The Eagles waived wide receiver/return specialist DeAndre Carter on Tuesday and they are showing the signs that we’re probably not far from seeing Darren Sproles back on the field. Sproles has been missed and you can understand why. The little guy is probably a future Hall of Famer. He had been such a valuable player to the Eagles while he’s been here but he’s been on the shelf most of the year because of a hamstring injury. I think we can expect him back on the field in the next couple of weeks. I don’t think the Eagles would be releasing Carter, if they didn’t expect Sproles back very soon.
You might ask why is his return such a big deal. First of all, he’s great at running routes out of the backfield. He’s outstanding in the screen game, as well as in the art of picking up blitzes. Wendell Smallwood has been awful at picking up blitzes and it has hurt the Birds on third down. Smallwood did a nice job on screens but he got Carson Wentz hammered numerous times because of poor execution on blitz pickup.
Little Darren Sproles can flat out put a hurting on blitzers. In everyday he can get it done on third down, whether you’re talking about beating a linebacker or defensive back on an option route or getting deep on a seam route down the middle of the field. So the Birds would love to have him back out there and they want him returning and punts.
He’s one of the best to ever do it in those respective areas as a punt/kick returner and on third down running routes out of the backfield. If for some reason Sproles is unable to go this week, you can expect to see the newly acquired Golden Tate back out there returning punts. He can definitely step in that role with confidence. Tate has been a punt return for most of his career.
I can’t say I know exactly how it’s going to be done, but some way or another the release of Carter let you know that they are expecting the return of Darren Sproles. They need him for the stretch run with the playoffs insight. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson knows that hey need productivity on third downs. In playoff football it is very important that you stay on the field on third downs because you wear out the opposing defense.