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Eagles vs. Falcons snap counts: Some surprises in Philadelphia’s Week 1 game

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Playing time tracker.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a breakdown of the snap counts from the Philadelphia Eagles’ 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season. Some interesting things of note here in the reigning Super Bowl champions’ first game.

OFFENSE

Jason Kelce missed one snap. He limped off the field as Isaac Seumalo ran in to replace him as the Eagles took a knee to end the first half. He didn’t miss any more time, which was good to see.

Jason Peters missed a snap due to an upset stomach.

Zach Ertz almost played the entire game. The Eagles especially need his presence with Alshon Jeffery and Mack Hollins out. Ertz didn’t have his best night against Atlanta but he still managed to lead the time in receiving with five receptions for 48 yards.

Mike Wallace was held without a catch despite playing 92% of the snaps.

Who would’ve guessed DeAndre Carter would get so much playing time? He logged his first NFL career reception on Thursday night. That was cool to see. But even though I like Carter, I’m not crazy about him playing nearly 40 snaps more than second-round pick Dallas Goedert. What’s up with that? The season is incredibly young, but this kind of usage is why I had some questions about the selection being the most efficient use of resources. Hopefully we see more of Goedert moving forward.

I never fully bought into the idea that Jay Ajayi was simply going to dominate the Eagles’ playing time at running back and Thursday night confirmed my suspicion. This is still very much a rotation. Now, I don’t disagree that the Eagles SHOULD use Ajayi more often. It felt like a little too much of Darren Sproles (with all due respect) and not enough Jay Train at times.

In addition to filling in for Kelce on one snap, Seumalo saw four snaps as a blocking tight end. He got into the game over Halapoulivaati Vaitai in that role. Last year at this time it was Big V ahead of him in that regard. Seems like a good sign for Seumalo’s development.

It’s pretty surprising to see Shelton Gibson only played four snaps after having such a strong preseason. He seemed to figure in as a sure-fire starter with Jeffery and Hollins missing time. Most of Gibson’s playing time came on special teams, where he was used as the team’s primary kick returner.

DEFENSE

Good to see Jordan Hicks out there healthy and playing the full game. The stat-stuffing stud finished the game with seven tackles (team high), 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, one pass defensed, and two quarterback hits. He’s a beast.

The Eagles made an effort to manage Fletcher Cox’s snaps throughout the season in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs. They certainly weren’t conserving him for this game, which is fine, because they really needed him. Cox had one sack, one tackle for loss, and four quarterback hits.

Derek Barnett got the “start” at defensive end but he was ultimately outsnapped by MIchael Bennett.

Sidney Jones played the entire game as the Eagles’ nickel corner.

Nathan Gerry got the “start” at linebacker but Kamu Grugier-Hill played more than him. It’ll be interesting to see how the playing time gets split up there with Nigel Bradham back. Grugier-Hill had a key tackle for loss on the Falcons’ first failed 4th-and-goal attempt in the game.

Destiny Vaeao got the “start” at defensive tackle next to Cox despite the fact Haloti Ngata is listed ahead of him on the depth chart.

Rasul Douglas filled in for Ronald Darby on two snaps and made the most of his playing time by notching a crucial red-zone interception. Kudos to Sul.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Rookie corner Avonte Maddox only played on special teams. No defensive snaps.

Newly acquired Eagles linebacker D.J. Alexander got some good work in on special teams.

When the Eagles traded for Deiondre’ Hall, my thought was that the Eagles are going to cut him after Hall’s one game suspension is over. Sullivan did nothing to help himself with his bone-headed decision to get near a live ball and gift possession back to the Falcons. Just can’t do that, my guy.

Johnston got a lot of work due to the Eagles’ offensive struggles. He did pretty well in his regular NFL season debut with six punts for 313 yards (52.2 average), only one touchback, one punt downed inside the 20-yard line, and a long of 65. Looks like the Eagles have a keeper here, which is good to see after moving on from Donnie Jones.

Not listed in the graphic here: Jake Elliott played six special teams snaps (22%).