The Philadelphia Eagles are going to unleash Miles Sanders this season -- that much is clear. Whether Philadelphia will have Sanders for Week 1 is a question mark as the Eagles recently listed the second-year running back on Wednesday's injury report as "week-to-week" with a lower-body injury.
Fans shouldn't worry too much regarding Sanders' status as the Eagles are preserving their No. 1 running back while trying to be "smart and cautious" with him leading up to the season, per ESPN's Tim McManus. The goal is to have Sanders ready for the start of the year.
Sanders set the Eagles' rookie record for rushing yards with 818 (4.6 yards per carry) in 2019 and caught 50 passes for 509 yards. He finished eighth in the NFL in all-purpose yards (1,641) and recorded six touchdowns. The Eagles confirmed Sanders would be the team's No. 1 running back on the first day of training camp Monday, ditching the running back-by-committee approach that has become a staple under Doug Pederson.
The Eagles are committed to making Sanders their workhorse this season, which makes plenty of sense why they would limit him during full-padded practices in training camp. Sanders is one of the major playmakers in the Eagles offense, a back they don't plan on taking off the field much -- even in short-yardage and goalline situations. When asked about whether or not Sanders can be on the field for short-yardage situations, Staley made it clear that's the plan.
"I think that Miles can do it all, and when you have a guy like Miles that can make people miss, that can lower his shoulder and also run you over, you want to put the ball in his hands as much as possible and you trust him," Eagles assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley said prior to practice Wednesday. "I think that's what we are. We have Corey [Clement], we have Boston [Scott], we have a cast of younger guys, also, and we'll see what they can do here shortly.
"But as much as I can give the ball to Miles and let him create and go out there and just kind of just trust him to do the right thing, I think do you it as much as possible."
The Eagles have admitted they want to get Sanders involved in the passing game more, especially after he finished second in yards per catch (10.2) last season -- behind only Austin Ekeler (minimum 50 catches). Sanders is just one of 32 running backs in league history to catch 50+ passes in his rookie season and one of just 21 running backs to surpass 500 receiving yards. He is also seventh in league history in yards per catch amongst running backs in their rookie seasons (minimum 50 receptions).
Sanders is the "do-it-all" back for the Eagles, one they want to make sure is 100% healthy come Week 1 against Washington.
"I saw Miles just continuing to climb the mountain and continuing to get better in all three phases," Staley said. "When you are back there and you have a linebacker and you're trying to take advantage of a linebacker and you're out there and you've got [Zach] Ertz who is in the slot and Alshon [Jeffery] and you've got D-Jack [DeSean Jackson] and you have Miles, it's a perfect match up for him to be able to go out there and take advantage of a linebacker who thinks he can cover.
"And I tell him all the time, just don't sell those guys short. Continue to be disciplined. Continue to learn all you can learn because you have the skill set to go out there and be a good route runner.
"That's one of the things he's been practicing on this off-season, a couple of things we've been talking about trying to get him better. I'm just excited for where he is."