Doug Pederson: Darren Sproles ‘is the No. 1 back right now’

The Philadelphia Eagles don’t exactly have a glut of talent at the running back position. This is all the more evident in light of head coach Doug Pederson naming 33-year-old scatback Darren Sproles the team’s No. 1 back on Monday.

Behind Sproles right now is oft-injured Ryan Mathews, Kenjon Barner and rookie Wendell Smallwood.

Mathews has never lived up to his billing as a first-round pick. He’s averaged just 3.8 yards per carry this year but has shown value around the goal line with five touchdowns.

By comparison, Sproles is gaining 4.8 yards per carry and is a much better receiving option on passing downs.

The past two games, the diminutive veteran has touched the ball 36 times for 174 yards. He’s become one of the favorite targets of rookie passer Carson Wentz, with 25 receptions on the season, which is the second-most of all Philadelphia players.

That Pederson is leaning on Sproles right now is understandable. But it also highlights one of the biggest deficiencies on Philadelphia’s offense. Unlike what we’ve seen in Dallas, with Ezekiel Elliott helping Dak Prescott with consistent production, the Eagles are hamstrung at the running back position right now.