Afterdue to a hamstring injury, Eagles coach Doug Pederson revealed on Tuesday that Philadelphia will also be holding Sanders out of mandatory minicamp, which runs for the next three days (June 11-13).
“I’m still going to hold Miles this week,” Pederson said. “Obviously, it hurts a little bit that he’s not getting the physical rep, but, I don’t want to risk him any further. We’ll wait until [training] camp to get him out there, but he’s getting a lot of mental reps: [Eagles running backs coach] Duce [Staley] is drilling him and grilling him in the classroom.”
Although Staley likes the way Sanders has been working in the classroom, the Eagles assistant coach did admit that it can be tough for a rookie to not be on the field during their first offseason with the team.
“I think it’s significant for any player that misses time, just as far as getting out there and learning their teammates and being able to understand how they play the game and how they think,” Staley said recently, via Phillyvoice.com. “But as far as playbook-wise, no. He knows the playbook. We get a chance to have extra meeting time, which I enjoy. So he’s able to come in and I’m able to quiz him, and I’m able to take him through different games, film, etc. So that part of it, no, he’s cool.”
On one hand, the fact that Sanders has to sit out isn’t really that concerning. As long as he’s healthy for training camp, he’ll be getting plenty of reps then and will likely be given a chance to earn the job as the Eagles’ bell cow out of the backfield. After all, Philly didn’t spend a second-round pick on him to let him sit on the bench.
That being said, there’s no guarantee that the hamstring is going to heal as fast as the Eagles would like. For one, there was some speculation that Sanders would be able to return before the end of May, but that didn’t happen, and now he’s going to miss half of June.
Also, if there’s one injury the Eagles training staff has seemingly struggled with over the past two years, it’s hamstring injuries. The Philadelphia Inquirer actually wrote an article in November that noted how many players were missing games due to hamstring injuries and how uncommon that was around that NFL. The Eagles’ medical staff underwent a dramatic overhaul during the 2018 offseason with three people being let go, so it will be interesting to keep tabs on the pace of Sanders’ recovery.
Sanders is just one of several Eagles running backs who are currently banged up. Corey Clement (knee) and Josh Adams (shoulder) have missed most of the the offseason as they continue to recover from injuries. With those three out, that’s left Jordan Howard, Wendell Smallwood, Boston Scott and Donnel Pumphrey to carry most of the offseason load.
As things stand now, Howard and Sanders will likely go into training camp at the top of the Eagles’ depth chart at running back and the player who impresses more will likely be the player who ends up getting more snaps in the backfield during the 2019 season.