Here’s a breakdown of the snap counts from the Philadelphia Eagles’ 27-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2 of the 2018 NFL season. There are some curious playing time decisions we need to address.
- Only three players played fewer offensive snaps than 2018 second-round pick Dallas Goedert on Sunday. Two of those players, Jason Peters and Mike Wallace, only played fewer snaps because they got hurt early in the game. Isaac Seumalo played fewer snaps because the Eagles use him in certain sets as a sixth offensive lineman.
Doug Pederson was asked about Goedert’s lack of playing time during his postgame press conference. The Eagles head coach gave a long-winded answer (via The Athletic):
“Well, a lot of times with the tight end situation, some of it is by game plan. And then we lost some receivers, we start having to use the second or third tight end. Plus, it’s a complex thing because it starts moving bodies around, and without getting real specific with the game plan, because obviously you don’t know the game plan, one part that goes down, you have to adjust everybody else. A lot of times, it’s easier with [Joshua Perkins] in the game. Dallas played, but at the same time, it didn’t change our receivers on the outside. It kept those guys sort of in the same spots. Again, you don’t know, and this isn’t against you, but without knowing the offense and the formations and the personnel that we have, it can be a chess match moving multiple parts on offense. It’s complicated because you don’t know the plan, and that’s nothing against you. I’m just saying when you don’t know the plan, the formations, where we move guys and have guys specific in the game plan, if one guy goes down, now it shuffles the whole thing. We can keep it real consistent by just moving one part and not many parts.”
Look, I’ve been among those cautioning that rookie tight ends take time to develop and we can’t just expect Goedert to make a huge instant impact and save the entire offense. But on a day where the Eagles were so depleted at the skill positions, it’s frustrating to see the player the Eagles traded up for (and said they were comfortable taking at No. 32 overall) couldn’t even get a single target. Like, is Goedert really so far behind or so untrustworthy that giving Joshua Perkins and Kamar Aiken a combined 12 targets is a good alternative? And this comes one week after the Eagles played DeAndre Carter roughly 40 more snaps than Goedert.
It’s just frustrating that the Eagles traded up for Goedert, who looked pretty great during the offseason, just to run a ton of 11 personnel with the likes of Aiken and Shelton Gibson on the outside. Maybe consider getting your most talented players on the field more often, Eagles.
- Perkins had a couple nice grabs late in the game. But he also had two really bad drops earlier on.
- Halapoulivaati Vaitai had to play a lot with Peters dealing with a quad injury that flared up during practice this week. After the game, Peters said he plans to play against the Colts in Week 3.
- Aiken playing 78% of the snaps is just so bad. The 29-year-old clearly struggled in training camp. And it’s not like anyone else was knocking down his door to sign him this offseason.
- For some reason, Wendell Smallwood finished with one more carry than Corey Clement. Doug Pederson’s decision to run a draw on 3rd-and-11 with Smallwood was not one of his better moments on Sunday.
- Jay Ajayi’s playing time was limited due to the back injury he’s dealing with. After the game, Ajayi said; “My shit’s f***ed up, I gotta go see the trainers,” when asked about his injury.
- Nigel Bradham “only” played 81% of the Eagles’ snaps in his first game back from suspension. Jordan Hicks, meanwhile, played the entire game for the second week in a row.
- The Eagles cut down on Fletcher Cox’s playing time. He was at 93% last week. The rotation was stronger this time around. I’m sure the Tampa heat was a factor there but Jim Schwartz had also talked about trying to manage his snaps heading into this game.
- Kamu Grugier-Hill is clearly ahead of Nathan Gerry on the depth chart, as he should be. With Bradham back, Gerry barely played on defense.
- Michael Bennett’s playing time went down from 64% last week to 41% this week.
#Eagles TE Dallas Goedert played 17 snaps against Tampa. Michael Bennett played just 24. His situation needs monitoring. He was removed from game on a third and long and he and DL coach Chris Wilson had some words on sideline.— Ed Kracz (@kracze) September 17, 2018
- Avonte Maddox made a real nice special teams tackle during a punt return.
- Newly acquired defensive back Deiondre’ Hall only played on special teams during his first game with the Eagles.