New Orleans Saints Training Camp Profile: Darren Sproles

By Thomas Emerick
Darren Sproles
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Sproles remains the league’s ultimate outlet. It’s amazing how much worse off this offense became in the times Sproles sat injured during the Sean Payton-less 2012 campaign. Whenever Drew Brees struggled to crack the code of an opposing defense, it the New Orleans Saints would lean heavily on Sproles when healthy enough: collecting a series of dumpoffs, screens and other dink-and-dunking to turn hopeless plays into moving the chains.

Sproles would miss three games and be hampered in several other contests last season, yet incredibly still neared his 2011 receiving yards total (710-667) and equaled his touchdowns total with seven. Even with slew of goal-line — or meant to be goal-line backs — like Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory — New Orleans grew quite fond if hitting Sproles for a short pass in those situations.

Despite defenses hone on him with Jimmy Graham out, Sproles tied his career-high for receiving touchdowns and grew into a bona-fide redzone threat. Now the Saints must get back to utilizing him better on the rest of the field.

“We knew last year, that wasn’t the kind of year that we wanted. So we’ll try to get better this year,” Sproles said, via The New Orleans Times-Picayune. “And it helps that (Payton) is here.”

Sproles’ rushing and overall totals might not have matched his incredible 2011 mark, but I imagine Payton will be able to solve the bracket coverage defenses were throwing at Sproles last year. A healthy Graham helps plenty too.

“When they got two guys on you, you can’t really do too much, you know what I’m saying? You can’t break in, you can’t break out. You just gotta sit in that coverage,” Sproles said. “We’ve just gotta find some way to kind of break them coverages. … But you pretty much gotta do what the defense gives you. Like if I’m getting doubled, then Jimmy or Lance (Moore) is one on one. That’s just how it is.”

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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