Snapping the trend: Do the Eagles have a new wide receiver conundrum?

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During last week’s impressive win against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Philadelphia Eagles ran the ball 42 times for 214 yards and passed it 31 times for 240 yards. During this game, something happened for the first time all year which should have been happening since week 1; Nelson Agholor was in the game for more snaps than Torrey Smith. Let’s look at the snap count for these two wide receivers through the first four weeks of the season.

Torrey Smith Nelson Agholor
Week 1 vs Washington 48 snaps (71% of offensive plays) 42 snaps (62% of offensive plays)
Week 2 vs Kansas City 62 snaps (86% of offensive plays) 55 snaps (76% of offensive plays)
Week 3 vs New York 58 snaps (76% of offensive plays) 45 snaps (59% of offensive plays)
Week 4 vs Los Angeles 57 snaps (72% of offensive plays) 61 snaps (77 % of offensive plays)

There is no pattern here to follow; the snap count for Agholor rose drastically from week 3 to week 4, as it should have. Nelson Agholor is playing like a very confident NFL wide receiver at the moment and it should have every Eagles fan excited. On the season, Nelson Agholor has 12 receptions on 18 targets, 173 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 drop with a 6% drop rating. Agholor has had his own issues with drops in the past; however, no one can deny the different attitude (dare I say, “swagger”) Agholor is playing with is encouraging.

Torrey Smith is a 7-year veteran in the National Football League and has contently struggled with dropped passes. If you watched the Eagles week 4 matchup against the Chargers, chances are you remember both of Torrey Smith’s drops, one drop which would have led to a first down and the other to 6 points on the board. This season, Smith is entering week 5 with 10 receptions on 19 targets, 134 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 4 drops with a 16.0% drop percentage. Now let’s run through the numbers from Smith’s last 3 years as a pro…in 2016, Smith was targeted 45 times, had 20 receptions, and 6 drops. In 2015, Smith was targeted 56 times, had 33 receptions, and 5 drops, in 2014, Smith had 89 targets, 49 receptions, and 11 drops. This is not a new issue in Torrey Smith’s career and is something I am afraid may never be solved for the 7-year-vet.

Currently on profootballfocus.com, a website that rates NFL players on their performance during each snap, they have Torrey Smith rated as the 99th best wide receiver in the league with a grade of 42.1 and they have Nelson Agholor rated as the 29th best wide receiver in the league with a grade of 77.4.

I am not calling for Torrey Smith to sit on the sidelines for 60 minutes and not contribute. I fully understand the deep threat Smith poses. However, a decline in snaps for Smith, a 28-year-old, should continue as Agholor, a 24-year-old, keeps finding his groove and gaining confidence on the field.

 

 

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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