The Facts: Miles Sanders is entering a pivotal fourth season in his NFL career, and he's certainly not taking it lightly.The former second-round pick out of Penn State knows 2022 could significantly alter the trajectory of his career, which began on a promising note but has encountered plenty of frustration in the last two seasons. Should Sanders produce at a level of which he's proven capable, he'll give the Eagles a difficult decision to make on retaining him beyond his rookie contract. But he'll need a legitimate workload -- something he hasn't seen in the last two seasons -- to prove his value to general manager Howie Roseman. "I've still got a lot to prove," Sanders said. "A lot of people don't respect all the work I've done, and I've still got a lot to prove. I'm taking it real personal this year. Just find a way to get noticed and command the respect, I'm not taking no for an answer this year. Just stay healthy, just be available, that's my main goal this year."
Diehards Line: Sanders was the embodiment of Eagles fans' frustrations with Philadelphia's offense early in its first season under Nick Sirianni. The Eagles had become a unit that seemingly refused to run the football, even with a playmaker like Sanders available in their backfield. That changed, of course, midway through the 2022 season, when Sirianni shifted his team's offensive identity toward the run. Philadelphia would eventually finish atop the league in rushing yards per game. Sanders benefitted accordingly, breaking 120 rushing yards twice in Weeks 13 and 14 on his way to a 754-yard season. But Sanders did so on only 137 carries and failed to score a rushing touchdown in 2021. Health issues kept him from playing a full season, forcing him to miss five games. In his place, Jordan Howard, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell all saw opportunities to produce, and Jalen Hurts' development as a dual-threat runner resulted in the second-year quarterback leading the team in rushing yards with a production rate that was eerily similar to Sanders. Theoretically, the Eagles would be just fine without Sanders, based on their 2021 output. But Sanders isn't taking such a thought lightly. "I want to be the best. That's what I train to be," he said. "I want to be the best, period. I exhaust myself working hard to try to get to that point. I'm taking it a little more personal this year."