While the first preseason game isn’t nearly enough of a sample to dissect much from, media members preyed on the morsel they were served. One of the more unique flavors of the appetizer was Darren Sproles, not for dropping a pass on third down, but for even being in position to do so.
Sproles lined up in the backfield almost all of 2014, and seldom played in the receiver spot. The veteran got plenty of looks there on Sunday, and certainly provided a tough matchup for the Colts linebackers. Brian Westbrook, of similar speed, also used to run shallow crosses against linebackers.
With very strong running back depth in front of Sproles, Kelly may end up using the former Charger and Saint as a version of D’Anthony Thomas, who played for Kelly at Oregon as both a back and receiver. Similarly, Sproles may actually get equal reps as a receiver and running back this year, depending on weekly match ups and such.
If Sproles takes so many snaps from the outside, it’s conceivable to think the Eagles could carry four running backs and five receivers this season. This might leave space for a player like Kenjon Barner, who ran back a 93-yard punt return touchdown on Sunday. Raheem Mostert may also have a shot to make the team, having led the Eagles in rushing Sunday.
On another note, the receiving corps played well for the snaps they had. Jordan Matthews had a solid contribution, helping out Mark Sanchez on a high pass. Riley Copper returned a punt and caught a short pass. It was weird that Josh Huff didn’t even receive one target, and running him around without the ball coming his way seemed somewhat pointless. Maybe Kelly could have kept him out a bit longer, but in the grand scheme of things there’s no real significance.
Nelson Agholor made some nice plays and stole the show in the first half, albeit amidst a few dropped passes. Agholor’s drops were “atypical,” as Mike Mayock said on the broadcast. The former Trojan was usually sure handed at USC. Last season, Jordan Matthews faced the exact same problem in the first exhibition game, and went on to have a fine season. Hopefully Agholor displays more reliable hands against the Ravens.
Lastly, Rasheed Bailey has quietly won the hearts of Eagkes fans with his inspiring story and local connection. He has a shot to make the practice squad, but will have to show more on offense and special teams. Another player who needs to show something more is G.J. Kinnie, who seems to have lessened his chances of making the team with his position switch. Hopefully the former quarterback catches a touchdown pass or two, just for the sure entertainment it would provide.