Philadelphia Eagles

Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter embracing increasing snap counts


They're playing a lot and they're playing great, and the Eagles are hoping the first thing doesn't change the second thing.

There are only two interior linemen in the NFL 23 or younger who’ve played at least 440 snaps this year.

Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter. Davis has played 455 snaps and Jalen Carter 440. 

It’s a lot for two guys who've never played this much before, and they’re at the point now where they’ve already played a full college season, with the most important games of the year coming up. Starting Sunday in Dallas.

Davis and Carter have both had outstanding seasons, and the two former Georgia Bulldog teammates are by far the most impressive tandem of young interior linemen in the NFL.

But are the elevated snap counts too much? Davis and Carter both say no.

“I feel like I'm holding up pretty good,” Carter said after practice Friday. “I haven't had anyone tell me that I need to give more effort or anything like that. I feel like I'm doing pretty good.

“Whatever I get is what I get for that weekend. I'll be happy with what I get. I'll try to make it happen with whatever snaps I get.”

Carter has played 408 defensive snaps and 32 on special teams in 11 games and Davis has played 362 on defense and 93 on special teams in 12 games.

Davis averaged 17 snaps per game last year and is at 30 this year. He’s already played over 100 more snaps this year than he did as a rookie, when he missed four games.

Over the last month, their snap counts have been higher than ever. Carter has actually played the fourth-most snaps of any NFL interior lineman over the past month. His snaps have gone from 29 per game through the second Washington game to 52 per game the last four. Davis has gone from 27 per game through the second Washington game to 37 the last four.

Against the Bills, when the Eagles played 95 defensive snaps, Carter played 76 – the most by any NFL interior lineman in any game this year. Davis played a career-high (by far) 62.

“We're about three quarters of the way through the season, so to be able to play in every game and still be healthy, that’s huge for me,” Davis said Friday. “Last year I was knocked out for like, what, five weeks or something like that? So, yeah, it's a long season, but I’m feeling great.

“We’re on a mission every week and I’m not thinking about snap counts. I never even look at them. Whatever they’re asking of me, that’s what I’m going to give them.”

Davis and Carter have both been outstanding this year, but their production has dropped off a bit of late. 

Through Week 7, they had combined for five sacks, seven tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and 10 quarterback hits. 

The last five games, they’ve combined for half a sack, one tackle for loss, no forced fumbles and two QB hits. 

It could be simply because the Eagles have played stronger opponents. But it's something to keep an eye on.

There’s still a rotation with Fletcher Cox and Milton Williams, but the Eagles do miss snaps from Kentavius Street, who was playing an increasingly significant role when he was traded. And Cox’s snaps have been down the last two weeks as he deals with a groin injury. 

It’s a tricky balance for the coaches. You want your best players on the field, but you also need to make sure you’re not overdoing it.  

And Carter’s top four snap count games have all been the last six games. Three of Davis's top five have been the last three weeks.

Both Carter, 22, and Davis, 23, said they’re spending more time on recovery and maintenance than they ever have before. 

“The first thing that was said when I got to the next level was, ‘There's more games, there'll be a longer season, the body might hurt more,’ stuff like that,” Carter said. “That's why we’ve got the training room, cold tub, hot tub, sauna. I take advantage of those every day.”

What’s helped the most?

“The cold tub,” he said. “I’m still getting used to it. That thing is really cold. It really hits me. Every time people ask, ‘What’s your routine to get your body right,’ it’s the cold tub.”

When we caught up with Carter, he had just finished a cardio session and his hoodie was completely soaked through.

“I’m not going to sit here and say I love doing cardio or I’m excited to do it every day, but I know it’s necessary,” he said. “I feel like you can never get enough. I know for me, to get where I want to be, it’s something I have to do. It comes with being a professional.

“I do the treadmill, the VersaClimber sometimes, sometimes the elliptical. It’s all about just getting moving and getting your heart rate going.”

The Eagles haven’t won any blowouts, so the coaches haven’t had the opportunity to rest guys late in games like last year.

One thing is certain. The Eagles need Carter and Davis at their best over the next five weeks and presumably beyond. 

No matter how many snaps they have to play.

“It’s just the name of the game,” Davis said. “We’re still not where we want to be. We just have to keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing and taking care of ourselves and just holding it down.

“The offseason is to get your body right. Right now, we just know that it's a mission every week. Do what you can, pack yourself up and get back to it.”

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