What are the Philadelphia Eagles doing with Miles Sanders?
When the Philadelphia Eagles selected Miles Sanders in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the hope was that he would be the lead running back of the future for the Eagles. After splitting the work load through the first half of his rookie season with Jordan Howard, Sanders got a taste of what an every down running back would be like the second half of the year.
He finished his rookie year strong, and the expectations were sky high for Sanders coming into 2020. There were even thoughts that he could enter himself in the MVP discussion.
So far, in 2020, expectations have not yet met reality with Sanders. This is not due to Sanders underperforming, rather, he is not getting enough opportunities to show off his talent.
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Sanders was banged up throughout training camp with a nagging hamstring injury that eventually led to him sitting out of the Philadelphia Eagles Week 1 matchup with the Washington Football Team. He made his 2020 debut in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams and showcased early what he can do. After an early first quarter fumble on one of his first touches, Sanders finished the game with 20 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown. He also added 3 catches for 36 yards. Not bad for a season debut.
Since this game, however, his touches have gone down.
In the Week 3 tie against the Cincinnati Bengals, one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, Sanders had 18 carries for 95 yards and 4 catches for 12 yards.
In the Week 4 win against the San Francisco 49ers, Sanders had 13 carries for 46 yards and 2 catches for 30 yards.
After seeing his workload decrease every game so far, questions quickly circled around as to what is wrong with Sanders. Head coach Doug Pederson said after Week 3 that Sanders was dealing with some fatigue issues and that is why his touches were that low.
Late in the 49ers game, Pederson elected to have Corey Clement and Boston Scott take carries in trying to run the clock out during their last possession. Asked about this decision, Pederson said there was no injury or fatigue issue with Sanders. Rather, he chose to feature those two due to the package they put on the field.
Questionable decision and reasoning behind it, which still leads us to wonder what they are doing with Sanders. He is arguably the best skill position player the Philadelphia Eagles have right now, and they are not maximizing his skill set. Until we know if there is really something wrong with Sanders, there is no reason he should not be used as a true number one running back.
To say Sanders needs to get the ball more is an understatement. In an offense where the Philadelphia Eagles are without skill position players DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Reagor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Dallas Goedert, somebody has to take on a significantly bigger workload. And that somebody is Sanders. We’ve seen what he can do as a feature back and everything he brings to the Eagles offense.
It’s this simple: let Miles Sanders loose.