Through two games this season, Miles Sanders has looked like the Eagles’ workhorse running back.
Don’t expect that to change.
“I think that's sustainable,” Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley said. “There's a reason why he's 1. He has to go out there and we depend on him, he's our guy, he has to go out there and he has to play, and sometimes it's going to be like that. If you have a playmaker like Miles, you want him on the field all the time.”
After Sanders missed the first game of the season with a hamstring injury, the Eagles haven’t hesitated to put him back in their lineup and make him their featured back. Sanders had 55 snaps (77%) in Week 2 and 71 snaps (78%) in Week 3.
Here’s a look at Sanders’ stats through two games:
- Carries: 38
- Rushing yards: 190
- Receptions: 7
- Receiving yards: 48
So in his first two games, Sanders has averaged 22.5 touches and 119 scrimmage yards per game. That type of workload isn’t expected to stop.
If it continues, Sanders could end up with a monster season.
It’s also worth noting that while Sanders is averaging 5.0 yards per carry, Boston Scott and Corey Clement (the two running backs behind him) are averaging just 3.7 and 3.0 yards per carry, respectively. Sanders has been much more productive.
Leading up to this season and now into it, Staley has been very outspoken about how much he feels like Sanders can handle. He has said before that the Eagles don’t need to limit the former second-round pick and has consistently used the words “featured back” when describing him.
But how does Staley know Sanders can handle that type of workload for an entire season? I asked him that on Friday:
“You don't know it. You've got to put them out there,” Staley said. “Of course, looking back to last year, you see some of the numbers as far as how long he was in the game, how many plays. You take that and you try to add on to it, and that's what we're doing here now.
“That's what it's about being in the NFL and being a featured back. If you want to be the featured back in the NFL, you have to go out there and you are going to play a lot of plays. You've got to be -- of course we all know you've got to be in condition and you've got to make sure you know what you're doing, but if you want to be called a featured back, you have to go out there and you've got to play most of the game."
While Sanders has shown the ability to be a productive back in the NFL, he has dealt with some injuries that might at least put some doubt in your mind about whether or not he can handle this much every week. This season, he came in with a hamstring injury and after two games is already dealing with a glute injury.
Despite dealing with that new glute injury all week, Sanders is a full-go for Sunday Night Football in San Francisco.
“I feel good, I feel good, I feel great,” Sanders said. “Ready to go, Sunday night, prime time.”
And if the Eagles stay true to their word, you can expect another heavy dose of him.