By Josh Kramer
There is a new running back heading to Bourbon Street to help continue the fireworks that have defined the Saints offense over the past few years. Drew Brees, one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL was not shy in expressing his excitement over the New Orlean’s pick-up today.
Darren Sproles or Reggie Bush? That is the question.
Both backs are extremely similar in style and what they bring to the table. They are both “smaller” speed backs that also pose a threat as a receiver and a return man. They typify what it means to be a multi-purpose running back in this day and age.
Lets take a look at the tale of the tape.
Reggie Bush– Bush came into the League with as much hype as any running back in the past 15 years. And though he never panned out (at least not yet), it is safe to say that his time in New Orleans was a success. The Saints won a Super Bowl and made the playoffs three times during his five-year stay. For any team not from New England or Indianapolis, that is an impressive feat. And though Bush never even hit 600 yards rushing in a season, he averaged four yards a carry and put up 17 rushing TDs. It should also be noted that Bush only played 16 games once during his Saints tenure (missed 20 regular season games). Bush was a major threat as a receiver during all five of his years playing alongside Drew Brees. He caught 34 or more passes each year, and caught an astounding 88 as a rookie. Plus he caught 12 TD passes. Lastly, as a return man, he produced four scores.
Darren Sproles-Sproles has spent all five of his years in the NFL playing for the San Diego Chargers. Three of those years have resulted in playoff appearances. As a rusher, Sproles has averaged 4.6 yards a carry and scored six TDs. Though it should be noted that he has only missed two games in five years. As a receiving threat, Sproles has only gone for over 30 catches two times, with a career high of 59 last season. Though he has caught an impressive 11 touchdown passes. Lastly, as a return man, he has taken it to the house on two different occasions.
Verdict-So strictly from the numbers, Bush appears to have a heavy edge. Though it should be noted that the majority of Reggie’s success occurred in his first two seasons in the League. Darren has never been presented the opportunities that Reggie has. Heading to New Orleans, Darren will have a chance to make more of an impact than he did in San Diego despite a heavily crowded backfield at the moment. Both the Chargers and Saints have lived and died on the pass for years now. This is to be expected considering Philip Rivers and Drew Brees are two of the game’s elite quarterbacks. The Saints though ranked near the bottom of the League in rushing last year. San Diego was a middle of the road rushing team.
New Orleans is coming out better than they came in due to a couple of key items. Number one, Sproles does not have a case of “injuryitis.” Hopefully I did not just jinx the former Kansas State speedster. He has remained relatively healthy over the duration of his career while Bush has struggled to stay on the field. In addition, Sproles already has a bond with Drew Brees from their year spent together in San Diego. Though short-lived, the two seemed to have really developed a liking for each other. Next, Sproles does not have a case of the fumbles. Bush has fumbled on 14 different occasions in his career. Sproles has fumbled just twice. Lastly, Sproles seems to have a hungrier attitude. Reggie’s injuries have without question discouraged him, with the drafting of Alabama’s Mark Ingram putting him over the edge. Sure he has taken back what he said via the Twitter airwaves on draft night, but that does not mean his feelings have actually changed.
This has been a good off-season for both Bush and the Saints thus far. I give the edge to Sproles as a fit in New Orleans though. The speedster should fit perfectly into Payton’s offensive scheme.
The Saints have received an upgrade in acquiring Darren Sproles.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.