Flaws in Eagles RB Plan Exposed with Miles Sanders Expected to Miss Time

Ed Kracz

Miles Sanders is hurt again.

He had a hamstring injury during camp that forced him to miss the season opener, a glute injury that limited his practice time the following week, and now a knee. And it’s not even Halloween, yet.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson had no update on just how bad the most recent injury is that his three-down running back suffered in Sunday’s loss, but kickoff to the next game is right around the corner with the New York Giants set to visit on Thursday night.

A report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen indicated that Sanders will miss the game.

Pederson said on Monday morning that he was still waiting on medical reports for the slew of key players who exited the game with Ravens. In addition to Sanders that list includes tight end Zach Ertz, right tackle Jack Driscoll, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, and safety K’Von Wallace.

Mortensen also reported Ertz will miss three to four weeks with an ankle injury.

Pederson isn’t any closer to knowing what the availability will be for his injured veteran receivers, DeSean Jackson, who missed a third game with a hamstring, and Alshon Jeffery, who has yet to play at all after surgery about 10 months ago, or right tackle Lane Johnson.

Pederson did reveal the plan in case Sanders is a no-go.

It’s about what everyone might have expected, and that is more of Boston Scott and Corey Clement. The coach also said there might be more of a role for Jason Huntley and perhaps Adrian Killins will join the roster again from the practice squad.

Here’s the problem with that plan.

Scott, Huntley, and possibly Killins are essentially the same back, aren’t they? All three are smaller, get to the edge players, not pounders in the middle. Sanders isn’t that, either.

All four operate better in space. Sanders, at 5-11, 210, has the size, but you don’t want him making his living among the large oaks that grow inside.

Elijah Holyfield, at 5-10, 215 presumably can, but for some reason, despite what appeared to be a good training camp, his name is never mentioned by Pederson.

Jordan Howard is a hammer between the tackles, too. Right now, he is rotting in Miami, inactive the last two games.

Maybe the money ramifications of trying to offer an unconditional or something to the Dolphins to bring in the player who led the Eagles in touchdowns last year with seven in 10 games is a drawback, but at least he would give the Eagles a different look in the backfield.

Another flaw in the plan is that, so far, Scott and Clement haven’t provided much productivity.

Maybe Scott will find his way against the Giants, a team he scored three touchdowns against in last year’s regular-season finale to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

The snaps for him and Clement have been curtailed because the Eagles believe Sanders can be effective on all three downs, and, for the most part, he has, but at what cost?

The cost so far has been a hamstring, a glute, and now a knee. In other words, good health.

Sanders has been very productive and has had consecutive games with a 74-yard run. He’s explosive and fun to watch, with the ability to hit a home run at any point in a game, and has 432 yards rushing in the five games he has played.

It appears, though, that he may be better served from a health-standpoint with some help behind him.

The Eagles’ shift away from a running-back-committee approach used by Pederson in his first four years has been sudden and surprising.

Pederson loved to rotate backs in and out to keep them fresh. He won a Super Bowl with that philosophy.

Now, that philosophy is out the window, and when you’re three-down back faces the prospect of missing time, that becomes more noticeable.

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