Eagles ‘Secret Weapon’ States Case for Increased Snaps

Quez Watkins

Getty Eagles WR Quez Watkins is leading the team in receiving yards after three games.

The best wide receiver on the field for the Philadelphia Eagles during the preseason was Quez Watkins. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. The burner from Southern Miss was far and away their best playmaker.

You could make the argument that he’s been the Eagles’ best offensive player through the first three games, too. Despite seeing only 101 total snaps, Watkins leads the team in receiving yards. He’s done it while being targeted significantly less than DeVonta Smith (21 targets, 11 receptions) and Jalen Reagor (19 targets, 13 receptions). Watkins has just seven grabs on seven targets for 186 yards. He’s averaging 26.6 yards-per-catch following a 41-yard completion last week.

Watkins has also been severely out-snapped by Smith and Reagor. Head coach Nick Sirianni tried to provide some clarity on why during his media availability on Wednesday (Sept. 29). It comes down to the cream rising to the top. Which it will, in terms of making splash plays.

“I think that we have a very talented, young wide receiver corps that that will play itself out,” Sirianni said. “This is just the way this business goes, right? You make plays, we’re going to find ways to get you more plays. You don’t make plays, you’re going to get weeded out of the equation. Quez has done a really good job of making plays. There’s no doubt about it. He’s done a great job.”

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Smith Growing Connection with Jalen Hurts

The Eagles used the 10th overall pick on Smith in this year’s draft. It stands to reason the organization wants to get the Heisman Trophy winner the ball and establish him as the clear-cut No. 1 receiver. That’s all well and good, but at what expense?

Smith was targeted six times versus Dallas and only made three grabs, including falling down on a route. That one turned into a pick-six. Smith has caught 5-of-13 targets for 44 yards since his breakout game in Week 1. His connection with Jalen Hurts is obviously a work in progress.

“We’ve just got to get him a couple easy touches here and there,” Sirianni said of Smith, “and that’s kind of like what you do with a quarterback, too, or a foul shooter or a good shooter. You’ve got to see the ball go through the hoop a couple times. So, just get him a couple easy touches here and there.”

Getting Miles Sanders More Touches

Watkins isn’t the only playmaker not getting enough love from the coaching staff. Starting running back Miles Sanders only touched the ball five times (two rushes, three catches) in Week 3, highlighted by a 24-yard scamper. The Eagles were forced to pass after going down by two scores early in the first half, but Sanders needs the rock. And Sirianni knows it.

“Does he need more than five touches? Of course,” Sirianni said. “The way the game went, he didn’t get that.”

Sirianni said he had a private conversation with Sanders to let him know how much he means to the offense. There is no lack of confidence on either end, from the player or the head coach.

“As far as Miles getting touches, there’s no doubt, we’ve got to get our playmakers the ball,” Sirianni said. “He’s a playmaker. He’s shown that he’s a playmaker, whether it’s in screen game, whether it’s out of the backfield or getting the ball.”

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