How Miles Sanders of the Eagles reinvented the way he runs

How Miles Sanders of the Eagles reinvented the way he runs


Miles Sanders seems different.

And if you don’t think so, go back and watch some tape of Sanders in his first or second year.

Watch him swing and dance freely and strike things out as he tries to hit a home run.

Then watch him take the ball and move forward this year.

Both versions of Miles Sanders are extremely talented. The current version is very effective.

“Just keeping it simple is just reading and responding to the reading,” Sanders said Thursday. “It’s that simple. Knowing what I read and reacting to it and being more decisive.

Through two games, Sanders is seventh in the NFL with 88 yards per game and fourth with 5.9 yards per carry. He is 10th in tries but fifth in first downs.

But perhaps the most amazing number is three. That’s Sanders with no yards or less on 30 carries. He has two carries for minus-one yards and minus-one-two.

He has gradually dropped his negative fielding percentage from 18 percent as a rookie to 16 percent in 2020 to 12 percent to 10 percent.

He’s changed his running back, and while he’s not hitting as many big runs as he used to, he’s become a better back.

In two years playing in Doug Pederson’s offense, Sanders had five rushes of at least 40 yards. He has nothing in two years in Nick Siriani’s offense.

However, he averaged 4.9 yards in the first two years and 5.6 in the last two years.

If he hits 30 homers but hits .227, he looks like he’s gone from slugging .320.

“He’s been great,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. “He’s going to start up front with that offensive line, but (the key) is his patience and the vision to hit him and get those yards when he’s tight.

“Sometimes it’s narrow in there, the line of cruelty. He does a great job of sticking his feet to the ground and getting through those gaps. It can be ugly two or three meters, but it is not a negative run.

What clicked for Sanders? There is nothing. He says he’s becoming more comfortable primarily as an NFL player and self-scout.

“A little bit of the film, but mostly just being in my fourth year in the league and having a feel for a lot of the plays when I run them,” he said. “It’s really simple. I made it as simple as possible. Read and respond to my reading and that’s what gives me success.

Jason Kelce Sanders has played center in every professional game he’s played, the good, the bad, and everything in between.

He has watched Sanders’ progress closely.

“You see him get more and more comfortable and his vision increases every year,” Kells said.

“He’s always had the talent, he’s always been an incredibly talented player, and you just see that. The more you express something and the more you do something, the more confident you become and usually the more confident you are, the faster decisions are made and that probably plays a big role.

“Also, we’re a better running team overall than when he was young. Not that we were bad then, but now – especially with the quarterback we have – we get a lot of good looks.

Sanders, who rushed for 90 yards against the Lions and 82 against the Vikings, scored his 500th career Monday night and his 5.1 career average is now second only to Randall Cunningham (6.6) and Donovan in franchise history. McNab (5.7)

His average of 5.6 over the past two years is tied in the NFL with Jalen Hurts and Nick Chubb (prior to Thursday night).

His 5.1 career mark is tied for 7th-highest among running backs in NFL history and surpasses all Hall of Famers except Bobby Mitchell and Jim Brown.

And it’s still getting better.

“Of course, I always want to read the right one and sometimes you have to be patient,” he said.

“These last two games, I’ve been rushing some runs and giving up some yards just watching film out there, but I’ve finished with the amount of yards I’ve gotten every game. It’s just a matter of continuing to get the feel and learning exactly what the line wants to do. Until it blocks the game and someone reads it and executes it.



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