When the Eagles get on the practice field Wednesday to prepare to face the Saints, they’ll have Miles Sanders with them.
The Eagles have activated Sanders’ 21-day practice window, which means he could return to game action as early as this coming Sunday at home against the Saints.
Sanders has missed three games with an ankle injury and in his absence the Eagles have run the ball very well. They have used a combination of Jordan Howard and Boston Scott as their primary ball carriers and have rushed for 175+ yards in three straight games.
So this sets up an interesting dilemma for Nick Sirianni.
Does he continue to ride Howard and Scott as his primary running backs? Or does he make sure to get Sanders back in the mix?
Sirianni previously dismissed this questions, saying it’s a good problem to have and that he’d cross that bridge when he got to it. Well, the Eagles are coming up on that bridge now.
On Monday, Sirianni explained that the Eagles divvy up running back reps based on a predetermined rotation and also the feel of the game.
“You do ride the hot hand as you go,” Sirianni said. “As we're calling the game, Shane (Steichen) and I are calling the game and going through it, that's something that is left up to Jemal (Singleton) in a lot of senses because he's got the feel of what's going on in there.
“But there are also plays on our call sheet and it could be anywhere from 10 to 15 plays out of all the plays on your call sheet. It could be more than that, where you're like, ‘Hey, I'm in 11-personnel and I want 14 in the game.’ And so, that's dictated out before. Or, ‘I'm in 12-personnel and I want 24 in the game.’ It can be any of those. So sometimes, yes, it's done throughout the week and sometimes it is the feel of the way the game is going.
“And so, yeah, that's the answer, is that we handle it both ways. So, I'm pleased with the way the running back rotation has went.”
Just because the Eagles activated Sanders’ practice window, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll definitely be back this week. The Eagles still have to activate him to their 53-man roster from the IR before that happens. They have 21 days to make a decision.
Sanders, 24, injured his ankle in the Raiders game but was off to a good start in that one, with 30 yards on six carries. There were times earlier this season, when the Eagles barely used their running attack. It just so happens that as the Eagles began to run the ball the last three weeks, it was without the guy they considered to be their top back.
This season, Sanders has 63 rushing attempts for 300 yards (4.8.). Meanwhile, Howard has 211 on 41 carries (5.1) and Scott has 205 on 40 (5.1). Jalen Hurts is the Eagles’ leading rusher with 547 yards.
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