Running back Darren Sproles has exceeded all expectations since joining the Saints in free agency. He’s a running back, he’s a reciver, and he’s a return man. All these things he does very well — Reggie Bush who?
Essentially the Saints knew what they where getting with Sproles when they signed him – a multi-purpose replacement for Bush — what they didn’t know was how well he could run inside between the tackles, a welcome and pleasant surprise.
So far this season Sproles has rushed for 201 yards with a 7.4 yard per carry average, caught 39 receptions for 301 yards, accounting for 414 return yards and three total touchdowns.
Last week during the Saints loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sproles disappeared from the offense. He carried the ball only one time for 16 yards, although he maintained his receiving output by catching eight passes for 46 yards.
In the two previous games before facing the Buccaneers Sproles carried the ball eighteen times for 126 yards — averaged 7.6 yards per carry — while helping the Saints offense to an average of 25 points per game. (20 against the Buccaneers).
New Orleans did play from behind most of the game against Tampa, contributing to his lack of rushing production, but moving forward Sproles needs to be more involved in the offense to help take some of the pressure off Drew Brees.
Running back Pierre Thomas gets most of the screen play-calls on the field. He does well, but with Sproles speed and agility he woud be a better option in those type of situations — not many people can tackle him in open space.
Rookie Mark Ingram has had some good runs this season, but is not seeing the field as well as he could averaging just over 3 yards per carry — his reps should be given too Thomas, a much better north/south runner at this time.
Sunday the Saints host the Colts in their first game at the newly names Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Sproles is very familiar with Indianapolis having played in the same division while with the Chargers, and he always has a big game against them, so the Saints need to rest Ingram and let Sproles run wild.