No, Darren Sproles Isn't Washed Up

When the Eagles needed a conversion on 3rd-and-8 during their game-winning drive Week 1, Nick Foles found Darren Sproles for nine yards.

That scoring drive to sink the Falcons began with a Sproles punt return that net 27 yards - 12 on the runback and 15 for the desperation facemask - to give the Eagles excellent starting field position at their own 46.

Sproles added another six-yard reception on the drive, giving him three all-purpose touches that net the Eagles 44 yards on that possession. No two ways about it. He played a huge role in the victory.

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Yet, believe it or not, there are people - Eagles fans, allegedly - on talk radio and social media saying Sproles will not be missed while he's out with a hamstring injury Week 2 against the Buccaneers. Some are going so far as to suggest the 35-year-old back might be or is washed up.

I'm not sure what game those folks were watching last week, but they obviously weren't paying close attention on that final drive.

In all, Sproles finished the opener with a ho-hum stat line - five carries for 10 yards, four receptions for 22 yards on seven targets and three punt returns for 29 yards. His longest play was the 12-yard return.

It was also Sproles' first touches in an NFL game including preseason since Sept. 24, 2017 after suffering a broken forearm and torn ACL. Think he might've been a little rusty?

The Eagles' offense wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders at the outset, either. Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement combined for five first-half carries for 12 yards, only slightly better than Sproles' four for five yards. (He had one attempt for five yards to their 15 for 76 in the second half.) Nelson Agholor, a wide receiver, finished with a lower average per reception (4.1) than Sproles, a running back, by nearly a yard-and-a-half (5.5).

Based on the eye test, Sproles looked like his old self in training camp. He flashed familiar quickness and burst against the Falcons, but had limited space. He looked fine prior to the injury in 2017, averaging 4.1 yards on the ground, 10.4 through the air and 9.7 on returns - all in line with career numbers. His last full season was 4.7/8.2/13.2.

So, if Sproles is indeed washed up, I'm going to need to see a lot more than one game to prove it. It will also need to be a game where the rest of the offense looked stellar. Finally, it should probably be a game where Sproles didn't make three big plays on the decisive drive.

Because as of right now, there is no real evidence Sproles is slowing down, and certainly nothing positive to take away from his absence this Sunday.

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