Eagles

Doug Pederson considers making Darren Sproles Eagles' primary back

Doug Pederson considers making Darren Sproles Eagles' primary back

Doug Pederson said Monday he’s considering replacing Ryan Mathews with 33-year-old Darren Sproles as the Eagles’ primary running back.

Pederson said he's evaluating how to proceed at the running back spot, which has been somewhat muddled for the Eagles this year.

Asked whether Sproles will be the Eagles’ featured back moving forward, Pederson sure sounded like he was leaning that way. Or at least seriously considering it.

“I can't say that 100 percent,” he said. “It's something we'll evaluate in these next couple of days and make that determination. 

“But until then, it's still Ryan Mathews and then Darren in those situations. And then we've got to get Wendell [Smallwood] and Kenjon [Barner] going a little bit, too.”

Mathews, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher and a Pro Bowler in 2011, leads the Eagles with 71 carries and 272 rushing yards but got only four carries on eight snaps in the loss to Dallas on Sunday night. 

Sproles ran for 86 yards on 15 carries — his most carries since 2009 and his most rushing yards since 2011.

Sproles is now averaging 5.0 yards per carry and also has 22 catches for 227 yards.

Mathews has four rushing touchdowns this year but is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry and is the only NFL running back with two fourth-quarter fumbles this year.

Pederson said his decision to elevate Sproles over Mathews was not related to Mathews’ fumbles.

“It wasn't a reaction,” he said. “I just think that Darren had the hot hand [Sunday]. Darren was playing outstanding, and he was doing some great things out there. So, just wanted to keep Darren in the game.”

Sproles is on pace for 105 carries, which would be a career high in his 10th NFL season.

No running back in NFL history has ever reached 100 carries for the first time at 33 or older.

With nine games to go, Sproles’ 81 touches are already the fifth most in Eagles history by a player 33 or older, and his 455 yards from scrimmage are third most.

Sproles is on pace for 1,040 yards from scrimmage this year. Only nine backs 33 or older have been over 1,000.

Pederson said he’s not concerned with overusing Sproles, who has had double-digit carries in only 10 of his 169 career games.

“I definitely think he's capable,” Pederson said. “I think you don't want to give him any more than what he got [Sunday], with his role on special teams and all that, too. 

“If you know Darren like I know Darren, the way he works during the week and the way he prepares himself and prepares his body and mind, he's definitely capable of handling that type of load.”

Smallwood is averaging 3.8 yards on 29 carries but fumbled on his only carry Sunday night. Barner is averaging 5.3 yards per carry on 19 attempts but has only five carries since the bye.

The Eagles and Panthers are the only teams with four backs that have at least 19 carries.

Eagles at Saints live: Score, highlights, analysis from NFL Week 11 game

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Eagles at Saints live: Score, highlights, analysis from NFL Week 11 game

3:50 p.m.: The Cowboys got a 42-yard field goal at the buzzer to take down the Atlanta Falcons and move to 5-5 on the season. That means the Eagles need to win today to keep pace. 

Meanwhile, in New Orleans, they’re getting ready to face this guy. 

2:59 p.m.: Eagles inactive are out: 

2:29 p.m.: Washington was about to take a lead at the end of the half, but Alex Smith threw a 101-yard pick-6 and the Texans extended their lead. It’s 17-7 at halftime. In Atlanta, the Falcons are clinging to a 6-3 lead over the Cowboys. 

1:40 p.m.: Keep an eye on the game in Washington. The Texans have a 10-0 lead after one quarter. The Eagles can use all the help they can get in the NFC East. 

1:15 p.m.: After about a half hour of trying to figure out how to get in the Superdome and then how to get up to the press box, I have finally arrived. This is my first trip to the Superdome. First impressions, it’s kind of a dump, but also kinda cool. I’m looking forward to seeing how loud this place gets in a few hours. 

10:53 a.m.: Good morning, everyone. It’s game day! And it’s a big one for the Eagles. I’m getting ready to walk to the Superdome from my hotel and we’ll follow this entire game day together. 

For what it’s worth, I was out about town last night and saw a ton of Eagles fans. Another big showing from Eagles fans in another city. We’ve seen that on every trip this year. I think it was a perfect storm for it. The Eagles are coming off a Super Bowl and have a tremendous road schedule. A lot of good options for fans and they’re making the most of these trips. 

Be sure to watch Eagles Pregame Live at 3 p.m. and tune in after the game for our complete breakdown on Eagles Postgame Live. 

Redskins lose Alex Smith to gruesome ankle injury against Texans

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Redskins lose Alex Smith to gruesome ankle injury against Texans

NEW ORLEANS — As the Eagles get ready to play the Saints in the Superdome, their biggest competition in the NFC East lost its quarterback. 

In the third quarter of Washington’s game against the Texans, Alex Smith went down with a gruesome ankle injury. He needed to be carted off the field. 

Washington carries just two quarterbacks, so Colt McCoy is now their starting quarterback unless they make a move next week. McCoy hasn’t made a start since the 2014 season, but it looks like it might be his team from here on out. 

Through nine games, Washington built a 6-3 record, but are losing to the Texans and are now without their starting quarterback. The Eagles are going to have every chance to get back into this division race. 

The Eagles and Redskins play on Monday Night Football at the Linc on Dec. 3. It’s the first of their two matchups. They also play in Washington in the regular season finale. 

 

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