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5 Things: What Makes Sproles Special


This is going to be a lunchtime edition of 5 Things to Know after the Eagles signed running back/return specialist Darren Sproles to a one-year contract extension on Friday morning. Practice for the day is already in the books, so here's a quick review of what you might have missed and what to look forward to.

Don't forget, if you need your fix of live Eagles football make sure to check out the Open Practice at Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday.

1. What Makes Darren Sproles Special

Darren Sproles was acquired by the Eagles for a fifth-round pick in 2014. Since then, he has only gone on to earn the first two Pro Bowl appearances of his career, while scoring 14 total touchdowns.

He enters his 12th NFL season in 2016 and running backs coach Duce Staley doesn't think Sproles has lost a step.

"A lot of the fans see what he does on Sundays and on Monday nights, but I get to see him every day and I see all the work he puts in and the attention to detail he has for the little things," Staley said. "He's special and has been for 12 years. He makes up for a lack of size in many ways. And from a defensive standpoint, you can't hit what you can't see. You have offensive linemen who are 6-5, 6-6 and then here comes Sproles and you can't find him. He's been using that as a strength for his whole career.

"He's super quick. It's amazing for him to be in his 12th year and, in my opinion, he hasn't lost a step. He takes care of his body. He does everything right and you see it on the field. I'm telling you, he's going to go down in history as one of the best to ever play the position with that size, height and weight."

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich hinted at a potentially bigger role for Sproles in 2016.

"You've seen what he's done in his career. He's a dynamic football player and you want to get creative and get the football in his hands," Reich said. "He's going to help us in a lot of ways."

2. Jon Dorenbos Is Truly Magic

Before Thursday's first full-team practice, the Eagles offered the Secret Service a tour of the NovaCare Complex as a thank you for all the work that it has done while the Democratic National Convention was taking place a mile down Pattison Avenue in South Philadelphia.

When the Secret Service went to check out the locker room, long snapper Jon Dorenbos saw the group and wasted no time doing a card trick involving the agents.

Dorenbos has become a national star for his performances on America's Got Talent. Along the way, he's been an ambassador for the Eagles and the City of Philadelphia.

"I've played for this team for a long time and I want to win more than anything," Dorenbos said. "It's really cool that the team had my back and the players, the fans. I can't thank you enough. It's so, so cool. Nothing gives me more pride than to represent Philly as an Eagle on the stage in Dolby Theatre."

3. Will The Offense Have The Reich Stuff?

Frank Reich has been on the other sideline across from Doug Pederson six times over the past three seasons as their former teams, the Chargers and the Chiefs, respectively, continued their AFC West rivalry. Now together in Philadelphia, Reich has enjoyed learning an offense that gave the Chargers their fair share of headaches.

"This West Coast hybrid system has a very long winning track record, but how it's adapted in the running game now with some of the zone-read stuff and all the different ways you can scheme wide receiver throws when you get a heavy box, I think that's what Doug did really well in Kansas City," Reich said.

"I never realized how much you can get out of some of those things in the running game until I got here, watched his tape talked to him about what he's thinking and how they're reading it, so it's been a really good thing for me as a coach, learning from him how they've done that."

Check out Alex Smith's full piece on Reich's remarks, which includes an interesting X-factor to watch in 2016.

4. Peters Due For A Vintage Season

Dave Spadaro lays out a convincing argument that tackle Jason Peters is one of the Most Important Eagles in 2016. No disagreement, here. The eight-time Pro Bowl selection and future Hall of Fame candidate is up to 345 pounds to play in an offense that should help the veteran in many ways.

"It was rough, especially when teams caught on to what we were doing," Peters said of last season. "They're switching out players. Thirteen plays in, 11 plays in, they've got a fresh defensive end coming. A couple of times I got beat last year – and I'm not blaming that – (there were) fresh guys out there. There were a lot of plays, 60 plays sometimes by halftime. It was rough."

Peters battled injury in 2015, but said that he has "gas in my tank." His coaches agree.

"He's got it in him," Reich said. "You see it every day in practice with the way he works and the way he moves. He's the total package at left tackle."

5. Coaches Helping Bradford Settle Into New Offense

Another year, another offense for quarterback Sam Bradford. While there are some similarities to what Bradford has learned earlier in his career, there are still some changes when it comes to language. Bradford said one thing that has aided this learning process is the coaching staff led by Doug Pederson, a former NFL quarterback and offensive coordinator, along with Reich, also a former quarterback and coordinator, and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, also a former offensive coordinator.

"One of the first things I noticed sitting in the spring with those guys is just the wealth of knowledge that we have in that room and how nice it is to have three guys who really understand the position," Bradford said. "They are guys who have called plays and who understand the flow of the game, how an offense should kind of feel throughout the course of the game. ... It's stood out to me and it's nice to have all of those guys around."

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