Since Miles Sanders entered the NFL in 2019, it always felt like his usage rate was way too low for the amount of talent he possesses.
The Eagles last head coach, Doug Pederson, overly relied on a passing game that was non-existent. With Nick Sirianni now leading the charge, coming from an Indianapolis Colts offense that seemed to prioritize a balanced attack, it seemed like Sanders was finally going to be a focal point for this offense.
Through four games, his usage rate is alarmingly low and it’s decreased in each of the first four games. The amount of times Sanders got the ball on Sunday against Kansas City increased a bit from the previous week, but by no means was it substantial.
Sanders carried the ball seven times for just 13 yards against the Chiefs, but he did manage to accumulate 34 yards on three receptions. The week prior, Sanders touched the ball just five times total.
The third-year back has only seen an average of 9.25 rushing attempts per game and is on pace for about 157 carries on the year. That would be the lowest total of Sanders’ career so far. And that’s with an extra game on the schedule. He’s on pace for just over 46 receptions, but that still wouldn’t be his career-best of 50 in 2019.
Sirianni clearly values using both of his running backs and Kenny Gainwell has done a great job as a rookie so far. But there’s no reason to limit Sanders’ carries so drastically by throwing the ball all over the yard.
On Sunday, Jalen Hurts had 58 drop backs. That’s too many for even the best of quarterbacks, let alone an obvious game manager in Hurts. It goes without saying that the team would be better suited utilizing a balanced attack on offense, especially when the team enters the red zone. While inside the 10-yard line on Sunday, Sirianni only dialed up two designed runs.
With a mobile quarterback in Hurts and two capable back in Sanders and Gainwell, the refusal to give them opportunities down by the goal line is mind boggling.
Not only does Sanders deserve to see an increase in his usage moving forward, Sirianni’s offense would likely function at a higher rate if Sanders became a focal point. It would benefit the entire offense if Sanders got his due.