Should the Eagles change their RB usage?
The Eagles Week 1 victory over Washington was both encouraging and discouraging when it came to Doug Pederson's plan at running back.
How the offense would rotate Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles, and Corey Clement was one of the bigger questions heading into 2019.
Against the Redskins Sunday afternoon, Sanders and Sproles were the featured backs.
The Eagles had a successful day on the ground, rushing for 123 yards. It was great to see Sanders lead the team in both snaps and touches. Media, players, and fans alike have said all summer that he runs different than the others.
His explosiveness, vision, patience, and cut ability made him worthy of a 2nd round pick.
While his stat line says 11 carries for just 25 yards, Sanders showcased that ability on multiple big runs. One would have went for a touchdown if a penalty didn't bring it back.
Pederson and Duce Staley were right to feature Sanders from the jump. A lot of people didn't believe they would so early.
He should have more than 12 touches in the following weeks. Considering the Penn State product made multiple key pass-blocks on third down, it wouldn't be surprising to see them take that route.
The issue that took place on Sunday was the lack of touches for Howard and Clement, while Sproles saw the large role he is used to receiving since 2014.
Although Sproles averaged 5.2 YPC on 9 carries (47 rushing yards), he was the least efficient offensive player according to Ben Baldwin of The Athletic.
This has been the problem with the heavy usage of Sproles over the years. It isn't that he doesn't still have the explosiveness that might get him into Canton one day.
The issue is the complacency his presence puts into the coaches play-calling, and the quarterback's decision making.
There isn't much creativity with his targets. There is also a comfort in his abilities that can lead to quarterbacks settling for check-downs instead of giving someone like Alshon Jeffery a chance.
On three different third-downs in the first half, Sproles got the ball and failed to convert the play into a first down.
They weren't all the veteran's fault. One was a pitch eight yards behind the line of scrimmage that was blown up. Another was a check-down from Carson Wentz on third and long which never stood a chance (unless Sproles could make four defenders miss).
Sproles made some impressive plays in the second half behind a rolling offensive line. In spots, he can make any play a big one.
However, the way he is used, and the amount he is used just isn't the best thing for the offense anymore.
There is a reason the front office traded for Howard and drafted Sanders.
They showed why on Sunday. Howard had 6 carries for 44 yards averaging 7.6 YPC.
More of Howard, Sanders, and even Clement. Less of Sproles. That should be the plan moving forward.
It looks like at least Sanders has that in his future. For the sake of the offense, hopefully the workload of the other three balances itself out.
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