JACKSONVILLE – Miles Sanders feels it coming. Every day the game gets a little slower and he becomes just a scooch more comfortable with the technique he needs to perfect. On Thursday night in a 24-10 preseason win over the Jaguars, Sanders showed a glimpse of his enormous abilities.
Sanders set the tone with a 12-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage as he picked up 31 yards on five carries. Along the way, Sanders showed everything the Eagles knew he had – he made defenders miss, he displayed great vision, he was patient, and he ran hard and fast to and through the hole. The Eagles cranked up the running game in the victory with 139 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries and Sanders, who got the start, was a star of the show.
"In practice I've just been getting better and better, focusing on the little things I've got to work on," Sanders said. "I felt like I was more patient back there, more comfortable, so it was a good day."
Sanders also had a 16-yard run on which he showed patience to allow a hole to develop and then burst to get outside and turn a corner. In a very short period of time, Sanders has come a long way and the Eagles aren't shy about feeding him the football and giving him a lot of responsibility. Along the way, Sanders showed that he can be trusted in the pass-blocking phase of things, too, as he picked up a blitzing defender and stoned him, allowing quarterback Clayton Thorson to have that extra second to get a fourth-down pass out to wide receiver Greg Ward on what turned out to be a 38-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
"That made me happy," Sanders said. "I know how important that is and I heard the call, made the adjustment, and did my job. I feel like I'm decent at that and getting better every day. I get excited when I pick up blitzes – picking up the right guy, listening to the calls, and going off that. I feel like I'm getting better every day."
A second-round draft pick, Sanders is working in tandem with Jordan Howard through the first half of this preseason and they've worked well together. It's still early, but Sanders is off to exactly the kind of start the Eagles hoped for.
"Long way to go," he said. "I have to improve the little things, my technique and things like that, but I'm making progress. I just have to keep working hard."