Running back Darren Sproles set the NFL single-season record with 2,696 combined yards, including 1,313 total yards from scrimmage, in his first season with the New Orleans Saints. Sproles had a team-high 603 rushing yards with two touchdowns, caught 86 passes for 710 yards with seven touchdowns, was second in the NFL with 1,089 kick-return yards and was one of 12 players to return a punt for a touchdown in 2011.
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"I've just got to work on getting better," Sproles said last week. "There was some stuff that I wasn't good at, that's what I'm working on right now."
At just under 43 percent, Sproles had the highest playing-time percentage among Saints running backs last season. That was largely due to 2010 leading rusher Chris Ivory opening the season on the physically unable to perform list and 2011 first-round pick Mark Ingram missing six games with a toe injury that required surgery during the offseason.
With Ingram and Ivory expected back, Sproles likely will be the third-down back he believed he was signed to a four-year, $14 million contract to be, but he's still looking to improve upon certain things in case his number gets called on a regular basis again.
"It's like, my role was to come in and catch passes," Sproles said. "What I need to work on is more running the ball, like the hard-nosed runners ... I only had certain types of runs, and I want to go in and run power (plays) sometimes. That will keep the defense honest."