Miles Sanders is having another low-mileage season for the Eagles
Maybe Miles Sanders could have helped the Eagles in Green Bay. We’ll never know.
The Eagles second-year running back carried the ball five times in the first series at Lambeau Field on Sunday. The next time he saw the ball was the second Eagles offensive play of the third quarter.
He didn’t see the ball again until Jalen Hurts, replacing franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, entered the game for good. Sanders only carried it four more times in the 30-16 loss.
“At the time, just where we were as an offense, we needed a spark,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “We needed something to go our way. I decided to put Jalen into the game.”
Sanders entered the game as, far and away, the best offensive player on the team. In fact, he was also the among the most effective running backs in the game. If only he got the ball. A lot.
The consequences of not leaning in on the team’s most consistent, most potent threat this year are clearly evident.
Wentz has had his confidence shaken. He’s been asked to do too much. He’s been benched in favor of the second-round draft pick, Hurts.
Sanders provided some spark in the first series. At the very least, he provided an option other than the struggling Wentz. Especially while the game was still close.
After that first series, Boston Scott reeled off a 6-yard run and Jordan Howard had a 12-yard run.
Howard returned to the Eagles Sunday after a brief stint in Miami. The big question is why? Howard’s four carries for 19 yards were four carries Sanders might have done more with.
Howard is an insurance policy in case Sanders were to get hurt. Sanders missed the opener with a sore hamstring and missed two other games with knee issues.
“We’ve had a lot of things this year,” Wentz said. “First and foremost, I have to be better. I’ve watched the film every single week. I know that there are plays where I can be better.”
Wentz is one of the few players who speaks with the media each week, more than ever because of COVID limitations. Wentz typically deflects any possible criticisms he has onto himself. Sanders, when given the chance to speak, is exactly the same way.
Between Sanders’ fifth and sixth carries, the Eagles went from a 3-point lead to an 11-point deficit. They trailed by 17 when Sanders got his next carry.
Sanders finished with just 10 carries and 31 yards. Not great, certainly, but not nearly enough of a shot to show how he could impact a game.
The talk this week will be all about the quarterbacks. Through it all, questions about how much the running back is used will go unasked.
“You know it’s not about one guy each week,” Pederson said. “We’ve had issues at other positions. We need to perform better at other positions. We needed that spark today.”
Sanders now has 118 carries for 631 yards this season in nine games. Not enough to make an impact on the Eagles game plan. Not enough to take the pressure off the struggling parts of the offense. Not enough for the best offensive player on the Eagles roster.
Sanders had 20 carries in his first game this year. Since then he’s averaged a dozen carries a game. Given enough chances, maybe Sanders can be the Eagles spark.
Contact Tom Rimback at email@example.com. Follow on twitter @RimbackBCT