Eagles snap counts: Maddox solves safety problem in a pinch

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The Eagles entered Sunday’s game against the Bears with just two safeties active so they got a little creative in the 25-20 win.

With C.J. Gardner-Johnson (lacerated kidney) on Injured Reserve and with Reed Blankenship (knee) ruled out on Friday, the Eagles went to Chicago with just Marcus Epps and K’Von Wallace as their safeties. And then they didn’t even elevate veteran Anthony Harris from the practice squad.

While Epps and Wallace started the game, the Eagles moved nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox back to safety in their base package. So he didn’t leave the field on Sunday, playing both positions.

Maddox played all 59 snaps on Sunday in just his second game back from an IR stint with a hamstring injury. This was the first time Maddox played 100% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps in a game since the 2020 season.

Of Maddox’s 59 defensive snaps against the Bears, 15 of them came at free safety, according to ProFootballFocus. That’s his most extensive work at safety since his rookie season in 2018, when Jim Schwartz put him back there out of necessity.

Since then, Maddox has played nickel and outside cornerback but has really settled into his role as the nickel. But he never lost that ability to play safety and that came in handy with the Eagles short-handed on Sunday.

And Maddox also played a great game, totaling 6 tackles and 2 forced fumbles in the win. He’s the first Eagles defensive back with two forced fumbles in a game since Orlando Scandrick in that game against the Jets in 2019. Before that, you’d have to go back to Malcolm Jenkins in 2015 and then back to Brian Dawkins in 2008.

According to ProFootballFocus, Maddox graded out as the Eagles’ third-highest rated defensive player against the Bears, behind just Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat, who had two sacks apiece.

And Wallace had a nice game too. He played 41 snaps and was second on the team with eight tackles.

Other defensive notes

• In addition to Maddox, Epps, Darius Slay and James Bradberry each played all 59 snaps on defense.

• T.J. Edwards played 57 of 59 snaps, coming off the field in a dime look when he was replaced by Josiah Scott. Scott got just those two snaps. Kyzir White played 41 of 59 snaps (69%)

• Here’s a look at the DL rotation: Josh Sweat (44 snaps, 75%), Haason Reddick (44 snaps, 75%), Fletcher Cox (40 snaps, 68%), Javon Hargrave (37 snaps, 63%), Linval Joseph (32 snaps, 54%), Ndaumkong Suh (19 snaps, 32%), Brandon Graham (16 snaps, 27%), Patrick Johnson (15 snaps, 25%), Jordan Davis (14 snaps, 24%), Milton Williams (11 snaps, 19%).

Good production from the line. Reddick, Sweat and Hargrave had two sacks apiece, giving the Eagles 6+ in their last three games.

Offensive notes

• Jalen Hurts and the entire offensive line played all 73 offensive snaps. It’s the sixth time this season they’ve played every snap together. Hurts took some shots on Sunday but kept getting up.

• DeVonta Smith led the receivers with 70 snaps, followed by A.J. Brown (65), Quez Watkins (48) and Zach Pascal (18). Smith and Brown combined for 307 yards. Hurts finished the day with 315 through the air. Getting Dallas Goedert back should give some more balance.

• Speaking of tight ends, Jack Stoll led the way with 58 snaps (79%), followed by Grant Calcaterra (29) and Tyree Jackson (3).

• Miles Sanders got 40 snaps, while Kenny Gainwell got 29 and Boston Scott just 3. But Scott has been contributing on special teams and had a 58-yard kick return on Sunday.

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