For One Game, Boston Scott Sure Looked Familiar

Ed Kracz

The comparison between running backs Boston Scott and Darren Sproles is obvious because they are that rare breed of NFL player that doesn’t stand taller than 5-feet, 7-inches.

That’s about it, though.

Scott is a little heavier, tipping the scales at just over 200 pounds to Sproles’ 190. Scott has maybe an inch on the 5-6 Sproles, too, and is definitely more jacked, which is saying something because Sproles is built like a fire hydrant.

Scott was a state champion powerlifter at Louisiana’s Zachary High School. Sproles was not.

Sproles is fifth in NFL history in all-purpose yards with 19,696. Scott is not.

“Yeah that's a long shadow,” said Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh on Wednesday.

“It's a natural comparison I think maybe because of their size, their stature. Some of the physical tools that they have are very similar. I would really hesitate to make that comparison based on all the production that Darren has had.”

Sproles used to bring crowds to their feet with his ability to dip and dart like a water bug, and Scott seems to have that same kind of ability.

“He brought an energy, got out there and made people miss,” said Groh. “Made some exciting, loud plays. Got the fans energized and excited, got his teammates excited. He really provided the spark and I think people fed off of that, I really do.”

Scott always talks about the influence Sproles has had on him and continues to have on him, even with Sproles not around the team much after being placed on Injured Reserve last month.

“Just how he approaches the game every single day from what he does from taking care of his body, dietary habits, watching film, how he practices, all those things have been things I’ve watched and looked to implement into my routine on a day-to-day basis,” said Scott. “Just being able to be his teammate and he’s been a mentor to me. He’s held me accountable whenever I have been down about opportunity. Just being around somebody like that, you can’t help but be better.”

The two continue to talk regularly and Scott said, “He’s going to be one of my friends for a long time, probably the rest of my life. He’s always spreading wisdom, giving me advice about my performance and things like that.”

The Eagles don’t have much choice now but to use Scott more, after what he did against the New York Giants on Monday night and the fact that the Eagles have just two other healthy running backs in Miles Sanders and Jay Ajayi. Jordan Howard hasn’t played for more than a month and, as of Wednesday, still has not been cleared for contact due to a shoulder injury.

Scott accounted for 156 total yards and one touchdown against New York. For the season, he has 153 yards rushing, averaging 4.6 yards per carry with two touchdowns. He has added seven catches for 74 yards with 43 yards on six punt returns and 133 yards on six kickoff returns.

“I will say this: When Boston's been given his opportunity, I think he's maximized his opportunities,” said Groh. “And usually when players do that, then they earn more opportunities and they get the chance to get the ball more and they see more playing time and then you can really put a body of work together.”

Groh on Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Vaitai is expected to start at right tackle against the Washington Redskins on Sunday with Lane Johnson out with a high ankle sprain.

“I think we ask a lot of V,” said Groh. “He fills in at a bunch of spots in the line. And kind of an unsung hero, so to speak. And I thought he did really well holding up in there the other night when Lane went down. And he's prepared at right tackle. He's prepared at the guard spots. He's prepared at left tackle. So he's prepared to go in the game when his number's called and we know that he's played really good football for us and we anticipate that he'll be able to continue to do that.

“Guys got a lot of confidence in him. He's got good strength. Understands exactly how we want it done. When he has the opportunity to go out there and practice for a full week knowing that he's going to play I think for anybody, regardless what your job is, there's a certain level of comfort in that as well.”

Groh on Jay Ajayi

Ajayi has been mostly a nonfactor since returning to the team on Nov. 15. In three games he has carried the ball 10 times for 30 yards.

“We're really lucky to have Jay,” said Groh. “We have a lot of confidence in him and his ability to go in there and run with the physical style that he brings. And you've seen him a little bit here sprinkled in and obviously Miles (Sanders) and Boston both had really good nights the other night. So we will continue to utilize all those guys and feel comfortable with all of them.”