Inside the Numbers: Eagles Stay 11-Personnel Heavy Despite Injuries at WR
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles didn't have Alshon Jeffery or Mack Hollins during an 18-12 win over Atlanta on Thursday night and the same will be true in Week 2 when the struggling offense tries to find its bearings against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Despite two of the top four projected receivers unavailable to Doug Pederson the Eagles stuck with their default setting on offense, 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end and three receivers), against the Falcons, lining up with that grouping 74 percent of the time, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
Nelson Agholor predictably got the most playing time with 68 snaps followed by Mike Wallace with 66. The surprise was DeAndre Carter getting on the field for 53 offensive snaps. Shelton Gibson (four reps) and Markus Wheaton (two snaps) saw minimal playing time.
"It's based on kind of how we go into each game. It's not a match-up thing or anything like that," Pederson said when discussing Carter's playing time on Friday. "It's just that DeAndre right now is more of an inside receiver and Shelton is more of an outside guy. We moved [WR] Nelson [Agholor] outside a little bit more in this game, which allowed for DeAndre to play. And then we put DeAndre at the point where he was having to block safeties and -- he does a nice job there. It was a little bit by scheme, but also the way the game kind of played out."
The plan was not all that successful, however, as PFF tallied the Eagles as "winning" 28 percent of the plays when they were in 11 personnel against Atlanta. Philadelphia 'lost' 49 percent of the time and 23 percent were graded as a wash.
Zach Ertz, who had perhaps his worst game as a professional, was on the field for 70-of-72 offensive plays and highly-touted rookie Dallas Goedert only got 17 snaps so the dream of two rangy tight ends playing together remains just that for now.
"In the second half I think we even maybe went [12 personnel] a little bit more," Pederson said. "I mean, we were 11 personnel-heavy, but I think in the second half I used a little more 12 personnel, especially to start the third quarter. But as [Goedert] gets comfortable and he gets more time, especially in the red zone, I think there's going to be some situations where he'll be on the field a lot more, and regardless of who our receivers are, because I think he's a big target and he's a valuable piece to our offense."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen