Alex Singleton was getting a healthy dose of snaps. Then, one game he wasn’t.
Davion Taylor had taken over.
Suddenly, Singleton’s role had changed. He went from getting more than half the snaps in the Eagles’ first six games to 37, 21, 10, and 10 percent.
Taylor, though, appears ticketed to miss some games. Perhaps he’ll even require a stint on IR to recover from a knee injury. The second-year LB hasn’t been able to stay healthy yet for long stretches.
He started the year with a calf injury and now the latest.
With Taylor unable to continue on Sunday after just seven snaps, Singleton stepped in and played a season-high 89 percent of them in Sunday's 40-29 win over the Saints.
He made four solo tackles with a QB hit and a pass defended.
“That's really a testament to him to not – sometimes when your snaps get diminished, you kind of - a lot of guys I've seen go in the tank a little bit and that hasn't been him because he's got high football character,” said Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon on Tuesday. “And that's the guys we want to be there.
“…he's got high football character. And his snaps will increase with Davion being out a little bit and he's going to play well.”
The Eagles have scored at least 21 points in nine straight games, which is the top active streak in the NFL.
“Well, I think this, our team is very unselfish," said offensive coordinator Shane Steichen on Tuesday. "And it's all about the team. And however we need to do it to win the football game, that's what we're to do week in, week out. Obviously, we want to get everyone involved, that’s the goal. The stats are great, but the bottom line is winning the football game."
The Eagles played the Las Vegas Raiders in the second game after LV fired head coach Jon Gruden and replaced him with Rich Bisaccia.
Now, they will play a New York Giants team on Sunday that disposed of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and replaced him with Freddie Kitchens, the former Cleveland Browns head coach.
New York (3-7) is a mess once again - headed for its eighth losing record in the last nine seasons - and looks like it will clean house when the season ends.
That doesn’t mean the Giants can’t damage the Eagles’ playoff hopes with two games against them over the final seven weeks.
VIDEO ANALYSIS: Giants beat writer Patricia Traina discusses Garrett's firing
The former second-round draft pick made what head coach Nick Sirianni called the play of the game in Sunday’s win over the Saints, turning a short throw into a 23-yard gain and an important first down on a drive that ended with Jalen Hurts’ spectacular 24-yard touchdown run with less than four minutes to play.
His role on special teams, however, is what has helped keep him on the roster.
And it’s a role he has continued to improve in.
“He comes in every Monday and Tuesday asking about the game plan,” said ST coordinator Michael Clay on Tuesday. “He just wants to learn more about special teams, because, at times, it is a little foreign for him, but he's doing a great job for us in terms of he uses his speed very well. He's a big wide receiver, he's starting to use his hands more.”
Of course, the flip side is second-round picks should be more than special team players, but Arcega-Whiteside evidently hasn’t taken that view.
“He's asking defensive players about backpedaling, using your hands, shedding blocks, and stuff like that,” said Clay. “So, for J.J., it's been a pleasant surprise from when I first met him out in the spring and then – Coach [Nick] Sirianni really emphasized defining the role and he's really taken on this role.
“The fruits of his labor paid off. That big 23-yard catch right there kind of gave us that extra boost to finish the deal against New Orleans. And he came out, he made Deonte Harris stop his feet on one of the kickoffs and K’Von [Wallace] made the tackle right there.”
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.