Miles Sanders was getting reps with the second-team offense on Friday, leading to speculation that the starting running back had been demoted. Turns out the reports were overblown. Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni squashed it immediately.
“There is no secret. Miles is our guy,” Sirianni said, “and we like to rotate our backs. But he’s the guy.”
Sirianni pointed at reporters throughout Saturday’s practice and pounded the point home: “He’s running with the ones, he’s a starter.” Sanders had a wide smile on his face when asked about it after Day 3 of training camp. The articles definitely bothered him.
“Who made that article? It is what it is,” Sanders told reporters. “If they [reporters] was really watching they would see that everybody rotates. But it is what it is. I ain’t really paying no attention to it.”
Except that he is. Sanders is out for respect in 2022, using every possible slight as extra motivation.
“Just get the respect that I finally deserve,” Sanders said. “That’s all.”
And how does he get that respect? For starters, reporters need to watch what they write: “Stop making articles about me being on second team,” Sanders said.
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Sanders Remains Unquestioned Starter
It was rather comical that Sirianni had to go on record with Sanders being his starting back. Everyone knew it, even those scribes chronicling his reps on the second team. The fourth-year rusher — a guy averaging 5.1 yards per carry since 2019, third-best in the NFL — never had anything to worry about.
“I had second-team reps last year, too,” Sanders said. “The more reps the better for me. I love practice, I mean I love getting reps in practice, I love just trying to get better each day. We’ve had more running backs in camp before but five running backs … we’re all going to work and get the same amount of reps.”
Sanders has 2,439 rushing yards on 480 touches and nine touchdowns for his career, plus 864 receiving yards on 104 catches with three scores. The 25-year-old is in the final year of his rookie contract.
“Yeah, I got goals [for the season] but I don’t want to sit here and speak about them,” Sanders said. “Like I said, I’m just going to go out here and grind and let God handle it.”
Kenny Gainwell Looking ‘Smarter, Stronger’
Second-year back Kenny Gainwell has been seeing an uptick in first-team reps. The Eagles have been splitting him out wide and getting him the ball in space. Gainwell looks to have a much bigger role in Sirianni’s offense in Year 2. Physically, he looks “stronger, smarter,” according to Sanders. The whole backfield is poised for big things.
“It’s the beginning of camp we still got a lot of work to do,” Sanders said. “We got a lot of talent on this team, a lot — all around, but we got a lot of work to do still.”