Eagles’ Sproles almost forgotten after fast start
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Darren Sproles burst onto the scene in his early appearances with the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, as the season heads down the stretch, Sproles has become almost a forgotten man.
“There have been times where we intend to get him the ball and we can’t for some reason,” Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said.
Sproles averaged 13 touches in the first two games of the season, higher than his average through his nine-year career with San Diego and New Orleans.
But in the last 10 games, one of which he missed with a knee injury, Sproles has a total of 48 touches — 30 carries and 18 catches — for an average of less than five per game.
“You get frustrated, sure,” the soft-spoken Sproles said.
The Eagles have been better when Sproles gets the ball more. In their nine wins this season he averages about 7 1/2 touches; in four losses he has less than three per game.
During the 24-14 loss to Seattle on Sunday he had four carries for no yards and was not thrown a pass.
“We are trying to (get Sproles involved), but I think a lot of times they did some different things,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “They dropped Earl Thomas down a few times to kind of double him.”
Kelly said Sproles’ impact the first few games spurred different coverages designed to stop him.
Sproles said defenses are more aware of him.
“Teams are starting to double me more than they were before and that’s frustrating, too,” he said. “But I’ve seen double teams before. If I’m getting doubled then someone else should be open, right?”
And he needs to be on the field to draw the double coverage.
“It all depends on what’s going on in the game,” Sproles said. “What the defense is doing and how they’re playing me. We’re seeing some man, we’re seeing a lot of cover 3 to stop our middle stuff.”
Sunday, the Eagles play the Cowboys. Sproles had limited success against Dallas two weeks ago.
NOTES: The Eagles signed safety Jerome Couplin off the Detroit Lions practice squad to get back to the 53-man roster limit. Tuesday, cornerback Roc Carmichael was released. Couplin, an undrafted free agent out of William and Mary, played in eight games for the Lions this season before being placed on the practice squad. . Kicker Cody Parkey, who continues to battle a groin injury and running back Chris Polk (ankle) were limited in Wednesday’s practice. Tight end and special teams player Trey Burton, who sat out last week’s game with a hamstring injury, was back at practice. Rookie Josh Huff (hip) was also back at practice.