Miles Sanders was an interesting scratch for the Philadelphia Eagles in their preseason opener against the Steelers, especially since his absence from Thursday's game wasn't health-related. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni simply didn't want to risk playing a back who's going to be a vital part of his offense this year.
"We just felt like we have seen him, we know what he is, we know that we're excited about him," Sirianni said after the Eagles' 24-16 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. "We're really excited about him, wanting to be keep him fresh and we'll re-evaluate and look at next week and if he'll play next week."
Jordan Howard ended up starting the game for the Eagles, but only played five snaps in the contest. Boston Scott only played five snaps in the loss, while Kenneth Gainwell led all the backs with 19. Kerryon Johnson recorded just eight snaps. Overall, the Eagles called 29 pass plays to just 11 run plays, so the running game was virtually nonexistent.
Sirianni doesn't want to tip his hand with anything the Eagles are doing this preseason, explaining it's an "advantage" other teams don't have tape on what Philadelphia is running.
"To say we're going to show everything Thursday or the following preseason game or the following preseason games, it's just not going to be the case," Sirianni said earlier this week. "That's an advantage that we have that other staffs don't."
As for Sanders not playing? He was fine with being a healthy scratch for the preseason opener. The Eagles need him for the games that count, anyway.
"I explained to him, talked to him. His running back coach Jemal [Singleton] talked to him. We thought it was best for the team that he sat that one out," Sirianni said. "He had a couple big runs against Pittsburgh last year, right? So, his people in Pittsburgh saw those big runs last year."