Eagles Get Bad News on Leading Rusher, Top Offensive Playmaker Out

Miles Sanders

Getty Rookie Miles Sanders is ready to take the NFL by storm.

Even if the reports indicate it’s not a serious ailment, it’s still alarming to see Miles Sanders’ name on the Eagles’ injury report.

The Eagles endured a light walk-though-style practice on Wednesday as a slow drizzle dampened the field in South Philly. Sanders was listed out with a lower-body injury and the running back is considered week-to-week. He was joined by tight end Dallas Goedert (upper body), cornerback Sidney Jones (upper body), running back Boston Scott (lower body) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox who had a planned “maintenance” day off.

According to The Athletic‘s Zach Berman, the Eagles aren’t concerned about Sanders’ injury as the team continues to practice extra caution due to an expedited timeline. Philadelphia will travel to Washington for the season opener in less than a month (Sept. 13).

“With the pandemic and where we are in the preseason with no preseason games, the first thing that stands out is the first game is a real game,” head coach Doug Pederson told reporters. “It’s a game that matters, a game that counts. So one of the things we have to do as a staff, and not only just a coaching staff but personnel staff, is make sure we have the right guys going down to Washington for week one.”

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (upper body) and defensive end Derek Barnett (lower body) remained out. The increase in soft-tissue injuries, or lower-body issues, could be attributed to a lack of rookie minicamps and spring OTAs. While several players described being in the “best shape of their lives” entering training camp, the lack of significant grass time was bound to play a factor in conditioning. Kudos to Derrick Gunn for first pointing this out.

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Sanders Playing ‘Faster’ & Smarter in Year 2

Eagles assistant head coach (and running backs coach) Duce Staley told reporters on Wednesday that be believed Sanders looked “faster” than he did in his record-breaking rookie campaign.

He credited the second-year player for attacking the mental side of the game, things like understanding concepts and learning how to exploit matchups. Staley considers Sanders a complete back, a guy who can stay on the field for all three downs.

“His mental focus right now is unbelievable,” Staley said. “Just being able to understand the concepts and what we are trying to do as an offense with him and other players and with his skill level and being able to match him up on safeties and on linebackers. It’s just Miles understanding the game a little bit better, being able to know what to study and what to look for and now he’s going out there and he’s playing faster in Year 2.”

Staley complimented Sanders for improving in all three phases of the game: route-running ability, blitz pick-up in pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield. It’s clear the Eagles have big plans for their top playmaker from a year ago, possibly as the centerpiece of their entire offensive gameplan.

“I saw Miles just continuing to climb the mountain,” Staly said, “and continuing to get better, in all three phases.”

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