Eagles snap counts: A lot of Quez Watkins in loss to Cowboys

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Sifting through the Eagles’ 40-34 loss to the Cowboys and one thing that stands out is how much Quez Watkins played and how poorly things went when Gardner Minshew targeted him.

Watkins on Saturday afternoon played 51 snaps (72%) against the Cowboys. That’s his second highest total and percentage of the season, behind just the Packers game, when he plays 66 snaps (83%).

While Watkins had a pretty good performance in that Packers game, this game against the Cowboys game wasn’t great. He was targeted 5 times and had 1 catch for 19 yards. And on two of those targets, Minshew was picked off on balls where Watkins seemingly had a chance to at least knock down the pass.

Why did Watkins play so much?

The Eagles were in 11 personnel (three wideouts) on 80% of their snaps on Saturday afternoon, slightly higher than their 73% on the season. But it’s hard to argue with the personnel packages, because the Eagles offense was humming on Saturday. Their only drives that didn’t end in points, ended with turnovers. And there were four of them.

But the other reason we likely saw so much Watkins is that Zach Pascal didn’t play much. Pascal played just 12 snaps (17%) against the Cowboys. That’s one of his lowest usage games of the year. Perhaps this is because Pascal missed practice this week as he got over a concussion. He was questionable coming into the weekend.

It’s not like the Eagles should take Watkins off the field. His speed is dangerous and he’s still a weapon. But it’s hard to look at the final box score and realize he was targeted two more times than Dallas Goedert in this game. In an ideal world, that flips against the Saints.

And while Watkins’ stats the previous week against the Bears weren’t all his fault — the Eagles threw quick passes to him several times when the number dictated it — his stat line the last two games is rough.

Over the last two weeks, Watkins has played 99 snaps. He’s been targeted 11 times and has 5 catches for 25 yards.

Other offensive notes

• Gardner Minshew and 4/5ths of his offensive line played all 71 snaps. Lane Johnson left in the second half after 60 snaps with an undisclosed injury and Jack Driscoll filled in, playing 11. The Eagles have a unique depth chart on the O-line. Andre Dillard is the backup left tackle and left guard and it appears that Driscoll is the backup right tackle and right guard.

• Dallas Goedert played 67 of 71 snaps in his return from IR with a shoulder injury. Goedert was targeted just 3 times but had 3 catches for 67 yards.

• DeVonta Smith led the receivers with 66 snaps, followed by A.J. Brown (65), Watkins (51) and Pascal (12). Smith and Brown combined for 14 catches, 216 yards and 2 touchdowns.

• Miles Sanders got 38 snaps, followed by Kenny Gainwell (30) and Boston Scott (3). Sanders had a rough day, especially with that fourth-quarter fumble. And Scott had just three snaps but on one of them a botched handoff led to one of their four turnovers on the day.

Defensive notes

• Marcus Epps played all 73 defensive snaps on Saturday and has missed just 10 all season. Darius Slay and James Bradberry played all but one.

• Avonte Maddox played just 19 snaps before exiting the game with a toe injury. In his place, Josiah Scott played 42 (58%) and struggled. ProFootballFocus charged Scott with 3 catches for 76 yards.

• T.J. Edwards led the way for linebackers with 69 snaps, followed by Kyzir White with 50. Nakobe Dean got 1 snap.

• The DL rotation: Haason Reddick: 59 (81%), Javon Hargrave: 55 (75%), Josh Sweat: 50 (68%), Fletcher Cox: 50 (68%), Linval Joseph: 36 (49%), Brandon Graham: 29 (40%), Ndamukong Suh: 22 (30%), Milton Williams: 13 (18%), Jordan Davis: 9 (12%), Patrick Johnson: 8 (11%).

Davis left early with a concussion, while Williams suffered an injury during the game but returned.

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