Quez Watkins returned to the Philadelphia Eagles this week after missing two games, of which Olamide Zaccheaus filled the void of WR3. Zaccheaus handled the job well in Watkins' absence, entering the conversation of earning more playing time as a result.
That didn't happen in Sunday's win over the Los Angeles Rams. Watkins played 52 of the 79 offensive snaps while Zaccheaus only played nine.
"That was our plan," Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said Monday. "OZ has done a nice job, he really has, and he does some things really well. And one thing with Quez is sometimes Quez's abilities aren't always shown. Like Quez has to share the ball with a lot of guys, right, and so you're not going to see. Like what Quez did in 2021, you might not see as much because we have A.J. (Brown) and we have DeVonta (Smith) and we have Dallas (Goedert) and we have D'Andre (Swift) -- all these different targets.
"But what is unknown about Quez, what can't ever show up on a stat sheet with Quez, is his ability to stretch the field. His speed is real. And so, there's a lot of things that happen where maybe it's a slant that A.J. catches where Quez clears the middle to make it a cleaner throw. So Quez's speed brings a real factor."
Watkins and Zaccheaus have both been fully healthy for only two games, but Watkins has clearly received the bulk of playing time in both games. Watkins played 52 snaps and Zaccheaus played seven in Week 1 (79% to 11%). Watkins has played 104 of the 145 offensive snaps (71.7%) when he and Zaccheaus are both healthy. Zaccheaus has played 16 (11.0%).
"We were comfortable with the way that looked, and I'm still comfortable with the way that looked of our snap counts," Sirianni said after the Rams game. "That's a game-by-game decision. Again, very pleased with OZ and the things that he can do.
"And obviously like I said, Quez's speed is something that the defenses have to account for, and I'm sure glad we have him back playing football."
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Watkins has four catches for 21 yards in the two full games he's played (three total). Zaccheaus has three catches for 69 yards and a touchdown in the five games he's played.
Watkins had two catches for four yards Sunday, including running to the outside when he had two blockers in front of him on a third-and-2 that the Eagles failed to convert. Sirianni was visibly frustrated over Watkins not picking up the first down, yet Watkins' role doesn't appear to be in jeopardy.
The Eagles like Watkins' speed, so that gives him the edge over Zaccheaus for now.