Snap counts: Jason Kelce, Malcolm Jenkins play most snaps in 2016 for Eagles

Snap counts: Jason Kelce, Malcolm Jenkins play most snaps in 2016 for Eagles

Jason Kelce and Malcolm Jenkins are the Eagles' iron men for the 2016 season. 

We'll start with a look at Kelce, who might have had an up-and-down season, but didn't leave the field once. He played all 1,133 offensive snaps in 2016 a year after playing all 1,156 snaps in 2015. 

Kelce hasn't missed an offensive snap since Week 10 of the 2014 season. That’s 39 straight games; it's been at least 2,795 straight snaps for the Eagles' center. 

On the other side of the ball, safety Malcolm Jenkins missed just one snap in 2016 and it came on that silly fake punt from the Browns in the opener. That means he played 1,019 of 1,020 and has missed just eight total snaps in his three years in Philly.

Jenkins didn't lead the league in snaps in 2016 after leading the league in 2014 and 2015. In his three years with the Eagles, he's played 3,407 of 3,415 total defensive snaps. He also plays special teams, which makes it even more impressive.

Here's a look at Eagles snap counts in 2016 by position. 

Quarterbacks
Carson Wentz: 1,127 snaps (99 percent)
Chase Daniel: 6 (1)

The only time Wentz came out of a game this season was against the Giants, when he needed to be evaluated for a concussion. He missed the tail end of one series and that was it. He returned for the next possession. Wentz went from a possible redshirt season to playing 99 percent of the Eagles' offensive snaps in 2016. 

Chase Daniel was in for just six plays. The backup is in Philly on a three-year deal worth $21 million. With each season being worth $7 million on average, that means each snap Daniel played this season was worth $1.167 million. 

Running backs
Darren Sproles: 511 (45)
Ryan Mathews: 287 (25)
Wendell Smallwood: 164 (14)
Kenjon Barner: 99 (9)
Byron Marshall: 75 (7)
Terrell Watson: 12 (1)

At 33 years old, Sproles led the way for the running backs and still played less than 50 percent. He got so many snaps because of his value on third downs as a receiver and pass protector. Sproles played just 393 snaps as a 32-year-old in 2015. 

Mathews was next with 287 after playing 245 snaps a year ago. Of Mathews' 287 snaps, he got the ball on 168 of them (58.5 percent). 

Smallwood got 164 snaps as a rookie and had 77 rushing attempts. His average of 4.1 yards per attempt was third on the team behind Sproles (4.7) and Mathews (4.3), but he became the first Eagles' rookie with an average over 4.0 yards per attempts (minimum of 70 attempts) since Bryce Brown in 2012. 

Receivers 
Nelson Agholor: 883 (78)
Jordan Matthews: 844 (74)
Dorial Green-Beckham: 642 (57)
Paul Turner: 154 (14)
Josh Huff: 134 (12)
Bryce Treggs: 126 (11)

Even with his mental health day against the Packers, Agholor still played more snaps than any other receiver on the roster. He played over 200 more snaps in his second season than his first, largely because of his high ankle sprain as a rookie. 

Matthews led the receivers in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Dorial Green-Beckham arrived during training camp and still played 57 percent of snaps. 

Tight ends
Zach Ertz: 851 (75)
Brent Celek: 439 (39)
Trey Burton: 331 (29)

Ertz ended up being the team's leading receiver in 2016. He led the Eagles in receptions, yards and touchdowns, surpassing Matthews in the final game. Ertz saw his snaps increase to 851 from 788 in 2015, but Celek's dropped. The veteran played 601 snaps in 2015, but just 439 in 2016. 

And Burton went from just 63 snaps in Chip Kelly's system last season to 331 this year. The Eagles used a lot of three-tight end sets. 

Offensive line
Jason Kelce: 1,133 (100)
Jason Peters: 1,100 (97)
Brandon Brooks: 991 (87)
Allen Barbre: 619 (55)
Stefen Wisniewski: 607 (54)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 423 (37)
Lane Johnson: 407 (36)
Isaac Seumalo: 335 (30)
Matt Tobin: 100 (9)
Dillon Goron: 2 
Josh Andrews: 1

We already got into Kelce, but it's probably even more important to realize that Peters played 1,100 snaps this season. He was back to 97 percent of the Eagles' snaps like he was in 2014. In 2015, he seemed to be constantly injured and played just 65.8 percent. Doug Pederson did a masterful job of managing Peters this season.

Even with his two last-minute absences because of his battle with anxiety, Brooks managed to play 991 snaps (87 percent) and seemed to be a pretty good free-agent acquisition. So did veteran Wisniewski, who played 54 percent of the team's total offensive snaps after being signed on a one-year deal. 

Rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Isaac Seumalo got plenty of experience in 2016 (see story).  

Defensive line
Fletcher Cox: 773 snaps (76 percent)
Brandon Graham: 764 (75)
Connor Barwin: 713 (70)
Bennie Logan: 467 (46)
Vinny Curry: 435 (43)
Beau Allen: 412 (40)
Destiny Vaeao: 268 (26)
Marcus Smith: 218 (21)
Steven Means: 36 (4)
Bryan Braman: 3
Taylor Hart: 0

No surprise here, but Cox led the way for the defense, even with a rotation. Brandon Graham, who wasn't even expected to be a starter at the beginning of the spring, ended up leading the Eagles' defensive ends, ahead of Connor Barwin.

Vinny Curry, who signed a five-year, $46 million extension this past offseason, played just 43 percent of the team's defensive snaps.

Solid playing time for undrafted rookie Vaeao out of Washington State. He played a significant role, while Taylor Hart was brought back by the Eagles but never made it onto the field. 

At defensive end, Marcus Smith played 218 snaps as opposed to 127 in 2015. 

Linebackers
Nigel Bradham: 990 (97)
Jordan Hicks: 971 (95)
Mychal Kendricks: 273 (27)
Stephen Tulloch: 69 (7)
Najee Goode: 2
Kamu Grugier-Hill: 1

Big numbers for Bradham and Hicks, who spent most of the season on the field together in the nickel package. They rarely left the field. Bradham has just one year left on his contract but hopes to be around Hicks for a long time.

Kendricks was relegated to being the team's WILL in the base package, which meant just 273 snaps. He was clearly frustrated by this, especially after he was already frustrated by playing 628 snaps in 2015. 

Defensive backs
Malcolm Jenkins: 1,019 (100 percent)
Rodney McLeod: 1,014 (99)
Nolan Carroll: 910 (89)
Jalen Mills: 661 (65)
Leodis McKelvin: 587 (58)
Jaylen Watkins: 388 (38)
Ron Brooks: 235 (23)
Terrence Brooks: 3
Chris Maragos: 1
C.J. Smith: 1
Aaron Grymes: 0
Dwayne Gratz: 0

We know Jenkins doesn't leave the field, but for the second straight year, his safety partner was right there with him. Walter Thurmond played 99 percent of snaps last year and free-agent pickup McLeod did it this year. 

Carroll led the way for the corners with 910 snaps. He's now a free agent. Mills played 661 snaps as a rookie and veteran McKelvin battled through a hamstring injury to eventually play 587. 

Brooks played 23 percent of the team's total snaps, but it would have been much, much higher had he not gotten injured in the Vikings' game. Even though the torn quad cut his year short, his 235 defensive snaps were a career high. His previous high was 162 as a rookie in 2012. 

'Highly respected' Zach Ertz important piece of Eagles' offense

'Highly respected' Zach Ertz important piece of Eagles' offense

It doesn't take long in any conversation about Zach Ertz in Philadelphia before the words "breakout season" are tossed around.
 
Again.
 
But while a good portion of Eagles fans have been impatiently waiting for Ertz to "break out," the 2013 draft pick has quietly put together an extremely impressive start to his career.
 
In four seasons, Ertz has caught 247 passes for 2,840 yards and 13 touchdowns. He's one of just seven tight ends in NFL history to put up those numbers in the first four seasons of a career. The other six: Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates, Jeremy Shockey, Tony Gonzalez, Kellen Winslow and Mike Ditka.
 
Not bad company.
 
But for whatever reason, Ertz hasn't become a real fan favorite. Fans have questioned his talent, his play-making ability and even his toughness.
 
Why the indifference?
 
"I don't know," tight ends coach Justin Peele said. "I love coaching him. I think he's good for this team. Every day he comes to work with the right attitude, trying to get better. He's had some success. I don't know. He's a pleasure to coach and I know he's very highly respected in this organization."
 
Ertz, 26, admitted this spring that the constant criticism from fans used to bother him when he was younger. But now entering his fifth season with the Eagles, he's gotten used to it.
 
Does Ertz think he's underrated or overrated?
 
"Whatever people think, people think," Ertz said earlier this spring on Quick Slants on CSN. "I'm not going to get caught up in people's opinions. It's the guys in this building, their opinions of me. I'm really happy with how I progressed this spring and I think I'm setting the stage for a good season."
 
The one thing Ertz admitted he needs to improve is his production in the end zone. He has just 13 touchdown catches in four years and has never had more than four in a season.
 
To put that in perspective, only two players over the last four years — Matt Forte and Jarvis Landry — have had more catches with 13 or fewer touchdowns. 
 
"That falls on me to go out there every Sunday to make plays," Ertz said. "Show I can do it in the spring and in the summer leading into the season and I'm working really hard at it."
 
The height of Ertz criticism came during a 32-14 Week 13 loss at Cincinnati last season. There was an infamous play where Carson Wentz went scrambling and Ertz failed to block a charging Vontaze Burfict, who was in pursuit. The play actually looked like Ertz got out of the way.
 
It was a bad look.
 
And Ertz knew it. He heard the criticism loudly and went out the next week and had a tough, physical game. But the damage was done. A lot of the fanbase turned on him.
 
"One play is not going to define him," Peele said. "The kid played through injury, he came back quick off of surgery a few years ago. He practices every day. This team is important to him. The game of football is important to him."
 
One way Ertz can win back Eagles fans this year is by having a big season. And that isn't out of the realm of possibility for one big reason. He's entering Year 2 with Wentz.
 
Since he entered the league in 2013, he's played with a new quarterback every season. So for this upcoming year, he's worked hard to build a rapport with Wentz and hopes the two of them can build something (see story).
 
How big of a season can Ertz have in 2017?
 
"It just really depends on the health," Peele said. "He's really talented. He can do a lot of things. He can help this offense in a lot of ways. I'm looking forward to it. He's doing well right now."

Seumalo, Vaitai comfortable heading into Year 2 after busy rookie seasons

Seumalo, Vaitai comfortable heading into Year 2 after busy rookie seasons

Had everything gone to plan in 2016, Isaac Seumalo and Halapoulivaati Vaitai would have spent their rookie seasons watching from the sideline. 

Everything didn't go to plan. 

Allen Barbre had a hamstring injury, Lane Johnson was suspended for 10 games and Brandon Brooks lost two games as he dealt with anxiety issues. 

As a result, Seumalo and Vaitai, third- and fifth-round draft picks, respectively, aren't just one year into their NFL careers. They've also played significant NFL snaps. 

And this year, they'll arrive at training camp as seasoned veterans, not green rookies. So which has had the greater impact: the year or playing time? 

"It’s both," head coach Doug Pederson said. "It's a combination of both. But the biggest thing is the actual playing time last year has really put them in good position this year."

Vaitai ended up playing in seven games with six starts. He played a total of 423 snaps as a rookie and filled in for Johnson until he went down with a knee injury. After a rough start — really rough — Vaitai settled in and showed signs that he could possibly be the Eagles' right tackle of the future. 

When asked about the difference in Vaitai from last year to this year, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland laughed before answering. 

"Night and day, apples and oranges," Stoutland said. "Just his understanding of the position, his balance, his body control, the way he uses his hands. This is a lot faster game than college."

Vaitai found out about the speed of the game first-hand in Week 6 last year. Thanks to Johnson's suspension, Vaitai started at right tackle and didn't have a bad game. He had a horrible game. 

He didn't need to think very long when he was asked what his "welcome to the NFL" moment was. 

"It was that game," he said. "Because in camp I'm going with the threes and twos. I was still a rookie, but when I got thrown into the fire, I learned real quick that if you're not doing great, then you're out. I didn't want to be a disappointment to my family and be that guy who gets drafted and then is out the next year."

Seumalo ended up playing in nine games with four starts and a total of 335 snaps. He played four positions along the offensive line; the only one he didn't play was his most natural spot at center. 

"It's not just the year, it's the playing experience," Stoutland said. "He's played in nine games I think he started four of those games. ... He played a lot of football in his first year. Just that experience in playing those positions and understanding the angles we need to take. He's a very intelligent player. I love coaching players of his magnitude. They have talent, they're smart. Really all you do is coach him one time on something and he pretty much has it."

Seumalo didn't get to play at center last year because veteran Jason Kelce didn't miss any of the 1,133 snaps in 2016. Kelce is still on the team, but it seems like the Eagles are grooming Seumalo to eventually take over. Even this spring, the second-year lineman has been taking some first-team reps at center. 

That's actually how Seumalo thinks he got better. By learning the center position, he gained a better grasp of the offense. That, combined with a year under his belt and significant playing time, have him feeling much more confident heading into Year 2.

"Training camp was tough and a grind and the season is just long," Seumalo said. "Now, I know what to expect a little bit more."