Eagles may be missing Sproles, Gibson on Sunday

Ed Benkin
September 13, 2018 - 8:25 pm
 Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) hands off to running back Darren Sproles (43) during the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field Sept. 6, 2018.

© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Despite a win over the Falcons, the Eagles know their offense has to perform better going forward.  

But they may have to go forward without two of their skill players on Sunday.

Running back Darren Sproles and wide receiver Shelton Gibson both missed practice on Thursday after being limited in Wednesday's workout. Sproles is dealing with a hamstring issue while Gibson has been bothered by a knee problem.  

With both missing practice, the chances of Sproles and Gibson playing against the Buccaneers on Sunday are decreasing. Running back Corey Clement is preparing for a heavier workload on Sunday if Sproles is on the sidelines.

"You always want the most touches you can possibly get," said Clement. "We're surrounded by so many great players here on this offense. In the NFL, chances don't really come around often, but you've got to make the most of it and just be prepared."

Sproles had only 32 combined yards from scrimmage against the Falcons, while Gibson did not catch a pass. They were, however, key contributors on special teams. Gibson totaled 43 yards on two kick returns, while Sproles had three punt returns for 29 yards.  

Clement said he is ready to add special teams work to his list of duties on Sunday, and he's ready to get plenty of return work against Tampa Bay.

"I'll be a running back on punt returns and kick returns," Clement said. "I'll see it as I go. It's a feel. It's natural. You see a hole and hit a hole and see it as a run play."

Sunday will also be the first chance for the Eagles to play on the road this season. Clement and company will not only have to take on a heavier workload on offense, but also deal with hostile crowd noise after enjoying the comforts of Lincoln Financial Field in their opener.  

Fellow running back Jay Ajayi is looking forward to playing in Florida.

"It will be good for us to get a good away game early against a good team," said Ajayi. "It's good to get that road warrior mentality of being able to carry that same execution and mindset. We're not in front of our home stadium where it's loud. Obviously, it's going to be good for us being in a tough environment and being able to overcome that."

Whether the Eagles can overcome the potential absence of Sproles and Gibson remains to be seen. The offense will be going against a Tampa Bay defense that gave up 40 points in New Orleans last Sunday. 

The Eagles are hoping their defense will contain a Tampa offense, which put up 48 points against the Saints, but Clement and his offensive teammates are not taking the Tampa Bay defense lightly.

"They're a sound football team," Clement added. "They did a great job against the New Orleans Saints. You've got to prepare for them in way to almost beat them at their own punch. It's going to be good competition. I can't wait to be out there. We'll just try to put some points on the board and just have some fun out there."