PHILADEPHIA – Miles Sanders insists he didn’t go home and pout after being reduced to basically a spectator in Monday night’s 41-21 destruction in Dallas, with just two carries and three catches.
The Eagles running back didn’t throw a tantrum in the direction of his head coach, Nick Sirianni, or quarterback Jalen Hurts, who deemed it unsafe to hand the ball off to Sanders in the RPO game.
“Honestly, I didn’t dwell on it too much,” said Sanders following Wednesday’s practice. “…I can only control what I can control, and the way the game was pretty much out of hand early, I can see why the game plan or whatever they had planned didn’t go as planned.”
Yeah, but it was still winnable at 20-7 at halftime, even at 27-14 when the Eagles got the ball back with 4:02 to play in the third quarter but punted after throwing four passes and getting only one first down.
“It’s kind of like of like a panic throughout the whole team, just based on the way the game went,” said Sanders. “I didn’t question it. Didn’t show any type of emotion. I just kept playing the game.”
Interesting description about panic running through the team, but he wasn't criticizing anyone.
“I’m here to just quiet all of that down,” he said. “I’m not over here saying what y’all really want to me to say. I’m just here to (deaden) all of this. It’s on to the next week.”
He added later, “I’m not going to sit here on this media and talk about what we should have done. What we should have done was win the game. That’s the only thing I’m upset about.”
Sirianni said there were RPOs called, and they count like running plays, even if Hurts pulls the ball and attempts a pass.
No telling how many of those were actually called, but if they weren’t working, well, then maybe more designed runs would have been a better option.
“I do need to do a better job running the football,” the coach said. “There's no question about that. We need to be able to do that to help us be a balanced team and help us win football games.
“But sometimes RPOs do play out that way, and what we do is we count RPOs – if they're going to take a guy and replace – get him out of position for the pass, we actually count those as runs. But we've got to run the ball more.”
Sanders is fine with Hurts and the RPO system.
“I trust his reads just as much as he trusts everybody else trusts my reads with the ball in my hands, so if he has to pull it to do what he’s got to do to get a first down or get some yardage, I’m all for it,” said Sanders.
Next week comes quickly and it comes against the AFC Super Bowl representative the past two seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs, who won it all two years ago.
Sanders will have a bigger role, but who knows?
Hurts was asked what the identity of this team was after three games.
“We’re still creating one,” the QB said. “It’s coming, though.”
It’s an identity that has to include Sanders and running game, which is, after all, a quarterback’s best friends.
“He’ll get his touches,” Hurts said, without explaining how.
Sirianni was a bit more insightful.
“I don’t want to say (his touches) are X amount a game, but does he need more than five touches? Of course,” he said. “The way the game went, he didn't get that.”
Sirianni sounded as if he had a conversation with his running back about how things went down, however.
“I don't want to just single out Miles, but when guys are down because of their role and we expect more out of their role, whether because they didn't accomplish it on their own or I didn't give them a chance to accomplish it on their own, we are, we've got to pick guys up,” he said. “That's what a team does, pick them up and let them know that you believe in them still.
“As far as Miles getting touches, there's no doubt, we've got to get our playmakers the ball. He's a playmaker. He's shown that he's a playmaker, whether it's in screen game, whether it's out of the backfield or getting the ball.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.