Eagles

Miles Sanders’ surprising role isn’t surprising to him

Miles Sanders’ surprising role isn’t surprising to him

During his career at Penn State, Miles Sanders definitely wasn’t known for his ability as a pass-catcher. 

Now he’s catching balls like a receiver in the NFL. 

“That’s what I’ve been trying to showcase since I go there,” Sanders said. 

It’s working. 

While Sanders has had some trouble getting going as a runner between the tackles, he’s surprisingly making a huge impact in the receiving game and has been a nice complement to Jordan Howard, who appears to be the new lead back

On Sunday against the Jets, Sanders had four catches for 49 yards and through five games, he has 10 catches for 133 yards. 

Sanders in 36 games at Penn State: 32 catches, 193 yards (6.0) 
Sanders in five games in the NFL: 10 catches, 133 yards (13.3) 

“That’s what I was planning on doing,” Sanders said. “Just really showing everybody that I’ve got the hands to do it. I really didn’t get the chance to showcase it at Penn State. Trying to add that to my toolbox, being effective in the passing game.”

In five games, Sanders already has three catches of 30-plus yards, which accounts for half of the Eagles’ 30-plus-yard catches this season. While that probably speaks more to their lack of a downfield attack without DeSean Jackson, it’s still impressive that Sanders is having this kind of impact as a receiver. 

He’s one of the few players on the offense right now with the speed to separate from defenders. 

This was the first play of the Eagles’ second drive on Sunday. The 36-yard pickup came on an alert from Wentz, who saw the linebacker and defensive end switch coverage responsibilities. Good recognition from film study. That left 277-pound Kyle Phillips to cover Sanders and Wentz delivered a perfect pass. 

“Wentz recognized it and told me to be ready,” Sanders said. 

It was just a simple wheel route, but Sanders used his speed, getting up to 19.45 mph on the play, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, for a big gain. 

Here’s a list of every rookie running back in the last five years to have as many receiving yards as Sanders through their first five games: Saquon Barkley, Nyheim Hines, Christian McCaffrey, Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara, Tarik Cohen, Duke Johnson, David Johnson. 

All those other guys were much more accomplished receivers coming out of college, so it’s surprising to see Sanders’ name among them. Well, surprising to most. 

“Watching him in training camp and all the practices and stuff, I saw he could catch the ball pretty well,” Howard said. “He can gain separation from the defender, so I knew we could take advantage of that.”

The last Eagles’ rookie RB with as many receiving yards in first five games was Junior Tautalatasi back in 1986. 

The Eagles seem to have found a nice balance between Howard and Sanders; each played 29 snaps on Sunday. Doug Pederson intimated that Howard will be the lead back going forward, but they can’t completely telegraph what they’re doing — meaning they can’t just pass to Sanders and run with Howard all the time — but that formula seems to be working. 

These two pieces seem pretty complementary. And Sanders’ role just happens to be something that’s completely new for him. 



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Malcolm Jenkins: Arguments over DeSean Jackson's anti-Semitic posts 'a distraction'

Malcolm Jenkins: Arguments over DeSean Jackson's anti-Semitic posts 'a distraction'

In a brief Instagram video Friday, former Eagles safety and current New Orleans Saint Malcolm Jenkins publicly addressed DeSean Jackson's anti-Semitic social media posts.

Jenkins called Jackson's comments "wrong", while also calling for an unspecified group to "stay focused".

Here's the full transcription of the video:

We gotta stay focused. All of this back and forth that's going on right now is a distraction. Comments were made, and they were wrong. Allow those who were impacted by it to voice their grievances.

But we've got to stay focused. Because Breonna Taylor's killers are still not arrested. We're still fighting for justice. We've got a lot of work to do. And this ain't it. Stay focused.

Jenkins also included this caption with the video:

We can honor the Jewish heritage and trauma while staying focused on what matters. Jewish people aren’t our problem, and we aren’t their problem. Let’s not lose focus on what the problem truly is, and that’s that black lives still don’t matter in this country.

Push this energy toward arresting and convicting the killers of Breonna Taylor and burning systemic racism to the ground.

Jackson cited a fake Hitler quote and anti-Semitic sentiment from Louis Farrakhan in a series of social media posts earlier this week, all of which the Eagles called "absolutely appalling" in a statement.

Jackson has publicly apologized multiple times, and he's committed to working towards a better understanding of anti-Semitism, but also seemingly pushed back against some criticism on Instagram.

Elsewhere, Eagles defensive lineman Malik Jackson defended Jackson's decision to quote Farrakhan, and outspoken former NBA player Stephen Jackson defended Jackson, saying the wide receiver shouldn't have to apologize or be threatened with termination by his employer.

Another former Eagle, Chris Long, called the entire situation a "f*****g disaster" earlier this week.

At this point, it's hard to disagree.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles' DeSean Jackson is taking Julian Edelman up on offer to educate each other

Eagles' DeSean Jackson is taking Julian Edelman up on offer to educate each other

Looks like DeSean Jackson is taking up Julian Edelman on his offer.

Edelman, who is Jewish, posted on social media Thursday that he hoped to arrange an educational exchange program where he took Jackson to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and Jackson took him to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, also in Washington.

"Afterwards, we grab some burgers and we have those uncomfortable conversations."

On Friday morning, Edelman tweeted that he had spoken to Jackson, and while he didn't specifically say they were planning to tour the two museums together, he did say they "plan to use our experiences to educate one another and grow together."

Jackson cited a fake Hitler quote in a series of social media posts earlier this week that the Eagles called "absolutely appalling" in a statement.

Edelman's paternal great grandfather, Harry Edelman, was a Polish Jew and emigrated to England, where he married an Irish woman. Edelman, the former Super Bowl MVP, wrote in his autobiography, "Relentless," that he had researched his ancestry to learn more about his Jewish background and has spoken often about experiencing a Jewish reawakening.

In the Eagles' statement, the team said it is "committed to continuing to have productive and meaningful conversations with DeSean, as well as all of our players and staff, in order to educate, learn, and grow."

It's safe to say Jackson was strongly encouraged by team officials to participate in that learning and growth process, and certainly it’s a positive sign that he accepted Edelman's offer.

Edelman, 34, is about six months older than Jackson and one of 13 active NFL players with more career receptions than Jackson. Edelman has 599 and Jackson has 598. Edelman was MVP of Super Bowl LIII after the 2019 season.

The two museums are both located in Washington's museum row, adjacent to the Washington Monument, about a quarter of a mile apart.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles