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Eagles Reveal Plan for Miles Sanders, Revamped Backfield


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Eagles Reveal Plan for Miles Sanders, Revamped Backfield

  • Updated Jun 21, 2021 at 10:36pm
Miles Sanders

GettyThe Eagles could be without two key starters — Miles Sanders, Zach Ertz — for an extended period.

The nay-sayers look at a crowded Philadelphia Eagles’ backfield and see too many mouths to feed. Miles Sanders has flashed enough game-changing speed and pass-catching ability to be guaranteed the every-down running back job.

Sanders has rushed for 1,685 yards on 343 carries in his first two NFL seasons, while hauling in 78 balls for 706 receiving yards. Let him eat, right? Wrong.

The Eagles went out and signed veterans Kerryon Johnson and Jordan Howard, then drafted Kenneth Gainwell in the fifth round. Utility back Boston Scott also stands to push for a bigger role and roster spot at training camp. Strength in numbers, according to first-year running backs coach Jemal Singleton.



"I think the days of of he’s an every-down back [are over],” Singleton said. "I think that word is a little skewed these days because of the speed, because of the contact, because it’s a tough position to play when you look at how many hits you can take and so when I look at an NFL room, it has to have all those abilities.

"Now how many guys it takes to get those abilities, that’s where the difference is. It could be two guys that you could get all those skillsets that you need. It could be three guys that you get all those skillsets that you need, but you’ve got to have some of those basic things in order to really I think have a good position room and a good position group.”

Singleton: ‘Start With Their Tape’

Singleton knows he’s replacing one of the most beloved assistant coaches in franchise history in Duce Staley. After being passed over for the head-coaching gig in Philly, Staley took his talents to Detroit.

Those are big shoes to fill, so Singleton plans to keep it simple. He’ll start by watching the tape on each one of his new players.

"Just start with their tape, and I go through each and every one of their carries or receptions, their pass blocking,” Singleton said. "And what I try to come up with is just look at some things of how can I really help them get better? And really that’s what I present to each of the players when we meet.”


Better yet, Singleton is very familiar with Sanders after meeting the Penn State product during his pro day in 2019. He worked out the young rusher, watched all his tape, and got to know him a bit through the interview process. Hopefully that helps the two forge a strong working relationship, including pointing out his strengths and weaknesses.

"It’s just being able to identify one little thing,” Singleton said of Sanders. "Maybe it’s just his toe point on an outside zone, maybe it’s just his shoulder level when he’s running inside zone, and just some of those little things. We’ve seen flashes that Miles has some good ability to him and I can’t wait to work with him and see him grow even more and get him to hopefully another level.”

Sanders Adjusting to New Position Coach

Meanwhile, Sanders has been adjusting well to the quirks of his new position coach. The third-year running back admitted it was "hard” to see Staley go but the new guy made a great first impression at the recently completed spring OTAs in early June.

"I love Coach Singleton,” Sanders said. "Getting to know him more and getting to be around him more, he’s not like Duce but his energy is through the roof though. His energy is definitely through the roof.”



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He does get way more carries than any other tailback, but he was injured 3 times last season when he was on pace for 240 carries so it's not surprising the team is reluctant to use him as a bell cow.

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I agree with Singletary. There is really no such thing as an every down back anymore. And to be honest I don't think you'd want 1 back to do it all. Have a variety of backs who have a variety of skill sets. Bring them in with more favourable match ups and keep everyone fresh. 

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