After getting over a lingering hamstring injury, Miles Sanders made his season debut last week and ended up with 23 offensive touches for 131 yards from scrimmage.
So much for easing him back in.
While Sanders has clearly become the Eagles’ feature running back, the 23-year-old doesn’t have an ideal target for number of touches.
“As many as I can to help the team win,” he said. “It don’t matter how much, I could have two carries, as long as we get the W, I don’t really care.”
Still, 23 is a lot. And if he has 23 touches every week, Sanders would end up with 345 touches in 15 games this season. To put that into perspective, that number has been reached just six times in franchise history:
2013: LeSean McCoy (366)
2007: Brian Westbrook (368)
1999: Duce Staley (366)
1996: Ricky Watters (404)
1995: Ricky Watters (399)
1979: Wilbert Montgomery (379)
But if Sanders continues to have the same type of workload going forward that he had in Week 2, does he think he’ll be able to sustain it and keep his explosiveness?
“Absolutely,” Sanders said. “The offense, they have all the confidence in me. The coaches have all the confidence in me, my teammates do. I’m not looking forward to anything but to do whatever I can to help the team win. That’s all I can really say about that. I’m not a selfish player, I’m not looking to get this many carries or this many yards, I’m just trying to win."
Eagles fans had to wait one week, but it looks like we’re going to see Sanders get every opportunity this season to become a star in the NFL. If he can do what he did in Week 2 for the rest of the year, we’re talking about a Pro Bowl-type of player.
And Sanders’ bid to be a top back in the NFL should start this weekend against the Bengals, who have arguably the worst rushing defense in the NFL. They gave up 215 yards on the ground to the Browns last week and were dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed in 2019.
Sanders said facing a team that’s giving up yards like this on the ground is what Staley calls “eye candy.” But Sanders emphasized that they can’t take their opponent lightly.
Still, all the signs are there for this to be a huge game for Sanders. He’s healthy, coming off an impressive performance in Week 2, facing an awful run defense and the Eagles’ quarterback is struggling.
Can the run game be the recipe for this team?
“The short answer, yes,” Doug Pederson said this week. “A little more elaborate answer is yes because I think that opens up more of your play-action game. I think that opens up more of your quarterback movement game. The screen game comes off of that.
“So obviously when you can have success running the football it provides more opportunities for the rest of your offense.”
Either way — run or pass — Sanders is going to be a huge part of this offense Sunday and the rest of the way.