Why Miles Sanders lack of carries might be on purpose
Arguably the most considerable criticism towards the Philadelphia Eagles following their blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday was Nick Sirianni’s refusal to run the football. Miles Sanders and Kenny Gainwell ran the football a combined three times, the lowest in Eagles history. Meanwhile, Sanders and Gainwell are outstanding statistically, with Miles Sanders recording 24 yards on one of his two carries.
Although the easiest rationale for this decision is that Nick Sirianni is just a lousy play-caller, which is the case, there could be a deeper meaning. Right before the Eagles hired Sirianni this offseason, some articles discussed the turmoil between Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie against Doug Pederson regarding these same issues.
According to The Athletic, back in 2019, the Eagles won two crucial games against the Green Bay Packers and the Buffalo Bills primarily through the running game. After both wins, Jeffrey Lurie approached Pederson, upset that he didn’t pass the football enough even though they won. One of Pederson’s most prominent faults the following season was, you guessed it, refusing to use Miles Sanders in the running game.
Miles Sanders is a very good running back, consistently ranking amongst the best in the league in yards per carry and other stats while rushing behind the best offensive line in football when healthy. The Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line is amongst the worst in the NFL with all of these injuries, and there was ample time to establish a run game, but Sirianni refused.
Instead of admitting his faults, Sirianni doubled down on his rationale, saying that the numbers were skewed because of Jalen Hurts rushes. Hurts’ carries were read options that were doomed before the snap with Dallas stacking the line of scrimmage, and anyone watching knew it wouldn’t be a successful play.
When the Eagles hired a no-name in Nick Sirianni, questions rose if he was a puppet for Lurie and Roseman, who would do what they want on the field without hesitation. It doesn’t seem like that is a guarantee just yet, but it’ll be hard to consider otherwise if things continue down this trajectory.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports