It's State the Obvious Week in Philadelphia.
Following the Eagles' loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Thursday, in which Miles Sanders earned just nine carries for 56 yards, offensive coordinator Shane Steichen noted that the offense needs to get the running back more touches.
"Miles is a heck of a back," Steichen said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We've got to get him going."
It's not just getting Sanders carries. It's when those carries come. Too often through six weeks, the Eagles have begun the game ignoring the lead running back.
Last week in the first half, Sanders had just one carry for one yard. Of course, the Bucs are the top run defense in the NFL, so one might understand why Philly would avoid pounding their head against that wall. Yet that doesn't explain Sanders getting only three first-half carries in Week 5 (Carolina), five in Week 4 (Kansas City), or two in Week 3 (Dallas).
Sanders got loose on the final drive against a Tampa D that entered the game allowing just 45.8 rush yards per game, netting 55 yards on eight carries in the second half.
The Eagles excuse the lack of carries for Sanders as a product of the RPO and read options that put the decision to hand off to the back onto the shoulders of young quarterback Jalen Hurts. With the QB struggling, more traditional handoffs might take pressure off Hurts, who has accounted for 85.7 percent of the Eagles total gross yards (passing + rushing + receiving), the highest rate by any player this season.
"There's a lot of detail that goes into it because when you start running zone read a lot, teams are going to play you different," Steichen said. "When you're looking at teams and you're scheming up certain things and you see what they're doing defensively, they're not going to always play the same way because of the quarterback we have.
"I'm not going to get into too much scheme on how teams are doing it, but teams do play it differently when you're running that type of stuff."
For the season, Sanders has just 57 carries, 270 rush yards, 18 receptions, and 121 receiving yards.
Eagles RBs are only averaging 13.0 carries per game in 2021 (last in the NFL) despite averaging 4.7 yards per carry (6th in NFL).
"We're looking at our self-scout," coach Nick Sirianni said. "We have more time obviously this week to be able to not only go into the run-pass ratio of things, but also into marrying some plays together and [discovering] what your identity is as a team.
"We are growing, we are finding it out more and more each week, and obviously, we're accelerating that as much as we possibly can to put our guys in the best position we possibly can put them in."