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Eagles Rookie Report Card: Miles Sanders shows some good and some bad

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Evaluating Philadelphia’s young players.

NFL: OCT 06 Jets at Eagles

The Eagles soundly rolled over the Jets on Sunday in a defensive clinic. New York’s combination of a young roster and a head coach who has no idea what he’s doing at any given moment led to 10 sacks and two touchdowns by the Eagles defense. In what was a cathartic win for the Eagles after weeks of nail biters, the team saw little contribution from their rookie class. But where was some.

Andre Dillard: N/A

Dillard played 11 total snaps between offense and special teams. He was used to spell Jason Peters at the end of the game. Dillard was fine, but the sample size is too small at this point to give him a grade. This will likely be the case for him over the entire season unless something happens to starters ahead of him.

Miles Sanders: C+

Miles Sanders evenly split snaps with Jordan Howard on Sunday (29 for each back) and made minimal contribution outside of an outstanding play in the pass game.

Sanders made the wheel route look easy and Carson Wentz threw a perfect pass for a 36-yard gain. Sanders caught three more passes for a combined 13 yards. Sanders is averaging a healthy 13.3 yards per catch this season, which ranks third out of 55 running backs who’ve played least 20% of their team’s offensive snaps this season (per Pro Football Focus). With only 10 catches so far, seeing Sanders continue to get a bigger role in the passing attack is important.

On the downside, Sanders had nine carries for only 15 yards and eight of those yards came on one run. While Sanders is partially to blame due to his lack of decisiveness, I also want to put some blame on play calling. Doug Pederson tends to run Sanders on outside zone and zone sweep plays that put more pressure on the rookie to make the right reads to get big runs. Against Green Bay, it was clear that getting Sanders going downhill and into space is actually best for him, though the team prefers to use Howard on those types of runs. While that is more than understandable, it would be nice to see them change it up with Sanders. That, however, does not change that Sanders needs to get better at turning up field on those zone plays.

Poll

Grade Miles Sanders’ Week 5 performance

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (18 votes)
  • 34%
    B
    (402 votes)
  • 54%
    C
    (635 votes)
  • 7%
    D
    (89 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (16 votes)
1160 votes total Vote Now

JJ Arcega-Whiteside: N/A

It would be fair to give Arcega-Whiteside a harsh grade here considering he has failed to see the field much after starting against the Lions. With only two snaps against the Jets, it is clear that the team is set on keeping Arcega-Whiteside buried on the bench. They do not think he is ready yet and that is concerning for a second round pick.

TJ Edwards: N/A

The undrafted rookie got his first defensive snaps (2) of the season and nothing catastrophic happened. Always a good sign. Edwards continues to be a key special teams contributor. I stand by the fact I think he will play his way into more defensive snaps as the season progresses.

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Other Eagles rookies:

Shareef Miller - Healthy scratch

Nate Herbig - Healthy scratch