The Eagles are entering week two with more than just a chip on their shoulders. After blowing a 17-0 lead to Washington, Doug Pederson is under the microscope and if there’s one cure for external pressure, it’s winning. Week 2 will be a tricky matchup, but the Eagles have a much better chance of leaving with a victory now thanks to the return of Miles Sanders.
Everything seems to be working against a team that was declared to not only be a division winner last year, but also a contender. The good news is that following last Sunday’s terrible running game, the team will be welcoming back their lead rusher.
The Eagles ground game didn’t get much going for them last week against a tough front seven. Between Scott and Corey Clement, the team rushed for 57 yards on 17 attempts. That’s only 3.4 yards per carry compared to the 4.3 yards per carry that they averaged last season.
Without a running game to base their play-action bias off of, the offense crumbled. Having Sanders back in the fold should ensure that history does not repeat itself when the Eagles clash with a team they have not lost to since 2005.
Carson Wentz was forced to throw the ball 42 times despite the team holding a 17-0 lead. There’s no excuse for deviating away from running the ball so soon. But if we go back to a Duce Staley quote from earlier this offseason, there’s at least hope that it was just a one-time thing.
“I’m excited about Miles. I’m excited about him handling the full load. I don’t see Miles as a guy that you have to monitor his touches,” Assistant Head Coach Duce Staley went on to say, “I think you put him in, and you let him go.”
Miles Sanders has shown that he can be a dynamic runner that has the ability to change the momentum of the game at any point. Sanders averaged 4.6 yards per carry in his rookie campaign and ran for 818 rushing yards. Another element that Sanders adds to the Eagles offense is his receiving ability. The second-year pro had 509 receiving yards which was more than any receiver had on the roster.
Fortunately, there’s one more part of Sanders’ game that the Eagles truly did miss and that’s pass block. Miles showed that he’s more than willing to go up against anyone that slips through the offensive line. The Eagles needed that last Sunday as Boston Scott and Corey Clement seemed unable to pick up the blitz, surrendering huge amounts of pressure.
Sanders was exceptional as a rookie and left a hole just big enough to make the Eagles miss his presence significantly on offense. Expect a big game out of Sanders against the Rams upon his return.
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