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Will Eagles’ Miles Sanders make the leap to every-down back in Year 3? Training camp breakdown


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Will Eagles’ Miles Sanders make the leap to every-down back in Year 3? Training camp breakdown


Updated Jul 13, 2021; Posted Jul 13, 2021
The Eagles will return to the NovaCare Complex on July 27 for the start of training camp. Under new head coach Nick Sirianni, the Eagles will look to bounce back from a dreadful 4-11-1 campaign.
In the days leading up to training camp, NJ Advance Media will break down each position on the Eagles’ roster. From position battles to major storylines, we’ll take an in-depth look at each spot on the depth chart.


Our training camp preview series continues with a look at running back:
The Characters
Miles SandersThe former second-round pick is coming off a rough second season. After struggling with injuries and dropped passes throughout last year’s campaign, Sanders needs to bounce back in a big way. Looking to prove himself to a new coaching staff, Sanders needs to stay healthy this summer. - Lock
Kenny GainwellThe fifth-round rookie is likely to be used as a passing-game weapon early on. He could also see time as a returner on special teams. Nick Sirianni hopes Gainwell is his new Nyheim Hines. - Lock
Boston ScottAfter spending last season as the Eagles’ de facto No. 2 running back, Scott will see heavy competition this offseason. While he might fall down the depth chart, the Eagles are likely to favor his experience over upside in a bottom-of-the-roster battle. - On The Bubble
Kerryon JohnsonJohnson is coming off an underwhelming three-year stint with the Detroit Lions. While he’s among the best blocking backs in the league, Johnson needs to show versatility this summer to stick around in a major role. His chief competition is Scott. - On The Bubble
Jordan Howard: Johnson’s arrival likely took some wind out of Howard’s sails. Howard told local media that he didn’t see much interest as a free agent before re-signing with the Eagles this offseason. This summer could be his last stand. - On The Bubble
Jason Huntley: The Eagles claimed Huntley off waivers following last year’s cutdown deadline. The former staff then chose not to use him. Huntley will need to stick out on special teams, most notably as a returner, to stick around. - On The Bubble
Adrian KillinsThe second-year gadget back worked with the wide receivers throughout the offseason program. Given his versatility and rare speed, Killins is a legitimate dark horse to make the roster. - On The Bubble
Elijah Holyfield: Holyfield has been around since the final week of the 2019 season, and yet, he has never received a regular-season touch. Howard and Johnson are better, more experienced versions of Holyfield. - Long shot

Biggest Question: Will Miles Sanders handle the workload of a legitimate three-down back?

Sanders’ rookie season offered a glimpse of compelling upside. His second season gave the opposite impression. Now, Sanders needs to show what he actually is.
With a new staff in place, Sanders will have a fresh start. Considered a versatile player, Sanders will need to improve his blocking and receiving to keep that superlative.
While he’s flashed potential in all aspects of his game, he’s yet to really put everything together over a long stretch. He will need to do that this season to prove he deserves the "workhorse” title.

Battle to Watch: Boston Scott vs. Kerryon Johnson vs. Jordan Howard vs. Jason Huntley

This battle royale of backs will likely come down to two "winners.” The Eagles will probably keep four backs, with each having a specific role. The Eagles need to fill the "short-yardage” back job and the "utility” back role. Scott and Johnson are the favorites, while Howard and Huntley will look to make the most of a new staff.
Huntley and Scott have return experience, which could help their chances. Howard and Johnson are aided by their third-down potential as blockers.


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What is the definition of an every down back? I mean if the answer is a player who can play on every down then yes I think he can. He can pass protect (he's OK at it, not great). He can run the ball and he can catch the ball. 

But with Johnson, Howard, Gainwell and Scott (not all will make the roster) there's options and so if the answer is will he play 75% of the snaps then no I don't think so. 

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