By Jack Ryan
There’s lots of talk this week about the Eagles’ DeMarco Murray playing against his former team, the dreaded Dallas Cowboys.
And that’s only natural. Murray will undoubtedly have a major role in Sunday’s game, but Dallas should be concerned with stopping all three running backs.
Last week, the Cowboys gave up 99 yards and a touchdown on 99 yards from the likes of Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Andrew Williams and others. Although they gave up under 100 on the ground, Philly’s three-headed monster of Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles provide a bigger challenge this week.
Murray finished with eight carries for nine yards but he also had both a rushing and receiving touchdown on Monday night. Mathews split his action with three carries and three carries to help him earn his rushing touchdown. Both Murray and Mathews have the potential to contribute more, but Sproles will be the most dangerous threat against Dallas.
Last week Shane Vereen caused problems for the Dallas linebackers because of his versatility. Vereen finished three carries for 14 yards, but he was also New York’s leading receiver on the day with 4 catches for 46 yards.
Similar to Vereen, Sproles is a match-up nightmare for defenses due to his versatility. Sproles has the ability to earn hard yards on the ground, catch passes out of the backfield or even line up in the slot.
The Eagles’ second half against the Falcons quickly turned into the Bradford and Sproles show as both players caused problems for Atlanta’s defense. Sproles finished the season-opener with seven catches for 76, making him the team’s second leading receiver on that day. The 32-year-old partnered that with 50 yards on five carries against Atlanta.
Sproles’ ability to make people miss while running the ball, paired with his moves to make linebackers miss on pass patterns makes Sproles a game planning night for defensive coordinators.
Emotions will have the Cowboys anxious to play their former running back turner traitor, but Dallas should really be worried about Sproles on Sunday.