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Eagles-Saints snap counts: Josh Sweat comes up big in limited action

Playing time tracker.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to analyze the Philadelphia Eagles’ snap counts from their Week 14 WIN over the New Orleans Saints.

OFFENSE

  • Nice game for the Eagles’ starting offensive line. They didn’t allow a single sack and they paved the way for 246 rushing yards (6.8 average). This despite being on their 12th combination in 13 games.
  • Nice game by Jalen Hurts in his first NFL start. Didn’t miss a snap despite running so much. The Eagles should’ve replaced him with Carson Wentz on a quarterback sneak attempt. Not ideal to have a $128 million Jared Lorenzen but, hey, gotta play to your strengths.
  • Dallas Goedert led all Eagles players in snaps and targets (six). He had four catches for 43 yards.
  • Miles Sanders saw his second highest snap percentage this season, only behind 85% against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sanders posted his highest yards from scrimmage total of the season against New Orleans.
  • Greg Ward has 20 or fewer receiving yards in five out of the Eagles’ last eight games. He shouldn’t be leading Eagles receivers in playing time in a given game.
  • Lot of 12 personnel in this game with Goedert and Ertz both logging at least 72% of the offensive snaps. Zach Ertz only had two receptions for eight yards, though. Would’ve had a little more if his sideline catch wasn’t ruled incomplete.
  • Jalen Reagor saw three targets on the Eagles’ first two drives, including his 39-yard catch-and-run. He then only saw one target the rest of the game. Reagor did have a 19-yard run at one point.
  • Alshon Jeffery actually did something positive! He was the recipient of a great back-shoulder throw by Hurts for the rookie’s sole touchdown. It was the only time Jeffery was targeted on Sunday evening, though he did draw a defensive holding call at one point. Good to see Jeffery not being totally useless out there but he’s still playing too much. One reception for 15 yards does not change that.
  • Nice to see increased playing time for Quez Watkins. He pretty much took John Hightower’s role, leap-frogging J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on the depth chart in the process.
  • Travis Fulgham went from leading the NFL in receiving over a four-week stretch to only playing 11 snaps and not even getting a single target. Still don’t think it makes sense. No good reason for Jeffery to be nearly tripling Fulgham’s snap count.
  • I can’t help but wonder if playing Richard Rodgers over Ertz would actually be better for the offense. Dick Rod was decently productive when Ertz was out. Ertz isn’t doing much out there. Though benching Ertz sure wouldn’t help his trade value.

DEFENSE

  • Another week where Alex Singleton led the Eagles in tackles. He was a tackling machine in the CFL and that’s translated to south of the 49th parallel. It just hit me ... is that why Singleton wears No. 49? Nice touch, if so.
  • Jalen Mills was credited with a quarterback hit on the play where Taysom Hill threw a tipped pick to Duke Riley. Mills had to shift down to playing cornerback with injuries at the position.
  • Riley saw a very big role with T.J. Edwards out. He was quick to credit Jim Schwartz (unprompted) for his success after the game.
  • Thought Nickell Robey-Coleman had one of his better games, although he still missed a tackle or two.
  • Fletcher Cox pitched in with one sack, one tackle for loss, and one quarterback hit.
  • Unfortunate to see Brandon Graham go cold like he has after such a hot start. He hasn’t had a sack in his last five games, thus likely ending his Pro Bowl campaign. He needs three in his last four games to hit double digits for the first time in his career. Let’s hope he finds a way to get it done.
  • Javon Hargrave has been on the rise lately. Seems to be getting healthier after starting the season injured. Hargrave had two sacks, two tackles for loss, and three quarterback hits in this one. Big performance by the Eagles’ top free agent signing.
  • Derek Barnett tied Hargrave for the team lead in quarterback hits with three. He’s now up to six quarterback hits in his last two games, which is good. Unfortunately, Barnett also got banged up in this game.
  • Marcus Epps saw an increased role with Rodney McLeod getting hurt.
  • Injuries to Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox forced the Eagles into using Kevon Seymour as one of their outside cornerbacks. Seymour only joined the team on December 2. The last time he played in an NFL game was 2017. To no surprise, he got burned a few times and gave up a touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders.
  • McLeod was the only Eagles player who hadn’t missed a snap this season. Shame to see him go down. There seems to be concern that the injury is significant.
  • Slay has been playing through a calf injury and hasn’t been able to finish the Eagles’ past two games. Not good.
  • K’Von Wallace saw an increased role due to the secondary injuries. I don’t think he’s been impressive. Think he blew some coverages in this one that the Saints weren’t able to take advantage of.
  • 25 Eagles players (13 defensive) played more than Josh Sweat in this game but few had as big of an impact as he did. The third-year defensive end notched two sacks, two tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits. His strip-sack fumble on Hill was huge because it 1) prevented the Saints from taking a lead or at least tying the game and 2) sprung an Eagles touchdown drive. Big swing there. Good to see Sweat off the schneid after having just one sack and four quarterback hits in his previous eight games. Sweat’s been one of the rare young bright spots in this mostly dark Eagles season.
  • Sweat should be playing more often than Vinny Curry.
  • Malik Jackson has not produced a sack since Week 6. He did have one quarterback hit for the first time since then. But he also left the game early due to injury.
  • Maddox left the game early with a knee injury. He was previously dealing with an ankle issue. Maddox has struggled to both play well and stay healthy.
  • Shaun Bradley got hurt in this game.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Genard Avery hasn’t played a defensive snap since Week 6. He was only active this week with four players out due to injury. He’ll go back to being a healthy scratch.
  • Jake Elliott has now missed a kick in seven out of his 13 games this year. Third most valuable kicker contract in the NFL. Not a great job by Howie Roseman.
  • Cameron Johnston had a quality 54-yard punt that was downed at the Saints’ 5-yard line.
  • Rashad Smith, who was elevated from the practice squad, only played on special teams in his Eagles debut.
  • Former Saints linebacker Joe Bachie, who was obviously key to helping the Eagles pull off this upset, only played on special teams in his Eagles debut.

DID NOT PLAY

INACTIVE: T.J. Edwards, Michael Jacquet, Rudy Ford, Grayland Arnold, John Hightower, Jason Huntley, Nate Sudfeld

ACTIVE: Carson Wentz, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Brett Toth

  • The Eagles didn’t use any two quarterbacks looks.
  • JJAW dressed but didn’t even play on special teams. He hasn’t logged a snap since Week 8. Not looking good for the 2019 second-round pick.
  • Hightower falling out of favor to be a healthy scratch was a bit of a surprise. Not because he had been playing well or anything but he was being entrusted with a lot of playing time earlier in the year. Not a great sign to see him take a step back like this.