Miles Sanders Filling in for DeSean Jackson with Explosive Plays
While WR DeSean Jackson continues to rehab an abdominal strain that has kept him out of the last four games, rookie RB Miles Sanders has had to fill the role of the offense's go-to field stretcher, and explosive play-maker.
The injuries to Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, the inconsistent play of Nelson Agholor, and the disappearance of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has forced Sanders to step up in providing chunk yardage for a compact offense.
The rookie has come through admirably with big plays through the air, on the ground, and with kickoff returns.
Over the last three weeks, Sanders has had at least one 30+ yard play in each game.
He has five to be exact.
Other targets have a handful of 20-yard plays but since Jackson's two touchdowns Week 1 vs Washington, Sanders has been the lone threat to break plays even bigger.
Despite not being used often in the passing game at Penn State, he has been the Eagles best receiving RB.
Sanders has 10 receptions for 133 yards including plays of 40, 36, and 33 yards.
The three receptions of 30+ yards is the most by a rookie RB in his first five games since at least 1991.
There is still work to be done in his decision making as a runner. When to stay disciplined inside committing to a gap, when to cut outside, and how many cuts to make before pinning his ears back and getting down hill.
However, the reliability of Sanders at least making one big play each game has been instrumental to the Eagles success.
Without his 67 yard kickoff return in Green Bay, Philadelphia may not keep it a one-score game. The Eagles could be looking at a 2-3 record instead of 3-2.
Even with the return of Jackson, having Sanders provide explosive plays is important to an offense that has more size than speed within the skill positions.
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