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Eagles-Jets snap count analysis: Why is Jalen Reagor playing more than DeVonta Smith?

Playing time tracker.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Time to analyze the Philadelphia Eagles’ snap counts from their Week 13 win over the New York Jets.

OFFENSE

  • Gardner Minshew taking 100% of the snaps in this game puts him 33.33% of the way to elevating the conditional pick the Eagles traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars in order to acquire him. As a reminder, the Birds will give up a 2022 fifth-round pick instead of a 2022 sixth-round pick if Minshew plays 50% of the snaps in at least three games. The thinking here is that Minshew won’t play two more games unless Jalen Hurts is injured or really, really struggles again.
  • Jason Kelce got hurt late in the game. It didn’t look good how he was crawling around on the ground in pain and then slowly limped off the field. But Kelce is damn tough and the Eagles have a bye coming up, so, can’t count him out just yet.
  • The Eagles fixed their mistake of not getting Dallas Goedert involved enough in Week 12. His target count doubled from last week (three to six) with half of them coming on Philly’s first drive alone. Good on the coaching staff and Minshew. All told, Goedert had six grabs for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Quez Watkins somewhat quietly had his second most productive game of the season. In terms of total yardage (60), at least.
  • Jalen Reagor getting more playing time than DeVonta Smith is insane. The latter saw more targets, but ... c’mon. What are we even doing here. Did Smith get hurt in this game? What’s the deal? Reagor’s last 16 targets have resulted in seven catches for 43 yards (6.1 average). Awful. Reagor’s last four carries have resulted in 13 yards (3.25 average). Awful. Those numbers come from his last six games.
  • Smith saw four targets in this game and caught two of them for 15 yards. He had a real nice stiff arm at one point. Still not enough usage. Two players were targeted more than him in this game. He’s seen just 4.8 targets per game over his last six outings. To put that number in perspective, Pat Freiermuth and J.D. McKissic are averaging 4.8 targets per game this season. Stop messing around and force feed your WR1, Eagles.
  • Miles Sanders led the way at running back with a career-high (!) 24 carries. His previous high was 20, which he hit in two different games. Sanders’ 120 rushing yards were the second-highest mark of his career, just behind his 122-yard performance from Week 15 of his rookie season. Sanders aggravated the ankle injury he’s been dealing with late in the game but it seems like a good sign that he talked to reporters after the game. He’ll have some time to rest up during the bye.
  • Decent amount of snaps for Jack Stoll and Tyree Jackson with the Eagles using multiple tight end packages. No targets for either of them, though.
  • Kenneth Gainwell set a new career-high for rushing with 54 yards in this game. The rookie also proved to be a reliable check down option, catching all five of his targets for 33 yards.
  • Boston Scott failed to log an offensive touch for the first time since Week 6. His diminished role was no doubt the result of missing practice all week due to illness and being ruled questionable to play. It’ll be interesting to see if Scott reenters the rotation or if the Eagles stick with Gainwell instead. Also have to keep in mind that Jordan Howard might be back after the bye. There are some decisions to be made when it comes to splitting backfield touches.

DEFENSE

  • Fletcher Cox made a tackle chasing down a screen, which he claims he’s not paid to do. Jokes aside, Cox has passed the eye test in recent weeks. That said, he is still up to two sacks in his last 17 games (now a full season’s worth) and zero in his last eight. Seems like you would want to see more statistical production from your highest paid player.
  • Derek Barnett only appeared on the box score due to one assisted tackle. No other stats. He has two sacks in his last 16 games.
  • After five straight games with zero sacks, Javon Hargrave has 1.5 in his last two. He logged a team-high three quarterback hits on Zach Wilson.
  • The Eagles employed a heavier three-man safety rotation than normal. Anthony Harris saw his second-lowest snap percentage while Rodney McLeod saw his lowest from any game he’s played this year. Marcus Epps saw his highest snap percentage since filling in as a starter when Harris was injured.
  • Josh Sweat failed to log at least 60% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps since Week 8. Despite this, he came up with 1.5 sacks. Much-needed production from him. He hadn’t had a sack since that Week 8 game.
  • Zech McPhearson saw a career-high in playing time with Steve Nelson suffering an injury in this game. He seemed to hold up well enough.
  • Milton Williams failed to show up in the box score and he also got banged up in this game.
  • Ryan Kerrigan made another tackle! He’s on a hot streak! He’s up to three in 271 snaps this year.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Active game for Jake Elliott with him making all four of his field goals and all three of his extra points for 15 total points. Elliott won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week (and then later NFC Special Teams Player of the Month) for scoring 16 points against New Orleans. Does he have another award coming his way?
  • Jared Mayden saw some special teams snaps after being temporarily elevated from the practice squad for the second week in a row. The Eagles can no longer elevate him without exposing him to waivers. So, they can either sign him to a roster spot or just stop elevating him.
  • First game of the season where Greg Ward didn’t log at least one offensive snap. One week after he dropped a touchdown pass.
  • Arryn Siposs only had to attempt one punt and it didn’t come until late in the game. Light day for him.
  • Not pictured above: Patrick Johnson played five special teams snaps. He left the game with an injury and was ruled out.

DID NOT PLAY

ACTIVE: Reid Sinnett, Brett Toth

INACTIVE: Jalen Hurts, Jordan Howard, Marlon Tuipulotu, Tay Gowan, Mac McCain, Kary Vincent Jr.

  • Sinnett was the backup quarterback behind Minshew.
  • The expectation seems to be that Hurts and Howard will be back after the bye.