Eagles’ training camp began last week, and during Friday’s practice, things looked a bit different. Veteran running back Miles Sanders spent the day with Philadelphia’s second-team offense, however, not everything is what it seems.
“I don’t know where that came from,” head coach Nick Sirianni stated on Saturday. “Our backs rotate. Those first three backs, Kenny and Miles and Boston, they rotate three plays in and out for the first two sessions of the period. So the period is split into three areas — 1’s, 2’s, 3’s — and those three guys rotate that area.”
RUNNING BACK MILES SANDERS IS “OUR GUY”
Sanders, who is going into the final year of his contract is looking to make more of an impact this season. Last year, the running back missed five games to injury, finishing with 754 rushing yards and zero touchdowns — the lowest of his career. However, he had 5.5 yards per carry — a career-high.
The low stats aren’t Sanders’ fault. Philadelphia began the 2021 season barely running the ball. Fans were angry and wanted to see Sanders get more touches. Unfortunately, that time didn’t come until he returned from his injury. But, whether he’s an integral part of the team or not, is no question.
“Miles is our guy,” Sirianni stated. “So whether it was the way the reps worked out yesterday [Friday], if he was in there more in this particular case? When I saw that (people were reporting it), my thought (was), ‘I don’t think that happened.’ But it just so happened to be the way the numbers worked out a little bit.”
As for Sanders, the second-team reps were just practice, and he wanted to make that formally known. He stated, “Don’t write articles about me being on the second team.” And he hopes that the 2022 season will earn him the respect he deserves.
The lack of respect doesn’t come so much from Philadelphia, but more so, critics around the league. The fixation has been on Sanders’ inability to complete 1,000+ yards per season. But what critics seem to forget is that since entering the NFL in 2019, Sanders ranks third among all running backs with 5.08 yards per carry.
Within the franchise, Sanders is one of three players with 900+ scrimmage yards in each of their first three seasons. He joins LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. He also holds the following records:
- Most rushing yards (818) by a rookie
- Most yards from scrimmage (1,327) by a rookie
- Most all-purpose yards (1,641) by a rookie
This season, Sanders is looking to land a whopping contract extension. As RB1, he has earned the most playing time in front of Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell. If the Eagles plan on repeat robust run game (say that three times fast), Sanders will be the one to get them there.