The Philadelphia Eagles will be without their top offensive playmaker in the season opener against the Washington Football Team, as Miles Sanders has been ruled out by the team and will not travel to Washington. Sanders, who has been battling a hamstring injury since the first week of training camp, was limited this week in practice before earning a questionable tag for Sunday’s season opener. The Eagles didn’t reveal much regarding Sanders’ status leading up to Sunday’s contest; head coach Doug Pederson said Sanders was doing “extremely well” prior to Friday’s practice. 

With Sanders unavailable, Philadelphia will go with a backfield of Boston Scott and Corey Clement for Sunday’s opener. Scott played a major role in the Eagles clinching the NFC East title last December, emerging from the practice squad and finishing with 61 carries for 245 yards and five touchdowns (four yards per carry), while also recording 24 catches for 204 yards (8.5 yards per catch). Clement played four games last season but didn’t record a carry before he was sent to injured reserve with a lingering shoulder injury. Now healthy, Clement emerged as the No. 3 running back on the Eagles depth chart but will have an expanded role in the offense for the first time since early in the 2018 season. 

The Eagles are going to significantly miss Sanders in the opener, especially given how impressive he was in his rookie campaign. Sanders set the Eagles’ rookie record for rushing yards with 818 (4.6 yards per carry) and caught 50 passes for 509 yards (10.2 yards per catch). He finished eighth in the NFL in all-purpose yards with 1,641 and recorded six touchdowns, but those are just the basic numbers behind a running back who split touches with Jordan Howard for half a season. 

Not only did Sanders finish second behind Austin Ekeler in yards per catch (minimum 50 receptions) in his rookie season, but he is just one of 32 running backs in league history to catch 50-plus passes in his rookie year just one of just 21 running backs to surpass 500 receiving yards. He is also seventh in league history in yards per catch amongst running backs in their rookie seasons (minimum 50 receptions). 

Sanders ranked third in the NFL in yards per touch (5.8) last year behind only Christian McCaffrey and Ekeler. He was one of only six running backs to produce 650 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns from Week 11 to Week 16 (his six starts). He was only the seventh rookie in NFL history to surpass 800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards and joined Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara as one of just three rookie running backs since 2007 to post over 1,300 scrimmage yards and 300 return yards. 

Philadelphia will have to rely on its speed at receiver to put points on the board in the absence of Sanders, but Scott and Clement have shown the ability to make big plays before. How Pederson handles the pass-run ratio becomes a significant storyline in Sunday’s opener. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here