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Eagles at Cowboys snap counts: Another exhausting game for the defense

Playing time breakdown.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The official snap counts from the Philadelphia Eagles’ Week 14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys are in. Let’s take a look and run through some analysis.

OFFENSE

  • The Eagles’ offense can’t score zero touchdowns when Jalen Hurts and the starting offensive line play the entire game (aside from missing two garbage time snaps). It’s unacceptable.
  • DeVonta Smith had five receptions for 73 yards. At first glance, not bad! But five targets went to him that were not completed; he failed to make some catches. He also fumbled at the Cowboys’ 12-yard line to really cement the loss. That was only Smith’s third fumble in 47 games played. He’s had one per season so far.
  • A.J. Brown caught nine of his 13 targets for 94 yards. Like DeVonta, he could’ve had more production if not for a drop and a fumble.
  • Dallas Goedert played his fourth-lowest snap count percentage of the season (not including missed games). The Eagles may have been easing him back in a bit since it was his first game back since getting hurt. He only saw four targets while AJ and DeVonta combined for 23. Goedert caught all of them for just 30 yards.
  • Hurts didn’t target a player not named A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, or Dallas Goedert. I’m all for feeding the very best players. At the same time, you can’t simply ignore other options in the offense. And Hurts was guilty of not throwing to open targets (read: Jack Stoll, Albert Okwuegbunam) in Week 13.
  • D’Andre Swift played his third-lowest snap count percentage this season. His 11 carries only produced 39 yards (3.5 average).
  • Since Week 10 of the 2022 season (including playoffs), Quez Watkins has been targeted 46 times for 30 catches and 218 yards (7.3 average). Cool. Love giving him a lot of playing time.
  • Olamide Zaccheaus has only ever produced when his number has been called. He has two catches for 57 yards and one touchdown over the Eagles’ last three games despite not seeing one designed offensive target. Maybe find a way to use him intentionally more often than never?
  • Not really sure what it is that Julio Jones does here.
  • Jack Stoll logged his third-lowest snap count percentage of the season. Not as much 12 personnel here.
  • Boston Scott took the first carry of the game for four yards. Then he didn’t see any offensive snaps until he took two garbage time carries to end the game. Doesn’t the Eagles’ RB usage feel so random sometimes? Remember when the Eagles were down 17-7 to the Cowboys in the first game and Rashaad Penny took two carries for eight yards ... and then never played again? It feels random?
  • Fred Johnson made his regular season Eagles debut on offense in garbage time.
  • Marcus Mariota came in for Hurts to hand off on the final two plays of the game.

DEFENSE

  • Yet another game where the defense was on the field for entirely too long. Not being able to get off the field (allowed 10/17 third and fourth down conversions combined, which is nearly 10% better than what the NFL’s best third down offense converts) is clearly a big issue. It’s certainly a contributing factor when it comes to Sean Desai’s unit looking exhausted.
  • Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham each paid visits to the medical tent but ultimately didn’t miss much time.
  • Haason Reddick had a big sack to knock the Cowboys back to 2nd-and-16 late in the second quarter. Two plays later, the Cowboys converted with that incredibly rare double-whammy penalty. Reddick also had a garbage time sack to put him at 11 on the season. It’s his fourth straight year with double-digit sacks.
  • Sydney Brown had to play a lot more than expected with Reed Blankenship getting hurt. He showed some intriguing potential, so, that’s a positive.
  • CeeDee Lamb killed the Eagles less than he did in the last game with Bradley Roby here for this one.
  • Fletcher Cox was one of the only dudes who truly came to play. He drew a holding penalty and then batted a pass on back-to-back snaps at one point. Also strip-sacked Dak Prescott to set up the Eagles’ sole touchdown via Jalen Carter’s fumble recovery score.
  • After only playing one defensive snap in the Eagles’ first 12 games, Kelee Ringo was unexpectedly called upon to have a role in this game. His first snap was a disaster considering he gave up a first down catch AND got called for two enforceable penalties. Those mistakes assisted in a Cowboys TD right before halftime. Ringo has not looked good early on but I do think there is patience to be had with the youngest player on the Eagles’ roster; he will only be turning 21.5 later this month.
  • Nolan Smith played the highest snap count percentage of his career for the second week in a row. And he has a pressure! Keep playing him! Even if he’s not great, he needs the reps and the starting edge rushers need the rest.
  • Shaq Leonard had a limited role in his Eagles debut. The Eagles reportedly plan to expand his role as he becomes more acclimated to the defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Braden Mann completed a fake punt throw for 28 yards. His career passing numbers: 2/3, 45 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 109.7 passer rating. Not bad!

DID NOT PLAY

INACTIVE: Tanner McKee, Rashaad Penny, Albert Okwuegbunam, Sua Opeta, Moro Ojomo

ACTIVE: N/A

  • Why is Rashaad Penny on the roster? Use him or cut him. Can we please just see what he looks like with some regular touches before we all agree he’s cooked? What is there to lose?
  • Why is Albert O on the roster? The Eagles should’ve waived him instead of Christian Elliss. They already have Noah Togiai on the practice squad as a fourth tight end candidate.

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