The entire narrative around the hiring of Nick Sirianni as the new Eagles head coach has been about fixing Carson Wentz. Most Eagles fans will tell you that’s the reason Sirianni was brought in, or that he can just be another puppet for Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman. Local media members have only fanned those flames with their reporting.
Obviously Wentz will benefit from a fresh start with a new offensive coaching staff around him. The marriage between him and Doug Pederson ran it’s course and it was clearly time for a change. But Wentz isn’t the only player that will benefit from a change of scenery in the NovaCare Complex.
In fact, I’d argue there are other players who will benefit more than Wentz with this new assortment of coaches.
The one player that immediately comes to mind is running back Miles Sanders. He was the best offensive weapon on the team last season, there’s no doubt about it. Bur despite being the most explosive player on the field, Sanders was severely under utilized.
He averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 2020, good for fourth best in the league among running backs. Yet, he only averaged 13 carries per game and only 5.5 carries in the second half. Pederson routinely went away from the running game in favor of an inept passing game, week after week.
That won’t happen under Sirianni. The Colts offense was one of the most balanced in the league last season, and they finished with the 11th ranked rushing attack in football. Rookie back Jonathan Taylor rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2020, and in the year prior, Marlon Mack racked up almost 1,100 rushing yards in just 14 games.
Sirianni understands the value of having a steady running game, and above all else, he understands the importance of sticking with what’s working. The Eagles current makeup of offensive players lends itself to having a run-first approach.
When their offensive line is fully healthy, they’re still one of the better fronts in the league. Wentz is also much more effective with a solid rushing attack behind him — as is any quarterback, really.
The Eagles also don’t have a plethora of talent on the outside at receiver. Relying on a young group on unproven players to win ball games isn’t sustainable, and that’s essentially what Pederson did every week last season.
Football analysts and pundits can overcomplicate the game sometimes, always trying to talk X’s and O’s and treating the field like a chess board. But at the end of the day, your best players will be the ones who bring home W’s on Sundays. Sanders is the Eagles best offensive player heading into next season, and I’m sure Sirianni will realize that once he puts on some of the tape.
Expect Sanders’ touches to go up dramatically next season, both in the rushing and passing game. He’s going to be the x-factor for the Birds offensive attack next season, and I know Sirianni won’t shy away from feeding him the rock.