Sproles injury costly for hopeful Eagles

The small and shifty running back will be lost for the season, sending the Eagles scrambling to find a suitable replacement.

Joey Hess
Staff Writer

Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles is out for the remainder of the season after he suffered a torn ACL and a broken arm early in the second quarter during the eagles 27-24 win over the New York Giants.

Sproles went down after Giants safety Darian Thompson came in awkwardly on a tackle on a hand-off from Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Sproles walked off the field after the play. However, Sproles’ will not return for the remainder of the 2017 season, and with the 34-year-old already considering retirement, this injury could mean the end of his career.

Moving forward, Wendell Smallwood, and Corey Clement are expected to have a bigger role in the Eagles’ offense in addition to LeGarrette Blount. Blount had the bulk of the carries in the Eagles week four win over the Los Angeles Chargers with 16 attempts, but Smallwood and Clement each had 10 carries combined for 64 yards with Smallwood reaching the end zone. In addition to his 64 yards rushing, Smallwood caught four passes for 45 yards. Eagles fans can expect all three backs to keep receiving the ball, but it looks as if Blount and Smallwood will be the top guys in the backfield with Blount receiving the majority of the carries while Smallwood will have the majority of the receptions in addition to his weekly amount of carries.

Smallwood’s productivity has already increased immensely since the beginning of the season. In the first two weeks of the season, Smallwood only received the ball a total of nine times for an underwhelming 10 yards. Smallwood doubled his total of touches the past two weeks since the injury to Sproles. He was handed the ball a combined total of 22 times for 105 yards in weeks three and four. Heading into week five, Smallwood is expected to keep up this productivity in addition to support from both Blount and Clement.

As for Clement, he also played a larger role in the Eagles’ offense over the past two weeks. After not receiving ball at all after the first two weeks of the season, Clement has since had 16 carries for 52 yards over the span of two games. Clement will be a force within the Eagles’ offense with the absence of Sproles. The rookie will fill the role as the third string running back behind an experienced veteran and a thriving young rusher.

Sproles’ absence hurts the team in ways more than one. Not only do the Eagles lose a veteran running back, but also their number one punt returner. The Eagles re-signed Kenjon Barner to fill the empty hole in their special teams. He was called on to be the new return man and will fit the role accordingly considering this isn’t his first go around as an Eagle.

The Eagles are currently in first place in the NFC East and looking to make adjustments to continue the success without Sproles. Between Blount and Smallwood, it is safe to say the Eagles backfield is in good hands as they return home for their week five matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

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