November 10, 2023
On the day after the Philadelphia Eagles play football games, we typically publish the team's snap counts. Since the Eagles are on their bye week, let's take a look at their year-to-date snap counts, and analyze what playing time trends we can look forward to the rest of the season.
• 640 snaps: Jalen Hurts
Analysis: Hurts has not yet missed a snap so far in 2023. It looked like he might after taking a shot to his already injured knee by DeMarcus Lawrence in the Eagles' win over the Cowboys, but he went back in for the Eagles' final offensive snap of the first half, and he played the entire second half. Hurts' toughness should be unquestioned.
The Eagles have not yet needed backup Marcus Mariota, who did not look sharp in the preseason games.
• 387 snaps: D'Andre Swift
• 229 snaps: Kenny Gainwell
• 24 snaps: Boston Scott
• 11 snaps: Rashaad Penny
Analysis: Gainwell began the season as the Eagles' RB1, but that quickly changed when it was clear that Swift is the more dynamic runner. Swift got out to a fast start, but has tailed off over the last month.
The Eagles' rushing attack as a whole was dominant earlier this season. Lately? Not so much.
The Eagles don't seem to have much use for Scott or Penny in their offense. Prior to the start of the season, as a bigger back Penny felt like a strong candidate to get carries in the second half when the offense was trying to salt away games, but that has not happened, as he has only dressed for two games so far.
• 622 snaps: DeVonta Smith
• 594 snaps: A.J. Brown
• 310 snaps: Olamide Zaccheaus
• 115 snaps: Quez Watkins
• 50 snaps: Julio Jones
• 19 snaps: Britain Covey
• 0 snaps: Devon Allen
Analysis: The Eagles' wide receivers' stats:
Brown and Smith are combining for 88.4 percent of the Eagles' wide receiver targets, 90.1 percent of the receptions, and 92.8 percent of the yardage. Let's just say that the passing game would be in some trouble if either of those guys were to go down.
Watkins has missed six games so far with a hamstring injury. He is eligible to come off of injured reserve at any time.
Jones had a red zone play drawn up for him against the Commanders, and he scored on it. It'll be interesting to see if/how his role evolves as the season progresses.
• 572 snaps: Dallas Goedert
• 205 snaps: Jack Stoll
• 53 snaps: Grant Calcaterra
• 6 snaps: Albert Okwuegbunam
Analysis: The Eagles will be missing Goedert for a bit, and his absence comes during the most difficult portion of the Eagles' schedule. Brown and Smith should expect even more targets to come their way while Goedert's forearm heals.
The Eagles might want to consider a tight end in the middle rounds of the 2024 draft.
• 640 snaps each: Jason Kelce and Jordan Mailata
• 615 snaps: Landon Dickerson
• 579 snaps: Lane Johnson
• 346 snaps: Sua Opeta
• 251 snaps: Cam Jurgens
• 68 snaps: Tyler Steen
• 64 snaps: Jack Driscoll
Analysis: Kelce and Mailata have not yet missed any snaps in 2023, while Dickerson has mostly stayed healthy as well. In past seasons, Dickerson would often have to leave games for stretches, even if he was always ready to start. In 2023, Dickerson missed 25 snaps Week 3 against the Buccaneers, but has otherwise played every snap.
The Eagles' offensive line depth has not been great so far this season:
Jurgens is eligible to come off of injured reserve at any time, and his return to the lineup will be welcomed by the Eagles' offensive staff.
• 434 snaps: Josh Sweat
• 421 snaps: Haason Reddick
• 164 snaps: Brandon Graham
• 99 snaps: Derek Barnett
• 56 snaps: Nolan Smith
• 0 snaps: Patrick Johnson
Analysis: Sweat and Reddick have played way more snaps the last couple weeks than they normally do. Prior to Week 8, Sweat was averaging 44 snaps per game, and Reddick was averaging 43. In the last two games, they are averaging around 60 snaps per game — Sweat played 124 snaps, and Reddick played 119.
Graham's role playing about a quarter of the team's defensive snaps makes sense at the age of 35, but at some point the Eagles are going to have to let Smith get on the field more. They seem to recognize that Barnett gives them nothing as a pass rusher and is a personal foul ticking time bomb waiting to happen, as evidenced by his healthy scratch status Week 9 against the Cowboys. Barnett's demotion is a good decision, but Sweat and Reddick could eventually wear down if they continue to play 60 snaps per game. Smith needs to step up and give the defense meaningful snaps.
• 383 snaps: Fletcher Cox
• 276 snaps: Milton Williams
• 251 snaps: Jalen Carter
• 232 snaps: Jordan Davis
• 87 snaps: Kentavius Street
• 52 snaps: Marlon Tuipulotu
• 9 snaps: Moro Ojomo
Analysis: Hurts and the quarterback position aside, this positional group needed the bye week to recuperate perhaps more than any other. Cox (back), Williams (shoulder), Davis (hamstring), and Carter (back) have all been on the Eagles' injury report in recent weeks and can use the added rest.
• 497 snaps: Zach Cunningham
• 371 snaps: Nicholas Morrow
• 182 snaps: Nakobe Dean
• 46 snaps: Christian Elliss
• 0 snaps: Ben VanSumeren
Analysis: Entering the 2023 season, Dean was the clear No. 1 linebacker on the roster, as the team was counting on him to take on a much bigger role than what he had as a rookie in 2022. That has not gone to plan, as he landed on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury Week 1 against the Patriots. He returned Week 6 and played in four games before again suffering a foot injury that will likely land him on injured reserve for a second time this season.
When he has played, Dean has been fine as a run defender and as a tackler (PFF has him down for 0 missed tackles), but he has struggled in coverage. PFF has him down for 13 completions on 14 targets for 120 yards.
Cunningham has been the Eagles' best linebacker so far this season, as he has been a physical presence in the middle of the defense. Morrow has also had his moments, notably in the Eagles' overtime win against the Commanders, when he had three sacks.
The Eagles reportedly sniffed around linebackers at the trade deadline. They may regret not getting something done there.
• 513 snaps: Darius Slay
• 511 snaps: James Bradberry
• 157 snaps: Josh Jobe
• 112 snaps: Eli Ricks
• 84 snaps: Avonte Maddox
• 70 snaps: Mario Goodrich
• 55 snaps: Bradley Roby
• 17 snaps: Josiah Scott
• 1 snaps: Kelee Ringo
Analysis: Let's go ahead and update the chart showing the games started by the Eagles' secondary:
|Patriots||Darius Slay||James Bradberry||Avonte Maddox||Reed Blankenship||Justin Evans|
|Vikings||Darius Slay||Josh Jobe||Avonte Maddox||Justin Evans||Terrell Edmunds|
|Buccaneers||Darius Slay||James Bradberry||Josh Jobe||Reed Blankenship||Justin Evans|
|Commanders||Darius Slay||James Bradberry||Josh Jobe||Reed Blankenship||Terrell Edmunds|
|Rams||Darius Slay||James Bradberry||Mario Goodrich||Reed Blankenship||Justin Evans|
|Jets||James Bradberry||Josh Jobe||Bradley Roby||Reed Blankenship||Terrell Edmunds|
|Dolphins||Darius Slay||James Bradberry||Josiah Scott||Terrell Edmunds||Sydney Brown|
|Commanders||Darius Slay||James Bradberry||Sydney Brown||Reed Blankenship||Kevin Byard|
|Cowboys||Darius Slay||James Bradberry||Sydney Brown||Reed Blankenship||Kevin Byard|
The Eagles had eight different starting five combinations in their secondary in their first eight games before finally repeating one in Week 9 against the Cowboys.
The loss of Maddox (likely) for the season has created chaos in the Eagles' secondary. Backup slot Zech McPhearson also got hurt during the preseason, but there is still probably a fair argument to be made that the Eagles should have been more prepared with a better plan to replace Maddox, given his history of durability issues.
Nine games in, the Eagles have already played nine (!) cornerbacks. Last year they only played five in the regular defense all season — Slay, Bradberry, Maddox, Scott, and McPhearson.
The Eagles will hope that when Roby returns to the field he proves to be a competent starting slot, because otherwise that is going to be a gaping hole in the Eagles defense that opposing offenses will look to exploit. It's also worth noting that the Eagles will be facing a bunch of receivers who can do damage from the slot:
• Chiefs (Rashee Rice)
• Bills (Stefon Diggs)
• 49ers (pretty much all their skill players)
• Cowboys (CeeDee Lamb)
• Seahawks (Tyler Lockett)
Obviously, that is a pretty nasty group of receivers.
• 448 snaps: Reed Blankenship
• 296 snaps: Terrell Edmunds
• 187 snaps: Justin Evans
• 147 snaps: Kevin Byard
• 127 snaps: Sydney Brown
• 27 snaps: Mekhi Garner
Analysis: Safety hasn't been much more stable than corner, as Blankenship, Evans, and Brown have all missed games. The Eagles felt uncomfortable enough with what they had at safety that they traded for Byard at the deadline.
Evans is eligible to return from injured reserve at any time, which will help the Eagles' depth.
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