Among all of the players that could benefit from the hiring of Head Coach Nick Sirianni is the one man that had too many questions and not enough answers in 2020. Miles Sanders was left out to dry too many times last year due to the lack of run plays and inconsistent QB play. Still, Sanders was able to put together an impressive campaign in what was his second season.
Sanders racked up 867 yards on the ground while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He ranked 7th last season in that metric as he showed just how explosive he can be. That explosiveness was on full display with three 70+ yard runs in 2020.
In his two seasons with the team, Sanders has 1,685 rushing yards in 28 games while averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He’s also tallied 9 rushing touchdowns, 78 catches, 706 yards, and 3 receiving touchdowns. Not a bad start for the former Penn State running back. His numbers rival one of the best running backs in franchise history, LeSean McCoy.
In McCoy’s first two seasons, he put up 1,717 rushing yards across 31 games while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. He also racked up 11 rushing touchdowns, 118 catches, 900 yards, and 2 receiving touchdowns. He’s also a big fan of Miles Sanders.
So what exactly can Nick Sirianni do for Sanders that Doug Pederson couldn’t?
First things first, run the ball. Sirianni and the offensive staff of the Colts saw the value in the ground game last season. After Marlon Mack went down, the team turned their eyes towards rookie Johnathan Taylor. Taylor racked up 1,169 rushing yards while averaging 5 yards per carry along with 11 touchdowns. Taylor doesn’t really have the receiving potential that Sanders has but was still able to rack up 299 receiving yards on 36 receptions. The team also used Nyheim Hines in the passing game and he was able to put up 482 receiving yards on 63 receptions.
Nick Sirianni not only coached a big year from Jonathan Taylor, but a 1,039-yard season from Marlon Mack in 2019 and a 908-yard season from him in 2018.
The Eagles head coach is entering a situation where he has a running back that can do what Taylor and Hines did for him last season – balance the offense. Sanders has shown that he can be a three-down back for the franchise and has improved his pass-blocking too.
If the Eagles can make Sanders a focal point in the offense then fans should expect a breakout season for the ages from Miles next season and a lot of pressure lifted from the shoulders of whoever is playing QB. Remember, Sanders wants to be mentioned in the same sentence as Panthers running back, Christian McCaffrey. If that’s his goal then one could expect Sanders to take a huge step under a Head Coach that has facilitated three years of nothing but rushing success.
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