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Eagles-Giants snap count analysis: DeVonta Smith leads the way and shines

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New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Time to analyze the Philadelphia Eagles’ snap counts from their Week 16 win over the New York Giants.

OFFENSE

  • No rest for Jordan Mailata or Landon Dickerson despite the former entering the game with an ankle injury and the latter recently coming off the COVID list.
  • Nate Herbig suffered a knee injury late in the game. The Eagles will hope it’s not too serious or else they’ll be on their fourth-string option at right guard. (Unless Brandon Brooks comes back, but there’s been nary a whisper about his potential return.)
  • DeVonta Smith led all Eagles skill players in playing time (86%), targets (5), yards (80), yards per reception (16.0), and touchdowns (1). They need to keep feeding this dude. He clearly has WR1 ability. Between the adjustment on Jalen Hurts’ underthrown deep ball and the toe-tapping sideline catch (for the second game in a row!) in the end zone ... this guy is good at the game.
  • Dallas Goedert was just behind Smith in playing time. He only saw four targets for two receptions and 28 yards. He would’ve had more if he didn’t 1) drop a pass on the first play of the game, 2) drop another pass later, and 3) have a screen that went for a touchdown wiped out by a penalty. Goedert in two games against the Giants this season: seven targets, three receptions, 28 yards, zero touchdowns.
  • Quez Watkins returned to being WR2 after taking a step back in the Washington game since he was coming off the COVID list. Made a really good leaping, contested grab for a 39-yard gain but he was quiet outside of that play.
  • Jalen Reagor’s four targets resulted in two catches for 15 yards. Not exactly the receiving performance one would want to see after having a career game against Washington but he did have a good punt return. So, there’s that.
  • Jordan Howard left the game with a stinger. It’s unclear if it’s related to the same injury that caused him to miss the second half of the 2019 season. Something to monitor.
  • After not seeing a touch in the Eagles’ past two games, Boston Scott was tasked with stepping up with Howard and Miles Sanders leaving early due to injury.
  • Sanders was effective in limited playing time with seven runs for 45 yards (6.4 average). He did have a drop, however. And he left the game early with an injury. There’s reportedly a fear he fractured his hand. Sanders could be in jeopardy of missing some time.
  • Backup offensive linemen Brett Toth, Sua Opeta, and Jack Anderson got to see some garbage time action. For Anderson, they were his first NFL regular season snaps.
  • Gardner Minshew came in to finish the game out at quarterback. He did not get to attempt a pass with the Eagles intent on running the clock out.
  • Aside from the one game where he was a healthy scratch, Kenneth Gainwell saw his lowest snap percentage of the season. He fumbled the opening kickoff, which, not great. He only saw one target that went for six yards. He didn’t get a chance to log a carry despite the fact that both Sanders and Howard got hurt. If they both miss time, the Eagles could lean on Kenny G more as RB2 behind Scott. Also worth noting that Jason Huntley (their best kick returner) is available to be elevated from the practice squad.

DEFENSE

  • T.J. Edwards and Alex Singleton were the only starters still in with the defense at the end of the game. Probably in part because they’re currently thin at linebacker with Shaun Bradley on the COVID list. Edwards had 16 total tackles while Singleton had 12.
  • According to Pro Football Focus, Darius Slay allowed just one reception for -4 yards. Pretty decent. He also did have a dropped pick that he lost in the sun.
  • Milton Williams played the second-highest snap percentage of his career. The rookie made an impact with one sack (for a 10-yard loss), one tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits. Encouraging to see. It was Williams’ first sack since Week 8 and second of his rookie season.
  • Rodney McLeod had his most active game in some time with an interception (gift of a pick from Jake Fromm but, hey, still was in position and caught it) and a deflected pass that created Singleton’s pick-six.
  • The combination of Ryan Kerrigan’s absence and presence of garbage time allowed Tarron Jackson to log a career-high snap percentage.
  • Practice squad edge rusher Cameron Malveaux did some nice things in his call up opportunity. He notched two quarterback hits. Doubt they’ll do it but might be worth cutting Kerrigan and rolling with Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Jackson, and Malveaux as the top four edge rushers.
  • Speaking of Sweat, he forced a couple punts early in the game.
  • Andre Chachere couldn’t capitalize on a chance for a late game pick.
  • Jared Mayden saw his first defensive snaps since joining the Eagles after being elevated as a COVID replacement.
  • Genard Avery had a couple nice moments in limited playing time. His pressure helped force an interception and he also had a nice open field tackle on a ball carrier in space.
  • Patrick Johnson saw his first defensive snap since Week 10, when he played two.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • It was a fairly busy day for Jake Elliott with seven combined field goal/extra point attempts and seven kickoffs.
  • K’Von Wallace suffered a hip injury early in the game and didn’t return. Missed opportunity for him to get some defensive snaps in garbage time.

DID NOT PLAY

INACTIVE: Reid Sinnett, Marlon Tuipulotu, Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent Jr.

  • Always fun when a blowout victory allows every active player to get some snaps.