Miles Sanders is enjoying a breakout rookie campaign. But, don’t expect him to be the workhorse running back in Philadelphia.
Starter Jordan Howard is a game-time decision and the smart money is betting he doesn’t play tonight versus the Giants. Without Howard, the Eagles seem intent on pounding the rock on a rainy, cold and windy evening in South Philadelphia.
Sanders will resume his new role as lead back, but there will be plenty of touches to go around for backups Jay Ajayi and Boston Scott.
Head coach Doug Pederson alluded to the fact that he will rely on a three-headed rushing attack against New York as he needs to keep Sanders as fresh as possible for the stretch run. This is the perfect spot for Ajayi to show why the Eagles signed him off the street just three weeks ago.
“It’s a process with him, but we understand who he is and the injury that he’s coming off of,” Pederson said of Ajayi. “We’re careful with that, but at the same time, he’s a bigger powerful guy that we can use in spots.”
Ajayi has been used sparingly so far, with eight carries for 25 yards on 16 total snaps. That should all change during a must-win situation in Week 14. Look for Ajayi and Scott to be more involved in the offense.
“Miles has done a great job,” Pederson said. “I’d love to get Jay a few more touches and get Boston in the mix so we’re not obviously wearing Miles down here this last month of the season.”
Perhaps this new three-headed monster rushing attack will evoke visions of an older version. Back in 2003, the Eagles came through like a wrecking ball thanks to the triumvirate of Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter and Brian Westbrook. The trio helped the Eagles advance all the way to the NFC Championship Game.
Shareef Miller, Daeshon Hall Could See Snaps
The Eagles could be without Derek Barnett tonight against New York. The attacking defensive end is nursing an ankle injury and considered a game-time decision after missing practice all week.
Barnett — second on the Eagles in sacks with 4.5 — would be a huge loss. However, his absence could finally lead to the activation of rookie Shareef Miller. The fourth-round pick out of Penn State has been inactive for the first 12 games of the season and Miller seems resigned to the fact that 2020 will be his year. Maybe not.
Head coach Doug Pederson floated out the possibility of using Miller this week. He mentioned the rookie, along with preseason sensation Daeshon Hall, as replacements for Barnett. The Eagles also have pass-rushers Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry firmly penciled in the rotation. Newcomer Genard Avery is another name to watch.
“Well, obviously we have Daeshon and Shareef, and can obviously bring either one or both of those up in that situation,” Pederson told reporters. “Genard Avery is a guy we brought on our roster a couple weeks ago, so he would fill that role just a little bit more.”
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