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September 15, 2023

Eagles snap count analysis: Week 2 vs. Vikings

Breaking down the Eagles' snap count from the Thursday Night Football win over the Vikings.

Eagles NFL
091523AJBrown Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Brown

In their Week 2 win over the Minnesota Vikings, the Philadelphia Eagles played 77 snaps on offense and 58 on defense. Let's just get right to the snap counts, and some notes.


• 77 snaps: Jalen Hurts

Analysis: On his "Philly Special" podcast, Sheil Kapadia noted, "There have been 600 quarterback performances going back to the start of last season... [Hurts' performance against the Vikings] ranked 593 [out of 600 in success rate]."

Sheil added, "The first two weeks of the season, his success rates have been lower than in any game all of last season."

What is success rate? Per Sheil:

"I always like to look at success rate early in the season, because it takes out the outliers. Just to explain to listeners who are saying, 'Stop being such a nerd, explain to me quickly what that means.' It just takes out the outliers, like a turnover, an explosive play. It just looks at... was every dropback successful or not in terms of EPA, which is "expected points added." So it's an efficiency stat. It doesn't measure explosiveness, it doesn't measure your terrible plays, it says 'How often is something good happening when you drop back to pass?'"

Basically, what that means is that when the Eagles have dropped back to pass this season, it has been a lot more likely that the play did not work than it did work, which obviously also passes the eye test.

Running back

• 58 snaps: D'Andre Swift

• 10 snaps: Boston Scott

• 9 snaps: Rashaad Penny

Analysis: Some of the Eagles' offensive linemen gave credit to the running backs for maximizing the yardage on their rushes, and then some.

"I think most of it was just the running backs doing a great job," said Cam Jurgens of the Eagles' big game on the ground. "They played their asses off and found holes and made runs better than what they could have been, and they made us look good."

Typically in recent years, whenever an Eagles running back has had a big game as a runner their success has (fairly) been attributed to the play of the offensive line. You probably have to go back to the LeSean McCoy years to find a back who had big games but maybe didn't have gaping holes to run through and could create on his own.

The offensive line played very well Thursday night, but Swift also found yards that most recent starting backs would not have. If he can stay healthy and explosive and the Eagles don't overvalue Kenny Gainwell like they did Week 1, Swift could be in for a monster season. 

Wide receiver

• 77 snaps: DeVonta Smith

• 74 snaps: A.J. Brown

• 35 snaps: Olamide Zaccheaus

• 11 snaps: Quez Watkins

Analysis: Smith made two huge plays that led to points. His 54-yard catch led to a field goal, and his 63-yard TD was, you know, a TD.

There was a moment during the game where TV cameras caught A.J. Brown seemingly voicing displeasure with Jalen Hurts on the sideline. I love the framing of this tweet below. 

"Had to be separated," lol.

This isn't the first time that Brown has had a moment like this while playing for the Eagles, and it almost certainly won't be the last. So has Smith. Great receivers want the ball and when they don't get it they get frustrated. 

Of course, when it goes too far it can be disruptive and have a negative impact on the team. See Terrell Owens, at like a half dozen stops over his career, for example. Brown isn't Owens, but he probably does require some level of emotional management and a commitment to making sure he gets his targets.

Through the first three quarters, Brown only had three targets. Against a team with weak corners that he no doubt felt he could/would beat, thus helping his team, his frustration is understandable. However, the team had a multiple score lead when he voiced his displeasure, so the optics aren't great.

On that first drive after the sideline episode, Brown got three targets. One was a touchdown called back for a holding call, and another other was a deep ball on the money from Hurts that was very clear pass interference that went uncalled. He did make two big plays. They just didn't count.

Ultimately, the Eagles have the enviable challenge of keeping three great pass catchers in Brown, Smith, and Dallas Goedert happy.

Tight end

• 74 snaps: Dallas Goedert

• 27 snaps: Jack Stoll

• 10 snaps: Grant Calcaterra

Analysis: Goedert led the team with 7 targets. He had 6 catches for 22 yards. Fantasy football managers probably aren't thrilled with Goedert so far, but his production will come. If you can get some sucker to give him up for very little, now is the time to strike.

Stoll had a few nice blocks that I noticed on the live watch. I can understand why the staff likes him.

Offensive line

• 77 snaps each: Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Cam Jurgens, and Lane Johnson

Analysis: The starting five has played every snap so far this season. They also played better against the Vikings than they did in a rare shaky performance against the Pats in Week 1. In the run game, they didn't do anything tricky. They just lined up and mashed.

It's such an incredible luxury to be able to lean on the run game like that when the passing game isn't clicking.

Edge defenders

• 40 snaps: Josh Sweat

• 39 snaps: Haason Reddick

• 17 snaps: Brandon Graham

• 14 snaps: Derek Barnett

• 6 snaps: Nolan Smith

#Analysis: Sweat was great, as noted in our 10 awards. Reddick has been quiet through the first two games. There's little doubt that not having full use of one of his hands is affecting his play.

Interior defensive line

• 44 snaps: Fletcher Cox

• 28 snaps: Jalen Carter

• 23 snaps: Milton Williams

• 17 snaps: Jordan Davis

• 7 snaps: Marlon Tuipulotu

• 6 snaps: Kentavius Street

Analysis: After being shut out as a rookie, Davis had a sack in his second straight game. Here was that sack, where he walked the center into the backfield, who tripped up the tight end, who knocked Kirk Cousins over:

That is beastly stuff. He also won a rep with impressive quickness:

It wasn't "a Jordan Davis game," seeing as the Vikings more or less abandoned the run from the coin toss on and he only played 17 snaps, but he still made an impact. He is becoming more than just a run stuffer.


• 55 snaps: Nicholas Morrow

• 53 snaps: Zach Cunningham

• 4 snaps: Christian Elliss

Analysis: Morrow went from a guy who didn't even make the team to the guy wearing the "green dot" helmet in a flash. I would not have guessed that he would play almost every snap, while Elliss would only play four.

I'll save my critiques of the back seven in the passing game for when I rewatch.

Cornerback and safety

• 58 snaps each: Darius Slay, Josh Jobe, and Justin Evans

• 53 snaps: Terrell Edmunds

• 39 snaps: Mario Goodrich

• 13 snaps: Avonte Maddox

• 4 snaps: Sydney Brown

• 1 snap each: Kelee Ringo and Eli Ricks

Analysis: With James Bradberry and Reed Blankenship both out, and then Maddox leaving with a shoulder injury, the Eagles' secondary depth was tested, and they struggled. Again, I'll save my more pointed kudos and criticisms here for the rewatch.

When healthy, Maddox is one of the league's best slot corners. He has the speed and change of direction skills to stick with shifty slot receivers, and he's feisty both in run support and as a blitzer. However, there have been times that he has struggled against bigger receivers, and he has had difficulty staying on the field throughout his five NFL seasons.

In 2022, Maddox missed games at three different junctures during the season: 

  1. He missed the Eagles' Week 4 and 5 games vs. the Jaguars and Cardinals.
  2. He missed the Eagles' Week 10, 11, 12, and 13 games vs. the Commanders, Colts, Packers, and Titans.
  3. He missed the Eagles' Week 17, 18, and divisional round games against the Saints, Giants, and the Giants again.

To be determined how long Maddox's shoulder injury will keep him sidelined, but I do think a corner capable of playing in the slot should be on the Eagles' shopping list in the 2024 draft.

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