Eagles

Eagles snap counts: Jason Kelce's impressive streak comes to an end

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Eagles snap counts: Jason Kelce's impressive streak comes to an end

When center Jason Kelce was taken out of Sunday's game along with Carson Wentz for the final nine snaps, a pretty impressive streak came to an end. 

Before that, Kelce had played 3,345 consecutive snaps. 

He was taken out after 61 snaps in the Eagles' 33-10 win over the lowly 49ers. 

It was a streak that dated back to 2014, when he was taken out for the final six snaps in a blowout win over the Panthers. Before playing the first 550 snaps of this season, Kelce didn't miss a play in all of 2015 or 2016.

Here's how his streak broke down by year: 

2014: 506 snaps
2015: 1,156 snaps
2016: 1,133 snaps
2017: 550 snaps

After Kelce was taken out, Stefen Wisniewski slid to center and Chance Warmack took over at left guard. 

Streaks aside, Marcus Johnson played a career-high 21 snaps (30 percent), while Mack Hollins played a career-high 18 snaps (26 percent) on Sunday afternoon. 

It seems like the Eagles want to give them more chances because they have been performing well. 

On the flip side of that, Torrey Smith played a season-low 32 snaps. In each of the last two games, he has just one target and zero catches. He did, however, draw a big defensive pass interference against the 49ers that put the Eagles on the 1-yard line. 

If it seemed like Wendell Smallwood was barely on the field against San Fran, you're right. He had just 13 snaps (19 percent). LeGarrette Blount had 35 of 70, Corey Clement had 19 and Kenjon Barner had four. 

On defense, Patrick Robinson played just 18 snaps before leaving with a concussion. In his absence, Dexter McDougle played 32 snaps (48 percent). His previous season high was seven. He actually played two more than Rasul Douglas. Jaylen Watkins chipped in with 27. 

The other corner numbers were high because the Eagles used a dime defense at times with Jenkins acting like a linebacker. 

Mychal Kendricks played 52 snaps (79 percent) in his return from a hamstring injury. 

Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod and Nigel Bradham didn't leave the field on defense. They played all 66. 

Here's a full look at Sunday's snap counts: 

Offense
Brandon Brooks - 70 snaps (100 percent)
Lane Johnson - 70 (100)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai - 70 (100)
Stefen Wisniewski - 69 (99)
Zach Ertz - 64 (91)
Carson Wentz - 61 (87)
Jason Kelce - 61 (87)
Alshon Jeffery - 48 (69)
Nelson Agholor - 36 (51)
LeGarrette Blount - 35 (50)
Torrey Smith - 32 (46)
Brent Celek - 30 (43)
Trey Burton - 21 (30)
Marcus Johnson - 21 (30)
Corey Clement - 19 (27)
Mack Hollins - 18 (26)
Wendell Smallwood - 13 (19)
Chance Warmack - 10 (14)
Isaac Seumalo - 9 (13)
Nick Foles - 9 (13)
Kenjon Barner - 4 (6) 

Defense
Malcolm Jenkins - 66 snaps (100 percent)
Rodney McLeod - 66 (100)
Nigel Bradham - 66 (100)
Jalen Mills - 61 (92)
Mychal Kendricks - 52 (79)
Fletcher Cox - 45 (68)
Brandon Graham - 44 (67)
Derek Barnett - 34 (52)
Chris Long - 33 (50)
Dexter McDougle - 32 (48)
Vinny Curry - 32 (48)
Rasul Douglas - 30 (45)
Joe Walker - 29 (44)
Beau Allen - 29 (44)
Tim Jernigan - 29 (44)
Jaylen Watkins - 27 (41)
Patrick Robinson - 18 (27)
Destiny Vaeao - 17 (26)
Corey Graham - 14 (21) 
Najee Goode - 1 (2) 

Eagles DE Derek Barnett wreaking havoc as sacks starting to pile up

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Eagles DE Derek Barnett wreaking havoc as sacks starting to pile up

With each passing game, it's starting to become clearer and clearer why the Eagles used their first-round pick on Derek Barnett. 

The rookie defensive end is beginning to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. 

"This guy is very disruptive, explosive," head coach Doug Pederson said. "He's another one of those unselfish guys. He just wants to win and do whatever he can to help the team win."

Barnett, the 14th overall pick in April's draft, had two sacks and a forced fumble in the Eagles' 37-9 win Sunday night over the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. 

In addition to Barnett's two sacks (he forced a fumble on one), he also applied pressure and hit quarterback Dak Prescott on two of his three interceptions. 

It seemed like Sunday was probably Barnett's best NFL game so far. The 21-year-old humbly didn't go along with that assessment. 

"I think I did some good things, but I need to do a better job in the run game," Barnett said. "I didn't do that well in the run game. At the end of the day, we won. That's all that matters. We got a victory and let's all go back to Philly." 

After failing to record a sack in his first five NFL games, Barnett now has 4.5 in his last five games. He is second among all NFL rookies in sacks this season. 

He's already eighth on the Eagles' rookie sack list and could move up that list quickly. Two more sacks would put him third behind just Reggie White (13) and Corey Simon (9.5). 

Sacks sometimes come in bunches. 

"I just think they're coming now," Pederson said. "I think he's getting comfortable in the role. He's developing. He's understanding the game. He studies tackles, he studies his opponent. He's developed a couple of different moves. It's just his willingness. It just clicks for any player. They start to come. I love where he's at right now too." 

Even before the sacks started coming, Barnett was quietly getting pressure. Now, he's getting pressure and finishing the plays. 

Barnett played 51 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps Sunday and is closing on the 50 percent mark on the season. While he hasn't been widely talked about as a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, he could make a case quickly if these numbers keep piling up. 

More importantly, he could offer the Eagles a dangerous pass-rusher as they make their way down the stretch and into the playoffs.

And he's doing it with the same traits that made him attractive to the Eagles in the first place. 

Remember just after he was drafted, when vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas raved about Barnett's "excellent" ankle flexion? 

Well, check out Barnett's bend on his fourth-quarter strip sack: 


 

He bent around the left tackle and came at Prescott horizontally. 

He did it earlier in the game on the Rodney McLeod interception: 

 

And remember how much everyone praised his high motor and compete level? 

Check out his first-half sack. He willed his way to a sack and wouldn't let Prescott escape. 

Sunday was Barnett's second career two-sack game; they came less than a month apart. And it looks like there are plenty more sacks in his future. 

"They're starting to come in slowly but surely," Barnett said. "Everybody says to pass rush, you have to keep on rushing. You can't get down. You're going to be in your little slumps and stuff. You have to keep on grinding through it. It's eventually going to break." 

Why Eagles' play in trenches is behind 8-game win streak

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Why Eagles' play in trenches is behind 8-game win streak

The strength of the Eagles is built on fundamental, sound pay on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Yes, the play of Carson Wentz is the biggest reason the Birds are 9-1, but the play of the defensive line and offensive line are also major factors.

There was no question coming into the season that the DL would pull its weight. I doubt if knowledgeable football minds could argue against the D-line being ranked the No. 1 unit in the NFL.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz centered his defense around the play of his D-line's ability to generate constant pressure on opposing offenses, whether that's in the run game — the Eagles are the NFL's best run defense — or creating havoc on quarterbacks in the pocket. The defensive line has allowed the young secondary to catch up and perform well above expectations, and then Ronald Darby returned Sunday in Dallas (see story).

On the other side of the ball, the Eagles' offensive line has also become a top-five unit in the NFL, and that's without future Hall of Famer Jason Peters. I know Carson Wentz wouldn't argue that.

In Sunday's 37-9 win over the Cowboys, the Eagles' O-line, against a pass rush with featuring a stout defensive front that includes NFL sack leader DeMarcus Lawerence (11 1/2), didn't allow a sack. A lot of credit goes to Lane Johnson for his work on Lawrence.

With no real individual leader to hold this Eagles' offense's hat on, it's a total team effort in which the Eagles go about their about their business. This is just a shining example of why this O-line is so good and underrated. At 9-1, there has not been a wide receiver over 100 yards in a game. If my memory serves me right, the Birds have had a 100-yard rusher twice, both by LeGarrette Blount. So, even with the absence of the all-world Peters, I am secure in rating the Eagles' OL as the No. 1 unit in the NFL.

Fundamentally speaking, football is won in the trenches. I was privileged to be a part of a Super Bowl team with the same formula the Eagles are using to win eight straight games: A young franchise QB (Ben Roethlisberger), a really good defense and a very good O-line.

The Eagles are just scratching the surface with their potential. Like these young players — guys like Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Derek Barnett — develop in the trenches, the sky's the limit for the core of this team.