January 23, 2021
Now that the Philadelphia Eagles have found their new head coach, we'll turn our attention to which of the players will stay, and which ones will go. Today we'll look at the running backs.
Previous "Stay or Go" analysis:
After making at least a solid case for Offensive Rookie of the Year consideration in 2019, there were big expectations for Sanders heading into 2020. While I think we would all agree that Sanders was a rare good offensive player for the Eagles during their dreadful 2020 season, it can also be argued that he fell short of some lofty preseason expectations. His rushing numbers in 2019 and 2020:
Sanders had three runs of at least 74 yards in 2020, and as a result, he finished with 5.3 yards per carry. Those three long runs all counted, of course, and one of them helped beat the Saints, so we're not diminishing them in any way, but if you take those three runs away, Sanders averaged just under 4.0 yards per carry on the season.
As a receiver, Sanders did not look natural like he did as a rookie. In the stat sheet, he only hauled in 28 grabs for 197 yards (7.0 YPC) and 0 TDs after making 50 catches for 509 yards (10.2 YPC) and 3 TDs in 2019.
It will be interesting to see how involved the running backs are in the passing game under Nick Sirianni. Colts running backs accounted for 114 receptions in 2020. By comparison, Eagles running backs had 59 receptions. The Eagles need Sanders to become a threat in that area again, like he was as a rookie.
#JimmyVerdict: Obviously, Sanders is a rare good young player on this roster, and isn't going anywhere. Stay.
Looking up Scott's numbers on the 2020 season, it was maybe a mild surprise to see that he averaged 4.7 yards per carry on 80 rushes. He also chipped in 25 receptions for 212 yards, though it was on 36 targets, for a less than impressive 5.9 yards per target.
In 2019, Scott showed that perhaps his best attribute was his effectiveness on screens. Unfortunately for him, the Eagles' screen game was atrocious in 2020.
The Eagles do need to find a better kick returner, as Scott averaged a paltry 21.1 yards per return, and seemed to trip over an invisible wire at the 20 yard line on the bulk of his returns.
#JimmyVerdict: Scott's contract is up, but because he only has two accrued seasons in the NFL, he'll be an exclusive rights free agent. The short-short explanation on what that means is that the Eagles will have the option to retain Scott for very little money, which they surely will. Stay.
21 carries for 75 yards (3.6 YPC) in 2020, and 5 catches for 25 yards, in addition to some special teams duty.
#JimmyVerdict: We'll always have the Super Bowl, but it's probably time to find a younger running back to develop at the RB3 spot. Go.
Huntley has some speed and he was a good returner in college, but he was only active for five games this season after the Eagles claimed him off of waivers after 53-man cutdowns.
#JimmyVerdict: Huntley will get a longer look this year in training camp, after spending his 2020 offseason with the Lions. But certainly, he is not a lock to make the team. Will have a chance to win a job in camp.
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