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Eagles Start Miles Sanders' Practice Window; Darius Slay Earns NFC Honor

The Eagles RB will return to practice on Wednesday while Slay will take the field as the reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week

PHILADELPHIA - Saints week started off with a bang at the NovaCare Complex with the Eagles' starting the 21-day practice window for running back Miles Sanders and cornerback Darius Slay earning the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award.

The Eagles' top running back, Sanders went down with an ankle injury on Oct. 24 in Las Vegas and was ultimately placed on injured reserve, missing the past three contests in which the Philadelphia rushing attack has been extremely effective behind replacements Boston Scott and Jordan Howard.

The Eagles can activate Sanders anytime over the next 21 days and the Sanders himself declared he was ready to go on social media last week, meaning he could be in play for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

MORE: Landon Dickerson Excelling in Eagles' Run-First Approach

The complicating factor is talent vs. efficacy.

The explosive Sanders is unquestionably Philadelphia's most talented back but the offense picked up in efficiency when he was on the sidelines creating a chicken and the egg-like argument.

Was the increased productivity on the ground - Scott and Howard piled up 392 rushing yards and five touchdowns in Sanders' absence - due to better scheming and use of the traits Scott and Howard possess or is Sanders' penchant for trying to hit the home run a detriment to what Nick Sirianni wants to accomplish?

"I can’t say enough about Jordan Howard, Boston Scott, and Kenny Gainwell. [They] have stepped in in the absence of Miles Sanders," Sirianni said after the Eagles topped the Broncos 30-13 this past Sunday. "We know how good of a player Miles Sanders is and we really look forward to getting him back."

Sanders is too talented not to get back in the mix but it's a delicate balance when to also keep the others involved.

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"They’ve been running hard. They’re hard to tackle," Sirianni said of Scott and Howard. "They’re hard to get down. It was great to see Boston get a screen and throw him the ball out there on a screen that almost went for a touchdown against their blitz zero.

"Gosh, they’ve just done a really nice job of filling in and we are going to have some tough decisions. It is a good problem to have, but we’ll do whatever we think is necessary to win the next game."

There is no difficult decision at CB1 for the Eagles where Darius Slay continues his excellent season in Denver with an 83-yard scoop and score that tilted the game toward the Eagles.

RELATED: Davion Taylor, Darius Slay Make Game Turning Play in 30-13 Win vs. Broncos

His NFC DPOW honor was the fourth time in his career he won it, with the other three coming when he was with the Detroit Lions.

The last Eagles player to win the award was DT Fletcher Cox in Week 17 of the 2018 season.

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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