Eagles

Will Eagles start using Jordan Howard more in coming games?

Will Eagles start using Jordan Howard more in coming games?

If there’s one upside to having a small workload, Jordan Howard has definitely found it. 

His body feels fresh. 

“I’m definitely feeling great,” Howard said. “Not as sore after the games and stuff like that. It’s easier to get out there and run at practice.” 

If Howard is upset about the limited workload he’s had in the first two games of the 2019 season, he certainly isn’t showing it. Speaking at his locker on Friday, Howard was all about the team. Instead of talking about his carries or snaps, Howard simply talked about the need for the offense, as a whole, to perform better. 

But through two games, Howard has just 14 carries. It’s the fewest amount of carries he’s had in a two-week span since his first two NFL games back in his rookie year in 2016. 

Last season with the Bears, he had single digit carries just once. He’s done that twice in two games to start 2019. 

“I didn’t really have any projection of how I was going to be used,” Howard said. “I just know whenever my opportunity comes, I just try to take advantage of my opportunities.” 

While head coach Doug Pederson has expressed faith in rookie Miles Sanders, the Eagles do have the third-leading rusher in the NFL since 2016 waiting for his opportunity to get a bigger piece of the offensive pie. 

“We brought him here for a reason,” Pederson said. “Long season. We're just kind of getting off the ground, so we should hopefully see more of him.”

Here’s the running back breakdown so far: 

Overall, the Eagles’ rushing attack hasn’t been good enough. Their backs have a combined 162 rushing yards; eight backs league-wide have more than that. 

And as a team, the Eagles are averaging just 86.0 yards per game. But it’s early. 

“I feel like we’re pretty close,” Howard said. “A few little things here and there. But I feel like we’re definitely going to get it going. And when it’s going, it’s going to be hard to stop.”

It’s obviously early, but Howard has looked decent in the limited chances he’s gotten. His average of 4.4 yards per carry is higher than he had in his last two seasons. 

Howard said he isn’t sure what the rotation will look like going forward, but thinks that once they find something that works, the Eagles will stick with it. 

“When his time is called, you kind of see what he can do,” Sproles said. “They’re gonna work him in there a little bit more, though.”

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What has Miles Sanders done to turn his season around?

What has Miles Sanders done to turn his season around?

Remember how overmatched Miles Sanders looked after gaining just 25 yards on 11 carries in the opener against the Redskins? Remember how lost he looked a week later when he was just 10-for-28 in Atlanta?

Three weeks into his rookie season, Sanders was averaging 3.1 yards per carry and ranked 28th out of 33 qualifying running backs.

Six from the bottom.

Since then?

Sanders has blossomed.

In the Eagles’ last nine games, Sanders is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, 7th-best in the league of 53 backs during that span.

Six from the top.

In a season with very few positives, Sanders’ development has been fun to watch.

What’s been the difference?

Sanders is just seeing things better, he’s running more decisively and he's moving the chains forward.

Nothing demonstrates that better than his percentage of carries that have gone for one or fewer yards.

In his first game, more than half his carries went for one or fewer yards (6 of 10). Through five games he was still at 35 percent, with 19 of 53 runs that went less than two yards.

In the last seven games, that number has dropped precipitously. Of his 62 carries since the Vikings game, only nine — nine of 62 — have been one or fewer yards. 

“I feel like I’ve been getting better and better each week,” the second-round pick from Penn State said. “Everybody’s been telling me that, but most importantly, I’ve been noticing it myself, just trying to get better and do it each week. I feel more confident just as far as reading where I’m supposed to be, getting my eyes in the right place and just playing ball out there.”

Sanders has 520 rushing yards and needs 118 to break LeSean McCoy’s franchise rookie rushing record of 637, set in 2009.

He has 879 scrimmage yards and needs 130 to break DeSean Jackson’s franchise rookie scrimmage yards record of 1,008, set in 2008.

Going into this weekend, he was second to Raiders 1st-round pick Josh Jacobs among rookies with 879 scrimmage yards and fourth in rushing (behind Jacobs, David Montgomery and Devin Singletary).

Is Doug Pederson using Sanders enough?

That’s a different question. 

Sanders is averaging 4.5 yards per carry overall but still has only the 30th-most carries in the league and the 25th-most touches among running backs. 

“I think you're seeing the patience in the running game,” Doug Pederson said. “His vision is better, it's improved from Week 1 to Week 13. The more he gets time, the more he gets snaps, the better he'll get.”

Sanders has taken care of the production. Now it’s up to Pederson to take care of getting him more snaps.

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Eagles vs. Giants live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 14 game

Eagles vs. Giants live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 14 game

9:57 a.m.: Good morning, everyone! 

We have waited a long time for tonight, but the Eagles will host Eli Manning and the Giants tonight at the Linc. Here are five matchups to watch.

If you’re heading to the game, bring your rain gear. 

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