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Eagles-Giants snap counts: Shaq Leonard steps up

Playing time breakdown.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

The official snap counts from the Philadelphia Eagles’ Week 16 win over the New York Giants are in. Let’s take a look and run through some analysis.

OFFENSE

  • Sua Opeta started in place of Landon Dickerson at left guard, as expected. He earned his highest Pro Football Focus grade by far this season. Not hard to believe since Opeta has more experience repping at LG than RG. Opeta was actually the third-highest graded offensive player behind Grant Calcaterra (!) and Jalen Hurts.
  • A.J. Brown only saw two targets in the first half for one reception that went seven yards. He saw nine targets for five catches and 73 yards in the second half.
  • DeVonta Smith’s first half: four targets, three receptions, 72 yards, 1 TD. DeVonta’s Smith’s second half: one target, one reception, six yards.
  • Dallas Goedert had his third-most receiving yards despite seeing his sixth-lowest snap count percentage. He hasn’t been in the 90% range like he normally is since coming back from his forearm injury.
  • D’Andre Swift logged his second-most rushing attempts this year despite playing his sixth-lowest snap count percentage. Swift’s 92 rushing yards were his third-most this year. Swift logged zero targets for just the second time this season; the other game was the Week 14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Jack Stoll played his third-highest snap count percentage this year. The two above this one were games where Goedert didn’t play. Despite this, he did not see a target. The Eagles clearly preferred multiple TE sets more often than usual in this game.
  • Kenny Gainwell logged a season-high 79 yards from scrimmage between six carries for 41 yards (6.8 average) and three receptions for 38 yards. Gainwell’s last 16 carries have gone for 90 yards (5.0 average). His 18 before that went for just 66 yards (3.7 average). His 80 receiving yards over the last four games are also more than the 78 he had in his first 10 games combined. More efficient option recently. Also, Gainwell saw his highest special teams snap count percentage of the season.
  • Julio Jones led playing time at WR3. He saw a season-high four targets but only had one reception for five yards, which came on a screen on 2nd-and-20. Why do the Eagles like running this play in long to-go scenarios?! Jones is THE OLDEST ACTIVE WIDE RECEIVER IN THE NFL!
  • Less Julio, more Olamide Zaccheaus. The special teams mistake was obviously bad but OZ had a tremendous block to pave the way for DeVonta’s TD. Not the first time he’s done that this year, either. Play him! No reason for him to have just two targets over the last four games while Julio and Quez Watkins combined for 10.
  • Grant Calcaterra played his third-highest snap count percentage this year and his second-highest in a game where Goedert also played. He saw his first target of the season (and first since December 18, 2022) on the play where Jalen Hurts recovered a bad snap and still managed to get a throw off. Calcaterra’s other target also went for a first down. Perhaps he should be mixed in more often than never at all?
  • Unfortunately, my bold prediction from my prediction post was correct ... Boston Scott played his first Giants game without logging a touchdown. Tough development for the anytime TD bettors.
  • Britain Covey logged his first career target and reception on a 1st-and-10 screen play that went for seven yards! Nice to see the Eagles reward him with an offensive touch after watching him excel on special teams.
  • Quez Watkins saw a single snap. It’s the lowest snap count he’s ever played in a game where he was active. Second-lowest was a five-snap game as a rookie in 2020. Kudos to the coaching staff for finally cutting back on his playing time after his repeated struggles and questionable effort. We’ll see if they continue to hold him back moving forward.

DEFENSE

  • Despite calls for his benching, James Bradberry played the entire game. In some packages, he moved inside with Eli Ricks and Kelee Ringo lining up on the outside.
  • Shaq Leonard was forced into a bigger role due to multiple linebacker injuries. He responded by flashing much more than he did in his first two Eagles games, where he looked cooked. Leonard finished with a team-high seven tackles, five solo. He was the only Eagles player with multiple TFLs (two) and the only Eagles player with a sack.
  • Haason Reddick has gone without a sack in back-to-back games for the first time since he went sackless while having a cast on his hand in the first three games this season. Reddick did still have a season-high four QB hits in addition to a TFL that resulted in a turnover on downs. Reddick played his third-highest snap count percentage this year. Reddick played 58 snaps or more in just three out of 17 regular season games last season. He’s already played 58 or more in six out of 15 this season.
  • Josh Sweat still doesn’t have a sack since taking down Dak Prescott late in the Eagles’ Week 9 win over the Cowboys. He’s up to 771 defensive snaps played in 15 games this season after logging just 587 in 16 last year.
  • Whereas Kelee Ringo and Eli Ricks more evenly split time rotating at CB2 last week, the Eagles leaned more heavily upon the Georgia rookie in this game. Ringo only allowed two catches for nine yards on three targets by PFF’s charting. Plus he had the game-sealing pick on the final play. The youngest player on the Eagles’ roster is showing intriguing potential.
  • Ben VanSumeren saw a good deal of playing time in his defensive debut. He was not obviously a total liability out there, which is nice!
  • Jordan Davis made a really good tackle on a play that prevented Tommy DeVito from breaking off a big run. That said, Davis doesn’t have a sack or QB hit since Week 7. He doesn’t have a TFL since Week 2.
  • Bradley Roby’s role is about to get smaller with Avonte Maddox slated to return as soon as Week 17. They might look to ease Maddox in at first, though.
  • Brandon Graham did not log a stat in the box score despite playing his second-highest snap count percentage this season.
  • Sydney Brown saw a lesser role after playing nearly 79% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps last week and looking a bit erratic.
  • A bit curious that Jalen Carter played his second-lowest snap count percentage this season. Carter had an offside penalty that turned a 4th-and-4 punt into a first down for the Giants. He almost had another that would’ve turned the Giants going for it on 4th-and-4 into a first down. Fortunately, the refs called the Giants’ center for a false start and New York punted instead.
  • Nolan Smith played a career-high snap count percentage. The Eagles experimented with him at off-ball linebacker in 5-1-5 packages. While not the worst idea to give him some occasional reps there, it’d still be best to try to have him rush the passer.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Josh Jobe began the season as the clear backup at outside CB. Now he’s in a spot where four CBs are playing defensive snaps ahead of him.
  • Brandon Smith made his Eagles debut after being temporarily elevated from the practice squad. He put a big hit on a Giants returner to log a single special teams tackle.
  • Jake Elliott made all four of his field goals (28, 21, 44, 43) and his three extra point kicks for a total of 15 points. He’s only finished with more points in two other games with 16 each. Elliott hasn’t missed a field goal since Week 6 and an extra point since Week 1 (rainy/windy game).
  • Braden Mann has 43.7 average net yards per punt attempt this season. That ranks seventh-best in the NFL.
  • Let’s show some love to Rick Lovato, who actually forced a fumble on punt coverage! The long snapper would’ve gotten more glory if the Eagles were able to recover. That’s Lovato’s first career FF.

DID NOT PLAY

INACTIVE: Nicholas Morrow, Landon Dickerson, Darius Slay, Zach Cunningham, Albert Okwuegbunam, Rashaad Penny, Tanner McKee

ACTIVE: Marcus Mariota

  • Morrow did not play but he was a game-time decision against the Giants. He might be able to return this week.
  • We’ll see if any of Dickerson, Slay, or Cunningham are able to practice at all this week.

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