The danger of too much Darren Sproles

The danger of too much Darren Sproles

Darren Sproles had 16 touches in the Redskins game Sunday.

He’s 36 years old.

To put that in perspective, it had been 13 years since an NFL running back 36 or older had 16 touches … in a SEASON.

Sproles got nine carries, caught three passes, returned four punts. 

The last time a running back 36 years old got that kind of workload in a single game it was Hall of Famer Marcus Allen in 1997.

Sproles was effective Sunday -- 9-for-47 rushing, 3-for-16 receiving and 4-for-46 on punt returns.

But it's too much.

There's no way 16 touches a week is sustainable for Sproles, who missed most of the 2017 season with a broken arm and torn ACL and missed most of last year with a lingering hamstring injury.

Jordan Howard had eight touches (for 58 yards) and rookie Miles Sanders 12 touches (for 27 yards). Corey Clement didn’t have any.

So Sproles wound up with only four fewer touches than Howard, Sanders and Clement combined.

Pederson acknowledged that he has to keep an eye on Sproles’ touches moving forward but doesn’t think it was a mistake to use Sproles that much Sunday.

We always are going to monitor that each week,” he said Wednesday. “(It’s) kind of how our game plan fell with the running backs a little bit. We still want to keep him involved as best we can, but at the same time we want to make sure that Miles and Jordan — because they're both younger backs -- are good and keep that rotation solid, along with Corey.

Some more notes on Sproles’ opening-day performance (from Pro Football Reference):

• Only four other running backs in NFL history have ever had 109 all-purpose yards in a game after their 36th birthday: MacArthur Lane of the Chiefs in 1978, Hall of Famer John Riggins twice in 1985, Allen once in 1996 and Fred McAfee of the Saints twice in 2005.

• The last player 36 years old with four punt returns in a game was Troy Brown of the Patriots in 2007. 

• The last time a running back Sproles’ age had 16 touches in a game was Allen in 1997. 

• The last time a running back Sproles’ age had 47 rushing yards in a game was 2004, when McAfee ran 53 yards on a fake punt.    

The last time the Eagles saw a healthy Sproles in the postseason he was returning an Alex Henery kickoff 39 yards and getting horse collared by Cary Williams to help the Saints record a last-second wild-card win at the Linc in 2013.

He didn’t play in the 2017 playoffs and clearly wasn’t himself in the postseason last year, with 16 carries for 25 yards, five catches for 35 yards and a punt return for minus-one yard.

His 16 touches Sunday actually matched the 12th-most of his career, and he’s played 178 games.

Pederson has used Sproles too much in the past. And you can understand why. 

It's tempting. He’s an explosive guy, he never fumbles, he's always in the right place, and Doug knows he can break a game open at any point.

But there’s also a point of diminishing returns with Sproles. The more he plays, the less he’ll likely be able to help you in the long run. And the Eagles need a healthy, productive Sproles in December and January.

Right now, this is a case of less is more, and Pederson needs to understand that.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

More on the Eagles