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Of Snap Counts And Grades: Eagles Game

Simmons has best game; Hamilton, Sanders make debut

There were a lot of storylines to emerge from Sunday's loss to the Eagles, not the least of which was an improving Cardinals defense. And within that, the emergence again of linebacker Isaiah Simmons. With Nick Vigil on IR, Simmons' playing time might've gone up anyway, but defensive coordinator Vance Joseph had said Simmons was earning his time, and Sunday, Simmons showed it.

Not only did Simmons have a game-high 13 tackles, but he played 67 of 73 snaps, and ended up with the team's best Pro Football Focus grade of 74.4, as the 2020 first-round pick continues to try and make his mark in the starting lineup.

The run-heavy Eagles seemed to skew some of the snap counts on defense. The usual suspects played all of the snaps -- safeties Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson, cornerback Byron Murphy and linebacker Zaven Collins -- but linebacker Ben Niemann played 45, and defensive lineman J.J. Watt (55) had almost as many as Zach Allen (58).

Markus Golden had the most of all edge rushers (41), while it was notable for two players getting their first game work of the season: cornerback Antonio Hamilton (16) and linebacker Myjai Sanders (8).

Behind Simmons, the best defensive PFF grades were Murphy (73.8), Thompson (69.7), Watt (66.9), defensive lineman Michael Dogbe (66.0), Allen (65.8), Baker 65.5) and linebacker Devon Kennard (63.2). In limited snaps, Sanders (65.2) and fellow rookie edge Cameron Thomas (64.8 in 10 snaps) stood out.

On offense, wide receiver Hollywood Brown had the highest grade at 73.3, followed by tight end Zach Ertz (67.8), running back James Conner (67.6), wide receiver A.J. Green (66.9), running back Eno Benjamin (66.3), wide receiver Rondale Moore (65.3) and quarterback Kyler Murray (63.9).

After all the running back injuries, Benjamin had the most snaps at the position (37), followed by Conner (24) and Darrel Williams (8). Brown had the most snaps of any wideout at 67 of 69 possible, with Green at 50. Moore was at 63, and Moore's return has completely changed any use of Greg Dortch (2). Ertz had 64 snaps, with Trey McBride logging 17.

LB Isaiah Simmons
LB Isaiah Simmons