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Big Change in Linebacker Snaps vs. Lions

Eric Wilson was inactive and Alex Singelton didn't play much, opening time for T.J. Edwards and Davion Taylor

Eric Wilson was a surprise inactive on Sunday in the Eagles’ 44-6 win over the Detroit Lions. So was Alex Singleton’s lack of playing time.

The two linebackers were the top two tacklers on the team after seven games, with Singleton out front with 74 followed by Wilson in a distant second with 42.

T.J. Edwards, though, got the lion’s share (pun intended) of snaps at the position with a season-high 41 (66 percent of the defensive snaps overall). 

He finished as the game’s leading tackler with 13, eight of which were solo stops to go along with two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit delivered while blitzing and coming just a hair after Detroit QB Jared Goff released the ball.

Behind Edwards was Davion Taylor with a career-high 39 (63 percent).

Singleton got just 21 snaps.

The thing with Wilson is that the Eagles could use a roster spot to add Jordan Howard, who showed he deserves a spot on this team, at least while Miles Sanders rehabs a bum ankle that landed him on Injured Reserve and will force him to miss the next two games at least.

Howard has one practice squad elevation remaining and after his outing against the Lions, in which he scored two touchdowns and ran hard on every one of his 12 carries that netted him 57 yards, another team could be looking to add someone like him.

Perhaps even the Titans, who have lost Derrick Henry for the season.

Something to keep an eye on.

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Also, defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon had come under plenty of fire in the week leading up to the game in Detroit, and it appeared he made some changes.

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He blitzed more.

The defensive backs challenged more, though the Lions’ receiving group isn’t exactly the Cowboys’.

The defensive line also was allowed to penetrate, racking up six sacks and hitting Goff 12 times.

Then there was the linebacker personnel change, perhaps the most statistically evident of the changes.

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“I know that he’s been having to answer a lot of questions, we’ve been having to answer a lot of questions,” said head coach Nick Sirianni after the win. “He went and did what we had to do to win that game. We put a little more pressure on him. As you can see, we got to the quarterback a little bit more than we have. Again, it started up front there.

“To lean on those guys up front, at any level that you’re playing, high school football, college football, pro football. If you win up front the way we won up front you’re going to be able to win football games. 

"Relying on those guys there to win up front initially and then just tightening it up in the coverage with some more man-to-man, a little bit more zone match when they gave us a couple different looks to be able to still match even if we were in zone coverages.”

Whether or not that type of defensive game-planning and personnel change will remain in place Sunday when the Los Angeles Chargers remains to be seen.

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Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.