Miles Sanders keeps saying that he’s taking the 2022 season personally. He watched the film from last year and noticed way too many mistakes, in terms of missed blocks, wrong reads, costly fumbles, and dropped passes.
Injuries played a factor in some of that disappointment – a broken hand and nagging ankle issue caused him to miss five games – but Sanders didn’t like his overall level of play. The 25-year-old running back is determined to not have a repeat of what he perceived as a down year.
“I wasn’t nowhere near as satisfied as how I played or my availability, too,” Sanders told reporters. “So all that stuff means a lot to me. So being the top guy in the running back room, I just gotta hold a standard and keep going with that standard, and that’s being healthy and being able to produce.”
Sanders is right about one thing: he remains the top back on the Philadelphia Eagles’ depth chart, the leader in a room that returns Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, and Jason Huntley. To make sure no one leap-frogs him, Sanders knows he has stay on the field and do everything in his power to limit the injuries. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but paying closer attention to his conditioning is a good start.
“You can’t really control what happens, a broken hand, ankle issues, you can’t control that stuff,” Sanders said. “It’s all a part of the game. So just doing my best to keep my body as healthy as possible. No different approaches.”
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Not Concerned About Contract Extension
Like it or not, the dreaded “injury-prone” label has been attached to Sanders since 2020. The former Penn State standout just can’t seem to get through a full season healthy for whatever reason. That is bound to be a sticking point in upcoming contract negotiations between him and the Eagles’ front office.
There has been no reported movement toward an extension to date. And even if there was, Sanders wouldn’t be the one to leak it out there. He’s uber-focused on getting ready for the season and he’ll let his explosive runs do the talking. Hopefully, those are good enough to land him a new deal.
“Contract doesn’t really [matter], it doesn’t [matter],” Sanders said. “It’s there but I don’t go into the season thinking about that. Let that take care of itself, let my playing, let that take care of itself and whatever happens happens, and just focus on the season.”
Sanders is due $1.22 million in base salary in 2022 as he enters the final year of his four-year rookie contract. Again, Sanders isn’t worrying about his financials or the future.
“Like I said, I’m focused on the season,” Sanders said. “I’m not bringing up any contract extensions.”
It could be hard for Sanders to strike it rich, especially with more teams going with backfield committees while looking to replace their starters before they get to a second contract. The running back position has taken a dramatic hit in recent years.
For example, Josh Jacobs – the top running back in the 2019 draft class – he was picked 29 spots ahead of Sanders – just had his fifth-year option declined, with no extension in place. And the Las Vegas Raiders took two running backs in the 2022 draft. Just food for thought.
Hurts to Sanders: ‘This is Going to Be Easy’
For now, Sanders is just excited to get back into the locker room with the guys. He can sense something special is brewing in Philadelphia by the smile on Jalen Hurts’ face. The Eagles quarterback already looked around the room at all his shiny new weapons and told Sanders: “This is going to be easy.” And Sanders agreed.
“We got a great team, we’re just trying to put all the pieces together,” Sanders said. “Making a foundation. Meetings are going well and workouts are going well, too, and so just trying to focus on the season and less on the contract and all that extra stuff.”