Eagles

Eagles snap counts: It appears Birds have a new feature back

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AP Images

Eagles snap counts: It appears Birds have a new feature back

If it seemed like Jay Ajayi was playing well enough early on Sunday to earn some extra carries, the Eagles' coaches saw it too. 

Through the first half at the LA Coliseum, LeGarrette Blount had six carries for 10 yards, while Ajayi had four for 49. Seems pretty obvious what the Eagles needed to do. 

Blount got just one more carry in the game, while Ajayi finished with 15 for 78. 

Perhaps more importantly, Ajayi led the Eagles' running backs in snaps for the second consecutive week. Maybe it was just the flow of the game again, but it sure appears the team has a new feature back. 

Ajayi got 43 snaps (47 percent) in the 43-35 win over the Rams, while Corey Clement got 27, Blount got 15 and Kenjon Barner got six. 

Through five games with the Eagles since the trade, Ajayi has averaged a gaudy seven yards per carry. 

The Eagles finished Sunday with 91 snaps, the most of the Doug Pederson era. That's way more than normal. The previous high under Pederson was 80 last season. They also controlled the ball for 39:12. Of the nine games in the NFL this season where a team has controlled the ball for over 39 minutes, the Eagles have two. 

Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Jason Kelce played all 91. 

Carson Wentz played 68 snaps before leaving with his knee injury. Nick Foles played the remaining 23. That's a new season-high for Foles ... for now. 

Without Zach Ertz, Trey Burton played 48 snaps and Brent Celek played 47. 

Left guard Stefen Wisniewski played 31 snaps before leaving with an ankle injury. From there, Chance Warmack played 17 before giving way to Isaac Seumalo, who played 44. 

On defense, the Eagles played just 48 snaps and were in nickel or dime for the entire game. That meant Najee Goode, who would have filled in for Joe Walker at MIKE, didn't get on the field. 

Six players were in for all 48 defensive snaps. Chris Long played just 18 snaps, but made the biggest play of the game, with the strip sack of Jared Goff. 

Here are full snap counts from Sunday afternoon: 

Offense
Lane Johnson - 91 snaps (100 percent)
Brandon Brooks - 91 (100)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai 91 (100)
Jason Kelce - 91 (100)
Alshon Jeffery - 86 (95)
Nelson Agholor - 77 (85)
Carson Wentz - 68 (75)
Torrey Smith - 67 (74)
Trey Burton - 48 (53)
Brent Celek - 47 (52)
Isaac Seumalo - 44 (48)
Jay Ajayi - 43 (47)
Mack Hollins - 38 (42)
Stefen Wisniewski - 31 (34)
Corey Clement - 27 (30)
Nick Foles - 23 (25)
Chance Warmack - 17 (19)
LeGarrette Blount - 15 (16)
Kenjon Barner - 6 (7)

Defense
Malcolm Jenkins - 48 snaps (100 percent)
Patrick Robinson - 48 (100)
Nigel Bradham - 48 (100)
Jalen Mills - 48 (100)
Rodney McLeod - 48 (100)
Ronald Darby - 48 (100)
Mychal Kendricks - 38 (79)
Fletcher Cox - 37 (77)
Brandon Graham - 36 (75)
Vinny Curry - 30 (62)
Chris Long - 18 (38)
Derek Barnett - 17 (35)
Beau Allen - 14 (29)
Corey Graham - 10 (21)
Destiny Vaeao - 9 (19)
Jaylen Watkins - 1 (2) 

Doug Pederson's preseason comparison doesn't look so ridiculous now

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USA Today Images

Doug Pederson's preseason comparison doesn't look so ridiculous now

When Doug Pederson said back in July that the 2017 Eagles "probably have more talent" than the Super Bowl Packers teams of the 1990s that Pederson played on, more than a few eyebrows were raised.

Millions of eyebrows maybe.
 
The Eagles? Who hadn't won a playoff game since 2008 and were coming off a 7-9 record in Pederson's first season?
 
More talented than a team that went to the playoffs virtually every year from the early 1990s through the mid-2000s behind Hall of Famers Brett Favre and Reggie White and reached back-to-back Super Bowls in 1996 and 1997, winning one?
 
"I look back on my time in Green Bay as a player when we were making those playoff runs, those Super Bowl runs there," Pederson said on July 17.
 
"And do we have as much talent on this team than we did then? We probably have more talent, right?"
 
Seriously, Doug?
 
Six months later, Pederson's comments — which seemed so ridiculous at the time — don't seem so ridiculous, do they?
 
Because here are those 2017 Eagles, sitting 13-3 with a playoff win over the Falcons in the books and a berth Sunday in the NFC Championship Game against the Vikings despite a rash of injuries to some of their best players.
 
The Eagles haven't lost a game with postseason implications since Carson Wentz was lost for the season, and they're one home win from reaching their third Super Bowl.
 
Pederson, who had two stints backing up Brett Favre with the Packers — from 1996 through 1998 and 2001 through 2004 — was reminded of his comments Friday before practice.
 
"I don't have a crystal ball, obviously, and it's hard to predict," he said. "You'd love to sit here and go, 'Yeah, in the summer, (I thought we were) going to be 13-3 and win the NFC East.' You'd love to be in that situation, or 16-0, or whatever it might be.
 
"I did have a feeling back then when I made that statement that we could be, we had the potential to be a good football team because of the way we've practiced and the talent that we brought to the roster and the progression of Carson in his second year.
 
"And then defensively, the front, the way they performed, and the back end, I saw a lot of the same similarities. So you just have that gut feeling when I made that statement."
 
Back in July, when Pederson made those comments comparing the Eagles to the Packers, he tempered them by saying talent isn't always enough. It takes much more for a team to have success.
 
"I (said) it takes great coaching, teaching, mentoring to also have our guys prepared each week to be in this position," Pederson said. "So all of that has kind of culminated. I think you look back on it and you go, 'Wow, maybe it was a true type of thing.'
 
"But we just keep doing our jobs, keep doing what we've been coached to do. Players play what they can do and what's in their control, and we're here today."

Only 1 Eagle questionable for Sunday

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Only 1 Eagle questionable for Sunday

Veteran linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) is the only Eagles player listed as questionable for this week's game. Everyone else on the 53-man roster is expected to be available. 

Ellerbe, 32, missed practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday and Friday. 

The Eagles' starting MIKE linebacker was also listed as questionable last week and was able to play, so expect him to be good to go. After all, this is the NFC Championship Game. There's no resting for anything else. 

In Minnesota, wide receiver Adam Thielen (lower back) and safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion) are both listed as questionable. 

Thielen, the Vikings' top receiver, missed Wednesday's practice and was limited on Thursday and Friday. Just like Ellerbe, there's no saving him for next week. 

Sendejo was limited on Wednesday and Thursday, was a full participant on Friday, but is still technically in the NFL's concussion protocol. He'll need to clear that before he's able to play, but Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he's optimistic Sendejo will be able to play. 

Meanwhile, third defensive tackle, Shamar Stephen (knee/ankle), missed practice all week and has been ruled out. While Stephen isn't a starter, he played just under 40 percent of the Vikings' snaps this season, so missing him is still a loss.

After practicing indoors on Wednesday and Thursday, the Eagles loaded up on buses and spent their Friday practice outside at Lincoln Financial Field. Head coach Doug Pederson likes to get his guys outside for at least one day per week. 

The Eagles will have a walkthrough on Saturday before they'll be back at the Linc for Sunday's 6:40 p.m. kickoff in the NFC Championship Game.