Eagles RB Coach on Miles Sanders: ‘You Put Him In & You Let Him Go’

Duce Staley

Getty Duce Staley has been the associate head and running backs coach in Philadelphia for a few years.

Silence all that noise about the Eagles adding a veteran running back, or needing to limit Miles Sanders touches. Eagles assistant head coach Duce Staley knows he has his bellcow on the roster.

Staley, who oversees the running backs room, told reporters on Friday that he believes Sanders is fully capable of carrying the load out of the backfield in 2020. There had been persistent rumors, including some coming straight from head coach Doug Pederson, that Philly was in the market for another back — a thunder to Sanders’ lighting, much like the Eagles tried last year with Jordan Howard. That doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.

“I’m excited about him [Sanders] handling the full load,” Staley said. “I don’t see Miles as a guy that you have to monitor his touches, 15 here, maybe 15 rushes, five passes, no. I don’t see him that way. I think you put him and you let him go.”

The Eagles had been linked to several marquee free agents, most notably Carlos Hyde (got outbid for), LeSean McCoy (signed by Tampa) and Devonta Freeman (still a free agent). Now, after hearing Staley rave about Sanders, it seems everyone can put a potential move to rest.

“I’m very happy with my room and everybody’s role,” Staley said. “We have a hell of a room. They work their a** off.”

Staley went on to hype up all his young running backs, specifically calling out interesting rookie Michael Warren II. Nicknamed “The Tank” at the University of Cincinnati, he rushed for 2,918 yards and racked up 37 total touchdowns in 38 games. His rushing style bears a striking resemblance to Maurice Jones-Drew, only taller (5-foot-11) and bulkier (222 pounds).

“He might look like a bowling ball but he can also make you miss,” Staley said.

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Staley Not Upset About Not Getting Eagles Promotion

When the Eagles began their exhaustive search for a new offensive coordinator back in early January, Staley’s name never seemed to draw serious consideration. In fact, one report claimed the organization didn’t even interview Staley for the position and another one suggested the long-time assistant was interested in jumping ship for South Carolina.

Staley, fifth all-time on the franchise rushing list (4,807 yards), downplayed any notion that he was unhappy about his current situation on Thursday. He’s excited to be part of a collaborative offensive system that doesn’t pay attention to defined roles.

“Not disappointed at all. Don’t feel overlooked,” Staley said. “I think it was about two years ago, I said how it’s a little different here with the Eagles, and what I mean by that is we all get a chance to game plan, so that’s what’s unique about our staff. I’m super happy in my role. Proud of my role, being assistant head coach, running back coach, I’m proud of that. Doug, he gives me things, he puts it on my plate, and I’m thankful to him for having those opportunities, so I’m excited about where I am and what I’m doing now.”

The Eagles raised eyebrows in the offseason when the team never picked an offensive coordinator. Instead, head coach Doug Pederson will call the plays, with a balanced and experienced staff chipping in.

They hired Rich Scangarello as senior offensive assistant and Marty Mornhinweg as senior offensive consultant, along with promoting Press Taylor to passing game coordinator. The team also brought in Andrew Breiner as pass game analyst and retained Jeff Stoutland as run game coordinator. All seven men, including Staley, will have a say on running the offense.

“When we win, we win as a team. Again, it’s not about one guy getting the credit,” Pederson said. “I feel like this is the best structure for us, for me as the play-caller. Just bringing our game plans together. That’s what I want. That’s my vision for this season and really having a seamless transition that way.”

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