Eagles

Eagles snap counts: Miles Sanders plays way more than other RBs in opener

Eagles snap counts: Miles Sanders plays way more than other RBs in opener

It was his first NFL game, but that didn’t prevent the Eagles from showing that Miles Sanders might simply be their lead back this season. 

While his numbers weren’t very good — 11 carries for 25 yards — Sanders did have a 21-yard touchdown called back and showed great burst on a 19-yarder earlier in the game. And he showed off his pass protection by standing up a linebacker against Washington. 

The breakdown from this game should show you what the Eagles think about Sanders: 

Miles Sanders: 36 snaps (48 percent)
Darren Sproles: 23 snaps (31 percent)
Jordan Howard: 17 snaps (23 percent)
Corey Clement: 3 snaps (4 percent) 

The fact that Sanders played double the amount of Howard’s snaps, should be a relief to those who have Sanders on their fantasy teams. Because Howard probably deserved more snaps and carries based on the way he ran the ball (6 for 44) and still didn’t get them. Remember, Howard was third in the NFL in rushing yards over the last three years and the Eagles played their second-round pick twice as much as him in the very first game of the season.

And even though Sproles got 12 offensive touches, that doesn’t seem very sustainable for the 36-year-old. 

So it seems like the Eagles are starting this season with the goal of giving Sanders the bulk of the workload. 

Other offensive notes

• Brandon Brooks was on a pitch count. He was supposed to play 30 snaps, but ended up playing 55. After coming out in the second half, he did sneak out there for the victory formation snap. Halapoulivaati Vaitai played 20 snaps in relief. 

• Aside from Brooks, the rest of the OL and Carson Wentz played all 75. That includes Jason Peters, who played every snap in just six of 16 games last season. 

• Among sill position players, Zach Ertz played the most snaps (62 of 75), followed by Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery (60), DeSean Jackson (52) and Dallas Goedert (41). The Eagles used some different formations on Sunday, so it wasn’t as simple as Agholor for Goedert going from 11 personnel to 12. 

• Mack Hollins played 10 snaps and JJ Arcega-Whiteside played just five. That’s a little surprising. You’d think the Eagles would want to get the second-round pick on the field more. But one of those five plays for JJAW was a hold that negated Sanders’ touchdown. 

Defensive notes

• A good sign for the guys coming back from injury. Rodney McLeod (ACL) and Nigel Bradham (foot) played all 67 snaps. Derek Barnett (shoulder) led the defensive end rotation with 55 snaps. Ronald Darby (ACL) played 48 and Fletcher Cox (foot) played 44. It seems like those last two will ramp up. 

• At cornerback, Avonte Maddox played 61 snaps despite leaving with cramps for a bit. He was followed by Rasul Douglas (56), Darby (48) and Sidney Jones (34). 

• Andrew Sendejo is going to play a lot this season. He got 38 snaps in the opener as the third safety and Johnathan Cyprien even got one snap on a 3rd-and-long situation. The Eagles are going to use three safeties quite a bit. 

• Nate Gerry got just two snaps in the Eagles’ base defense, which we really shouldn’t call their base defense anymore. But Gerry led the team in special teams snaps with 24, followed by TE Alex Ellis (22), who was called up on Friday from the practice squad. 

• Josh Sweat played 14 snaps (21 percent). Because of that minimal workload, there’s no reason to keep five DEs active on game day. Sorry, Daeshon Hall. 

Offense

Lane Johnson: 75 snaps (100 percent)
Isaac Seumalo: 75 (100)
Jason Kelce: 75 (100)
Jason Peters: 75 (100)
Carson Wentz: 75 (100)
Zach Ertz: 62 (83)
Nelson Agholor: 60 (80)
Alshon Jeffery: 60 (80)
Brandon Brooks: 55 (73)
DeSean Jackson: 52 (69)
Dallas Goedert: 41 (55)
Miles Sanders: 36 (48) 
Darren Sproles: 23 (31)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 20 (27)
Jordan Howard: 17 (23)
Mack Hollins: 10 (13)
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: 5 (7)
Andre Dillard: 4 (5)
Corey Clement: 3 (4)
Alex Ellis: 2 (3)

Defense 

Malcolm Jenkins: 67 snaps (100 percent)
Rodney McLeod: 67 (100)
Nigel Bradham: 67 (100)
Avonte Maddox: 61 (91)
Rasul Douglas: 56 (84)
Derek Barnett: 55 (82)
Brandon Graham: 48 (72)
Ronald Darby: 48 (72)
Fletcher Cox: 44 (66)
Andrew Sendejo: 38 (57) 
Malik Jackson: 34 (51)
Sidney Jones: 34 (51)
Zach Brown: 29 (43)
Tim Jernigan: 25 (37)
Hassan Ridgeway: 24 (36)
Vinny Curry: 23 (34)
Josh Sweat: 14 (21)
Nate Gerry: 2 (3)
Johnathan Cyprien: 1 (1)

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Ever Wonder: Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green?

Ever Wonder: Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green?

In our latest installment of Ever Wonder, we’re taking a look at one of the most puzzling questions for all Eagles fans: 

Why can’t the Eagles wear kelly green? 

It’s not for lack of effort. While the Eagles haven’t worn kelly green as their primary uniform since they switched to midnight green in the mid-90s, owner Jeff Lurie has been on a mission to bring back kelly green jerseys as an alternate. It’s a mission many Eagles fans and even players support. 

So far, no luck. 

The basic reason is an NFL rule that allows just one helmet per player for safety and quality control reasons. It’s an antiquated rule but it’s the main holdup for the Eagles. 

The Eagles’ helmets are midnight green and Lurie doesn’t want midnight green helmets and kelly green jerseys. 

“To make it look really right, you should have matching helmets,” Lurie said once said. 

The Eagles even went as far as to propose a rule change during the 2017 offseason. But they withdrew the proposal before owners could vote on it because of advice from the NFL’s competition committee. It wasn’t going to pass. 

During those owners meetings, competition committee chairman Rich McKay told me he was hopeful that the rule would eventually get changed. 

A possible workaround would be for the Eagles to use decals on their existing helmets like some other teams, but Lurie doesn’t like that idea. For him, it’s kelly green helmet or bust. 

“We want a kelly green helmet to go with the kelly green jerseys,” he said. 

So, for now, the Eagles wait. 

And they’ll have to wait at least one more year. But there’s some hope for the 2021 season. 

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Is Dallas Goedert the Eagles’ most underrated player?

Is Dallas Goedert the Eagles’ most underrated player?

The folks over at ProFootballFocus recently put together a list of the most underrated player on each of the 32 NFL rosters and the choice for the Eagles wasn’t a very surprising one. 

For the Eagles, they listed tight end Dallas Goedert, the former second-round pick who will enter Year 3 of his career in 2020. 

Here’s what PFF said about Goedert: 

When you enter the NFL in the shadow of one of the league’s best tight ends, it’s easy to be somewhat overlooked. That is the case with Goedert, who was immediately thrust into a role as TE2 despite being taken in the second round out of South Dakota State. The Eagles have run a heavy dose of two tight end sets to get both him and Zach Ertz on the field, and it’s pretty clear from those snaps that Goedert is a top-end TE in the NFL.

“Since 2018, Goedert actually ranks fifth among qualifying tight ends in overall grade, ahead of Ertz. A big reason — outside of the obvious mismatch threats he poses as a receiver — is his elite play as a blocker for the position. Goedert’s 81.4 run-blocking grade sits sandwiched between Maxx Williams and George Kittle for second at the position over that same span. He is a complete tight end who would be a high-level primary option on most rosters in the NFL.

All of that is fair. And from a national perspective, I’m sure Goedert is very underrated. I don’t think he’s as underrated in Philadelphia, where Eagles fans get to watch him every weekend. 

In his first two seasons, Goedert has 91 catches for 941 yards and nine touchdowns. He made a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2 and he’s one of the better blocking tight ends in the league. So he’s a really well-rounded tight end. 

And his numbers aren’t that far off from what Zach Ertz did in his first two NFL seasons: 

Ertz: 94 catches, 1,171 yards, 7 touchdowns

Goedert: 91 catches, 941 yards, 9 touchdowns 

Heck, Goedert has been so good that he has some fans wondering if the Eagles should move on from Ertz at some point. 

So maybe from a national perspective, Goedert is underrated. But here in Philly, I don’t think he is. 

The two players I think are underrated locally are Isaac Seumalo and Derek Barnett. Neither guy is a star but both are better players than they get for. 

Seumalo has had two horrendous games in his career and it has really tainted the perception of his play. But aside from those games, he’s been a solid player. He’s still  just 26 and has become a pretty good starting left guard. 

And Barnett hasn’t lived up to his draft status as the 14th pick but he’s been better than you think when he’s on the field. The injuries are a concern, but since Barnett was drafted in 2017 he’s third on the team in sacks (14) behind Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox and second in QB hits (49) behind just Cox. And he is still just 23!

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