Is Miles Sanders Bouncing Too Many Runs to the Outside?

Did Miles Sanders do too much bouncing to the outside on Sunday?

Eagles coaches saw the same thing you did, a couple of opportunities for the rookie running back to hit the hole and go north/south instead of east/west.

Two quotes regarding that this week, one from offensive coordinator Mike Groh, who spoke to media on Tuesday afternoon:

Q. RB Miles Sanders tried to bounce a few outside. It seems normal of a rookie, is that something where you would like to see him be a little bit more decisive? (David Murphy)

MIKE GROH: I think it’s all part of the process, really. That’s an excellent observation. There were some moments in there where you’d like him to stick his foot in the ground and get north, and he can’t outrun everybody in this league like he might have been able to do in the past. That’s the learning experience of a young player. We know he’s going to learn for it. It’s been pointed out and he’ll be better for it. We’ve got a ton of confidence in the guy and he’s going to be a really good running back.

It’s true. You would like to see him “stick his foot in the ground and get north.”

We looked at the Julio Jones touchdown play using All-22 film this morning, and the angles we have available from that tape also provide a good understanding of what running backs are looking seeing when they scan the field.

Here’s a good example of Sanders trying to take one outside:

No gain on the play.

The blocking isn’t fantastic, but Zach Ertz does get enough of Takkarist McKinley to move him inside a bit. Nelson Agholor has Keanu Neal occupied about three yards up the field, so Sanders probably could have followed him into a four yard gain, but instead tried to go outside and was wrapped up by Isaiah Oliver.

Here’s the point where Sanders has to decide whether he’s going to try to push forward and take what’s given, or bounce it outside:

Doug Pederson was also asked a Miles Sanders question this week, and had this to say:

Q. What has prevented RB Miles Sanders from getting off to a faster start and where is your confidence level in him right now? (Dave Zangaro)

DOUG PEDERSON: I’m really confident in Miles. I think the more opportunities he gets, he’ll get better. He missed some things, a young running back, missed a couple of the holes. A couple of the holding calls he tried to bounce outside, and we got a couple holding calls which are going to happen. There are some things that he can get better, but our confidence in him is really high, extremely high and we are going to continue to play him and get him the reps.

Here’s a run I liked, one that shows a bit more of that north/south running that Eagles fans were hoping for. In this clip, with the Birds playing from under center, he makes a nice cut in the backfield, skirts the defensive tackle, and then just plows forward for a five yard gain:

That’s more of what Sanders showed on film at Penn State, those one move, plant-and-go type of runs. There’s a little bit of Shady McCoy in there.
Maybe he’s been trying to do too much as a rookie with a prime opportunity to carry the ball, but you see some flashes showing that Miles Sanders certainly has the skill set to be a successful NFL player.


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One Response

  1. Thanks for this. My neighbor Glen is a big Penn State fan and I just know he’s probably following Miles career now as an Eagle. You mind if I send him the link?

    – Kate

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