The Philadelphia Eagles are 8-0 and while all eyes have been on the rise of Jalen Hurts this season, there’s another player deserving of similar praise. It feels like only yesterday that Miles Sanders was hearing his name in trade talks on a near-weekly basis. The Penn State product is enjoying a breakout season almost as much as fans are enjoying watching it.
Miles Sanders is silencing his critics
I’ve always been very critical of Miles Sanders. His ability was always visible, even if it was in flashes. But that was part of the problem. For every 80-yard run he’d break off, there would be countless plays where he’d just sprint into a blocker, dance with indecision and miss a hole completely, or end up trying to bounce a run outside and end up being tackled for a loss. Not to mention his pass-blocking woes.
2022 sees a very different Miles Sanders hitting the hole. A man who is unafraid of contact and will happily run through defenders instead of trying to shimmy around them. As a result, we’re seeing someone who’s not only on pace for a career year, but who is being trusted far more with the rock in his hands as a result.
Miles Sanders now has 656 yards and a career-high 6 touchdowns on the season. There are still 9 games left on the 2022 calendar.
The road ahead
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Sanders is running with a much-needed sense or urgency, knowing full well that his NFL future could depend on every yard and every carry he takes between now and the end of 2022. He’s proving he can stay healthy, and he’s proving he can be a top-tier running back. But will that be enough to earn him a big payday?
That’s a question for Howie Roseman, Miles, and the rest of the NFL to work out. But until then, Sanders continues to be one of the most valuable offensive assets on this team. His ability to burst through the hole and move the chains is so important to an offense that can hurt a defense in so many ways. It’s all well and good locking in on Jalen Hurts to stop QB rush on an RPO, but it leaves an opportunity for Sanders to slash through. And because he’s doing it so violently, it means he’s also now a viable option at the goal line, something that was never really feasible before due to his poor decision making.
Looking back, it makes sense why the Eagles held back from pulling the trigger on a potential Jordan Howard replacement. They had full confidence in Sanders to step up and he’s delivered everything that’s been expected and then some.
Whatever the future holds for Miles Sanders, he’s ensuring that his rookie contract ends on a high note with not only some of the most explosive rushing we’ve seen from him during his entire career, but some of the most consistent. And frankly, that was really the only piece of the puzzle that was ever missing from completing the picture of a three-down running back.
Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire