Eagles

Snap counts: Jason Kelce, Malcolm Jenkins play most snaps in 2016 for Eagles

Snap counts: Jason Kelce, Malcolm Jenkins play most snaps in 2016 for Eagles

Jason Kelce and Malcolm Jenkins are the Eagles' iron men for the 2016 season. 

We'll start with a look at Kelce, who might have had an up-and-down season, but didn't leave the field once. He played all 1,133 offensive snaps in 2016 a year after playing all 1,156 snaps in 2015. 

Kelce hasn't missed an offensive snap since Week 10 of the 2014 season. That’s 39 straight games; it's been at least 2,795 straight snaps for the Eagles' center. 

On the other side of the ball, safety Malcolm Jenkins missed just one snap in 2016 and it came on that silly fake punt from the Browns in the opener. That means he played 1,019 of 1,020 and has missed just eight total snaps in his three years in Philly.

Jenkins didn't lead the league in snaps in 2016 after leading the league in 2014 and 2015. In his three years with the Eagles, he's played 3,407 of 3,415 total defensive snaps. He also plays special teams, which makes it even more impressive.

Here's a look at Eagles snap counts in 2016 by position. 

Quarterbacks
Carson Wentz: 1,127 snaps (99 percent)
Chase Daniel: 6 (1)

The only time Wentz came out of a game this season was against the Giants, when he needed to be evaluated for a concussion. He missed the tail end of one series and that was it. He returned for the next possession. Wentz went from a possible redshirt season to playing 99 percent of the Eagles' offensive snaps in 2016. 

Chase Daniel was in for just six plays. The backup is in Philly on a three-year deal worth $21 million. With each season being worth $7 million on average, that means each snap Daniel played this season was worth $1.167 million. 

Running backs
Darren Sproles: 511 (45)
Ryan Mathews: 287 (25)
Wendell Smallwood: 164 (14)
Kenjon Barner: 99 (9)
Byron Marshall: 75 (7)
Terrell Watson: 12 (1)

At 33 years old, Sproles led the way for the running backs and still played less than 50 percent. He got so many snaps because of his value on third downs as a receiver and pass protector. Sproles played just 393 snaps as a 32-year-old in 2015. 

Mathews was next with 287 after playing 245 snaps a year ago. Of Mathews' 287 snaps, he got the ball on 168 of them (58.5 percent). 

Smallwood got 164 snaps as a rookie and had 77 rushing attempts. His average of 4.1 yards per attempt was third on the team behind Sproles (4.7) and Mathews (4.3), but he became the first Eagles' rookie with an average over 4.0 yards per attempts (minimum of 70 attempts) since Bryce Brown in 2012. 

Receivers 
Nelson Agholor: 883 (78)
Jordan Matthews: 844 (74)
Dorial Green-Beckham: 642 (57)
Paul Turner: 154 (14)
Josh Huff: 134 (12)
Bryce Treggs: 126 (11)

Even with his mental health day against the Packers, Agholor still played more snaps than any other receiver on the roster. He played over 200 more snaps in his second season than his first, largely because of his high ankle sprain as a rookie. 

Matthews led the receivers in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Dorial Green-Beckham arrived during training camp and still played 57 percent of snaps. 

Tight ends
Zach Ertz: 851 (75)
Brent Celek: 439 (39)
Trey Burton: 331 (29)

Ertz ended up being the team's leading receiver in 2016. He led the Eagles in receptions, yards and touchdowns, surpassing Matthews in the final game. Ertz saw his snaps increase to 851 from 788 in 2015, but Celek's dropped. The veteran played 601 snaps in 2015, but just 439 in 2016. 

And Burton went from just 63 snaps in Chip Kelly's system last season to 331 this year. The Eagles used a lot of three-tight end sets. 

Offensive line
Jason Kelce: 1,133 (100)
Jason Peters: 1,100 (97)
Brandon Brooks: 991 (87)
Allen Barbre: 619 (55)
Stefen Wisniewski: 607 (54)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 423 (37)
Lane Johnson: 407 (36)
Isaac Seumalo: 335 (30)
Matt Tobin: 100 (9)
Dillon Goron: 2 
Josh Andrews: 1

We already got into Kelce, but it's probably even more important to realize that Peters played 1,100 snaps this season. He was back to 97 percent of the Eagles' snaps like he was in 2014. In 2015, he seemed to be constantly injured and played just 65.8 percent. Doug Pederson did a masterful job of managing Peters this season.

Even with his two last-minute absences because of his battle with anxiety, Brooks managed to play 991 snaps (87 percent) and seemed to be a pretty good free-agent acquisition. So did veteran Wisniewski, who played 54 percent of the team's total offensive snaps after being signed on a one-year deal. 

Rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Isaac Seumalo got plenty of experience in 2016 (see story).  

Defensive line
Fletcher Cox: 773 snaps (76 percent)
Brandon Graham: 764 (75)
Connor Barwin: 713 (70)
Bennie Logan: 467 (46)
Vinny Curry: 435 (43)
Beau Allen: 412 (40)
Destiny Vaeao: 268 (26)
Marcus Smith: 218 (21)
Steven Means: 36 (4)
Bryan Braman: 3
Taylor Hart: 0

No surprise here, but Cox led the way for the defense, even with a rotation. Brandon Graham, who wasn't even expected to be a starter at the beginning of the spring, ended up leading the Eagles' defensive ends, ahead of Connor Barwin.

Vinny Curry, who signed a five-year, $46 million extension this past offseason, played just 43 percent of the team's defensive snaps.

Solid playing time for undrafted rookie Vaeao out of Washington State. He played a significant role, while Taylor Hart was brought back by the Eagles but never made it onto the field. 

At defensive end, Marcus Smith played 218 snaps as opposed to 127 in 2015. 

Linebackers
Nigel Bradham: 990 (97)
Jordan Hicks: 971 (95)
Mychal Kendricks: 273 (27)
Stephen Tulloch: 69 (7)
Najee Goode: 2
Kamu Grugier-Hill: 1

Big numbers for Bradham and Hicks, who spent most of the season on the field together in the nickel package. They rarely left the field. Bradham has just one year left on his contract but hopes to be around Hicks for a long time.

Kendricks was relegated to being the team's WILL in the base package, which meant just 273 snaps. He was clearly frustrated by this, especially after he was already frustrated by playing 628 snaps in 2015. 

Defensive backs
Malcolm Jenkins: 1,019 (100 percent)
Rodney McLeod: 1,014 (99)
Nolan Carroll: 910 (89)
Jalen Mills: 661 (65)
Leodis McKelvin: 587 (58)
Jaylen Watkins: 388 (38)
Ron Brooks: 235 (23)
Terrence Brooks: 3
Chris Maragos: 1
C.J. Smith: 1
Aaron Grymes: 0
Dwayne Gratz: 0

We know Jenkins doesn't leave the field, but for the second straight year, his safety partner was right there with him. Walter Thurmond played 99 percent of snaps last year and free-agent pickup McLeod did it this year. 

Carroll led the way for the corners with 910 snaps. He's now a free agent. Mills played 661 snaps as a rookie and veteran McKelvin battled through a hamstring injury to eventually play 587. 

Brooks played 23 percent of the team's total snaps, but it would have been much, much higher had he not gotten injured in the Vikings' game. Even though the torn quad cut his year short, his 235 defensive snaps were a career high. His previous high was 162 as a rookie in 2012. 

Nelson Agholor focused simply on having fun in midst of turnaround season

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Nelson Agholor focused simply on having fun in midst of turnaround season

Don't talk to Nelson Agholor about his stats. Don't even try.

He doesn't want to hear about it.

Here we are in Week 7, and Agholor needs 45 yards Monday night against the Redskins for a career receiving high. For a full season.

His four touchdowns are already more than his combined career total of three from his first two years. His 16.1 yards per catch is 10th-best in the NFL and light years above his career high of 11.0 coming into the season.

Impressed?

“Not really," Agholor said. "I just look at how much fun I’m having and team success, and that’s the best part about this situation.

"If somebody came in and told me all my numbers and statistics, all that type of stuff? The best part of it is we’re winning a lot of football games right now and we’re having a whole lot of fun doing it."

Six games into the season, Agholor has 20 catches for 321 yards.

Compare that with the last seven weeks of last year, when a disappointing career turned into a disaster and he caught just 11 catches for just 108 yards.

Agholor just shrugs.

“That’s a great thing," he said. "I’m having so much more fun this year, so that’s the best part. I’m having more fun than my first two years in the league.

"They go hand in hand. The more fun you have, because winning is fun, making plays is fun, but there’s just a feeling about stepping on the field and enjoying the moment and enjoying the opportunity."

In his first two years, Agholor's best games went for 57, 62 and 64 yards. Already this year, he's had games with 55, 58, 86 and 93 yards.

So in just six weeks, he's produced four of his seven-best games as a pro.

We heard about it all spring, and we heard about it all summer, and Agholor has backed up all the talk about becoming a different guy with production.

He really has become a different guy.

Head coach Doug Pederson noticed it the first day of OTAs.

"Part of my message to him, specifically to Nelson, after the season, was just get away," Pederson said. "Get away, clear your mind, clear everything, and when he came back in the spring for OTAs, he was a changed football player. He was a changed person. His confidence level was higher. 

"I would say it wasn't like through the roof as it is now, but it was beginning to build at that point of the spring, and each day that he got a little more comfortable in his new role of playing in the slot helped that. And I think, too, the addition of Torrey (Smith) and Alshon (Jeffery) on the perimeter also took a little of the pressure off of him and diverted it to all three of them."

The move to the slot gave Agholor ownership of a specific position and created matchup problems for defenses that just don't have the speed to cover Jeffery and Smith outside and Agholor inside.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to just run different routes and give a different look," Agholor said. "I like playing outside, inside, wherever. I just like being a guy that you can get the football to, so I want to know as much as I can in terms of the route tree to help myself be a better football player, and Doug decided this was a great place for me to get those targets, and I’m very appreciative."

This time last year, Wentz wasn't even looking Agholor's way. Now, other than tight end Zach Ertz, he's become his favorite receiver.

"A guy like that, I’m just so happy for him," Carson Wentz said. "He’s one of the hardest-working guys I’ve ever been around. And so to see him kind of take that step? And really the biggest thing I think we’ve all seen is just his confidence is just through the roof, and that’s really been exciting for him, exciting for this team, exciting for this whole city."

One of the biggest differences in Agholor this year is his ability to make plays after the catch.

With his new-found confidence, he actually looks faster. Through six games, Agholor has 143 yards after the catch, or 7.2 yards per reception. He had 113 YACs all last year, just 3.1 yards per catch.

“It’s a want-to thing," he said. "First is securing the catch and then just the want-to after that.

"I’ve just been in position. Been in position to catch the ball and then grass in front of me and making plays. I just hope to be in position or often."

Here we are six games into the season, and Agholor and not Jeffery or Smith leads all Eagles wide receivers in yards so far this year.

And Agholor and Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs are the only NFL receivers with more than one 50-yard touchdown catch. Agholor had a 58-yarder on opening day against the Redskins and a 72-yarder against the Cards.

None of this surprises Agholor.
 
"I expected to keep on trusting the process and keep on getting better each day and then letting opportunity meet preparation," Agholor said. "And for me, I think like I have a lot more to do and I want to keep on getting better as a football player."

5 key matchups Eagles need to win to beat Redskins again

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5 key matchups Eagles need to win to beat Redskins again

The Eagles finally snapped the five-game losing streak to Washington in the season opener on Sept. 10. 

Now they have a chance to start a streak of their own. 

Both teams have found success after that 30-17 Eagles win in the opener. The Eagles are 5-1 with the best record in the NFC, while Washington is 3-2 and second in the NFC East. 

With a win on Monday night at the Linc, the Eagles would be 6-1 and would put another game between them and their closest division opponent. So it could be a big boost (see story)

But remember, these division games aren't normally easy and until this season's opener, Washington had their number. 

Here are five matchups to watch on Monday night: 

Zach Ertz vs. Washington's safeties 
Washington hasn't been able to stop Ertz yet, so this is still a huge matchup problem. In the opener, he caught eight passes for 93 yards. That game kicked off what has already been an incredible season for the tight end. 

In nine career games against the division foe, Ertz has 54 catches for 531 yards. Ertz likes playing against Washington and it's not just his crazy numbers (see story)

And it's not just Ertz. Washington has struggled against tight ends all season. They lead the league in yards surrendered to opposing tight ends with 407 on 29 catches, with two touchdowns. 

Brandon Scherff vs. Fletcher Cox
Washington coach Jay Gruden admitted his team was beaten physically in the first meeting between these two. That started with Cox, who had a huge strip sack on Kirk Cousins in the first quarter. Because Scherff is a Pro Bowl guard, there's a good chance Cox will actually see plenty of 1-on-1 against him on Monday. He'll need to beat Scherff again. 

Scherff has been really good since Washington used the fifth overall pick on him in 2015, but this is his biggest test. And he'll get it twice per season in the next few years. 

"I think the Redskins have a fine offensive line," Eagles DC Jim Schwartz said. "It's going to be one of our biggest challenges." 

Morgan Moses vs. Brandon Graham 
For what it's worth, Moses is ProFootballFocus' 17th ranked offensive guard. That's not great but he's not usually a liability and he's not a bad right tackle. But Graham absolutely spanked him the first time these two teams met. 

In that game, Graham had two sacks, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble. If he has that kind of impact again, it's going to be a long day for Moses. 

LeGarrette Blount vs. Redskins' run D
Blount had just 46 yards on 14 carries in the first meeting but since then, he's really come on and Doug Pederson has shown a devotion to finding balance in his offense. 

Washington has been pretty good against the run, giving up 88 yards per game (eighth in the league). But they'll be without first-round pick Jonathan Allen, one of their top defensive linemen. 

Eagles' WRs vs. Washington's banged up corners
If Blount isn't heavily involved in the game plan on Monday it might be because Pederson sees opportunity in the passing game. Washington's starting cornerback Josh Norman (rib fracture) has been ruled out and Bashaud Breeland (knee) is questionable. 

Even if Breeland plays, he won't be 100 percent and they'll definitely miss Norman. Even though the backups have played pretty well, Carson Wentz will probably test this banged up Washington secondary early and often. 

If Washington is without both of their starting corners — or even if Breeland plays — expect Pederson to attack their backups. It could be a big day for the Eagles' passing game.