Intriguing takes emerge regarding Eagles RB Miles Sanders and his value
Other than an occasional mention of this being the final year of Miles Sanders‘ rookie deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s been a quiet offseason for the former Penn State Nittany Lions standout. At least that was the case up until about a week or so ago.
Perhaps you’ve heard, but Miles said something in reference to how excited he was about Philly’s offensive potential, and the world went bananas. Now, it has to be mentioned that there was some overreaction. Only the first half of his comment was focused on, but no one should be surprised that said statement brought up some bad memories for Eagles Nation. Hopefully, we’re past all of that now.
The most important narratives surrounding the man affectionately known as ‘Boobie’ are as follows (or at least they should be):
- Philly needs for this to be a bounceback season. Miles never reached the end zone in 2021.
- Miles needs for this to be a bounceback season. Again, he’s playing for a new deal.
- In order for that bounceback to happen, he’ll need more than 137 carries and 34 targets in the passing game.
- Much of his success (and usage) hinges on his ability to stay healthy.
26 touched on all of this during a recent appearance on John Clark’s Takeoff podcast. Have a look.
Here are a few intriguing takes on Miles Sanders’ value to the Eagles’ offense.
They say availability is a skill. Perhaps, truer words have never been spoken, but there are two sides to every coin. One is as follows.
Yes, when healthy, Miles Sanders can be one of the scariest and most explosive weapons in the Eagles’ offense. Since 2019, his 5.1 yards-per-carry average ranks as the third-best in pro football among tailbacks with 400 carries or more. That puts him ahead of both Derrick Henry (5.0) AND Aaron Jones (4.9). Nick Chubb and Jonathan Taylor are tied for first with a 5.3 yards-per-carry average.
The other argument is this. There was no excuse for the way he was ignored in the Eagles’ offensive gameplan early in last year’s regular season. He notched two carries in Philadelphia’s first meeting with the Dallas Cowboys. He tallied seven in an early game versus the Chiefs, but when he saw the ball more often, bad luck and injuries were a byproduct.
Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice puts it best in one of his recent stories:
"It’s also worth noting that on three occasions in which the Eagles ramped up his carries, Sanders got hurt. Against the Raiders in Week 7, the Eagles came out running. Five of the first seven plays of the game were Sanders runs. After his sixth run, he was carted off the field with an ankle injury and he missed the next three games."
That’s scary. Unfortunately, as Kempski notes, things didn’t stop there.
"After his return later in the season, Sanders got 16 carries against the Saints. The next week in a loss to the Giants, he injured his ankle again and had to come out of the game. Sanders didn’t miss any games after his second ankle injury of the season. He got 24 carries against the Jets and 18 carries against Washington in the two subsequent games. However, he went down with a broken hand in the second quarter (of Week 16s game) against the Giants. He also missed four games in 2020. So it’s not just that Sanders needs to be more consistent. He has also had some durability concerns, and the team needs to be smart about his usage."
Let’s be honest. We’ve seen enough of Sanders to know that he can ball. He’s a threat to score on any touch and from anywhere on the field. He’s without question one of the game’s most talented running backs, but he could improve as a receiver and in pass protection.
SI.com’s Ed Kracz ranks him as the 16th-best player on Philadelphia’s roster. For his career, he’s appeared in 40 career regular-season games with 34 starts. That’s resulted in 2,439 yards and nine touchdowns on 480 career rushing attempts in addition to 864 receiving yards with three other trips to the end zone on 104 career receptions.
Much will be learned in 2022. He has a ton of money riding on how things turn out. He has the talent to bounce back. Let’s hope his body doesn’t fail him.
In an offense featuring DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, Quez Watkins, and Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia’s ultra-talented tailback committee (Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell) can put up some monstrous numbers during the coming NFL campaign.