It’s been an adjustment season for the Eagles. The 2017 Super Bowl season has proven to be a blessing and a curse for the birds. They tried their best to stick to the formula that once worked for them. It was all about the veterans back then, but something had to change.
The Eagles coaching staff have been very bullish when it comes to giving the “young guys” a shot. Until this season, they had been very reliant on players who have long tenures in the league but, of course, that was before Howie Roseman drafted Miles Sanders.
Sanders was taken in the second round of this year’s draft and it sent shockwaves all throughout Philadelphia. The last time the Eagles took a running back that high in the draft was LeSean McCoy. Coincidentally, both backs were taken 53rd overall by the Eagles.
The former Penn State product started the season as the number one tailback but he struggled with his vision and decision making early on. Struggles led to poor mistakes, like the two fumbles that came against the Lions. Uncharacteristically though, Doug Pederson and Duce Staley didn’t abandon Sanders for the season, instead they found new ways to implement him that could fit his game.
As the season went on and injuries continued to decimate the offense, Sanders grew into one of the group’s most dynamic playmakers. But with all three starting wide receivers injured, Lane Johnson down, and Jordan Howard battling a stinger, he was also their only hope.
In the win against Washington, the persistance paid off. Sanders put the run-game on his back and found ways to help his team when they needed saving. He was the playmaker that this offense has been craving since Shady was here. Sanders rushed for a career-high 122 yards on 19 carries and added a touchdown to the mix as well. He didn’t stop there though.
The rookie made what was probably the biggest catch of his young career to go along with what was the best throw Carson Wentz has made in his. While Wentz was scrambling and escaping pressure, Sanders found a way to lose the linebacker in coverage and plant himself in the corner of the end zone in what was a hell of a touchdown. As a receiver, Miles Sanders caught six passes for 50 yards and a score.
While having 25 touches for 172 yards and two touchdowns, Sanders put himself on top of the Eagles’ record books as a rookie. He surpassed LeSean McCoy’s record for most rushing yards in a season by an Eagles‘ rookie, while also passing DeSean Jackson’s record for total yards from scrimmage in a season for a rookie.
The Eagles may have found a diamond in the rough in the former Penn State standout. A diamond that has shown he’s willing to whatever the team needs him to do, including carrying the run game in his back while his team fights for a playoff spot.
Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports