Eagles need to feed these guys because based off of last week, whoever was running the ball was having success. Someone does need to step up in wake of this injury, but their situation is not that bad after all.
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