Sanders missed the previous three games with an ankle injury suffered against the Las Vegas Raiders Week 7. He practiced all week and is expected to reassume his role as Philadelphia’s lead back.
“If Miles is healthy and ready to go, he’s our starter,” coach Nick Sirianni said Wednesday.
The distribution of snaps, however, could look different compared to when Sanders was last in the lineup. Jordan Howard, Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell proved to be an effective trio in Sanders’ absence. The Eagles backs had 91 carriers (30 per game) for 427 yards over the last three games.
Howard has been a big part of that, racking up 211 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries (5.1 ypc) over that span. He spent the early part of the year on the practice squad, but figures to be part of the rotation moving forward even with Sanders back in the fold.
“I think when you have some guys that have been running the ball well, that’s a good problem to have,” Sirianni said. “And it speaks to the depth we have here in the running back room, in particular. So, a great job by [Eagles general manager] Howie [Roseman] and his staff of getting the players in here and having depth, because we know it’s a long season, it’s a 17-game season. You’re going to have some bumps and bruises throughout the way. So, it’s important that the guys who step in for the starters are ready to go. I think that Jordan and Boston and Kenny have done a good job stepping in, filling that role with Miles [Sanders]’ absence.”
Sanders, 24, ran 63 times for 300 yards (4.8 average) and added 19 catches for 118 yards in seven games before getting hurt. The Eagles were in the process of changing their offensive approach right as he went down. In Weeks 1-7, the backs totaled 96 carries (13.7 per game) for 444 yards compared to 125 carries (42 per game) for 626 rushing yards in Weeks 8-10.