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Darren Sproles On Pace To Set Record

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment

With one game to go in the season, Darren Sproles is on pace to set a new NFL record for most All Purpose Yards (rushing, receiving, returning) in a season. Currently, Sproles is sitting at 2,528 yards – good for 4th best all-time. Former Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens WR Derrick Mason is the current record holder with 2,690 APY, a mark he set in 2000. Here are the top 25 all purpose yard seasons:

As you can see, Sproles is currently averaging 168.5 all purpose yards per game. In order to break the record, Sproles will need to get 163 yards in Sunday’s season finale. Working in Sproles’ favor is that the Saints will need to win in order to secure a 1st round bye and the #2 seed in the NFC – so expect him to get lots of touches. Furthermore, Sproles’ week 17 opponent – the Carolina Panthers – have given up more than 163 APY to 5 different players so far this year: Matt Forte (228 APY), Kevin Smith (201 APY), Chris Johnson (174 APY), Arian Foster (167 APY) and Maurice Jones-Drew (167 APY).

Perhaps the most impressive part of Sproles’ performance this year is the balance between rushing, receiving and returning yards:

Sproles currently has just over 50% of his production from kick/punt returns and about 50% from offense. Only Mack Herron (1974), Terry Metcalf (1975) and Timmy Brown (1963) had a similar type of balance. However, Sproles’ offensive production is more balanced than the others: 22.3% of his yards come from rushing, 26.9% come from receiving. If Sproles manages to break Mason’s record on Sunday, he will cement himself as the best and most balanced all-purpose threat of all time.

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Darren Sproles: Greatest All-Purpose Threat Ever?

October 26, 2011 Leave a comment

A lot of attention has been given to Matt Forte’s torrid start to the year and Wes Welker’s record-shattering pace but there’s another player who is on pace to set a record: Saints RB Darren Sproles. After 7 games, Sproles has piled up a whopping 1,115 all-purpose yards (rushing yards + receiving yards + kick/punt return yards). He’s currently on pace to get 2,549 yards by the end of the year, which would top any other running back in history (and be third all time).  Here are the top 20 All Purpose Yard seasons since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger:

As you can see, it’s mostly a mix of great kick returners (Hall, Mitchell, Washington, Lewis) and great running backs (Sanders, Tomlinson, Faulk). Here are Sproles’ numbers through 7 games, as well as his projected pace over 16 games:

Thus far, Sproles’ yards-per-game pace is fourth best all-time. What’s especially impressive about Sproles’ pace is that he’s on track to get over 500 yards rushing, 500 yards receiving and 1,000 yards returning – something which has never been done. One year wonder Lionel James is the closest; his 1985 season being perhaps the best “all purpose” season in the truest sense of the word. Despite his great 1985 season, James never topped 700 all purpose yards in any of his 4 other seasons.

If the Saints’ diminutive running back can keep up his pace, he could be considered the best “All-Purpose” threat of all-time. To top it off, Sproles is putting up these numbers despite the new kickoff rule. Were kickoffs still at the 30-yard line, Sproles’ numbers would likely be even more impressive.

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