Eagles

Grading the Eagles' 51-23 win over the Broncos in Week 9

Grading the Eagles' 51-23 win over the Broncos in Week 9

Grading the Eagles' 51-23 win Sunday over the Denver Broncos at Lincoln Financial Field (see breakdown):

QUARTERBACK
Carson Wentz: 15/27, 199 YDS, 4 TD

Wentz put it to the Broncos' defense and the vaunted "No Fly Zone," and he made it look easy. This was supposed to be the No. 1 unit in the NFL, yet the Eagles moved up and down the field with ease. Wentz threw three touchdown passes in the game's first 21 minutes and then was, more or less, on autopilot the rest of the game. Also, something that won't show up in the box score, Wentz was able to draw Denver offside three times. Nick Foles was called upon to close out the fourth quarter for the second straight week.

Grade: A+

RUNNING BACKS
Jay Ajay: 8 ATT, 77 YDS, 1 TD
Corey Clement: 12 ATT, 51 YDS, 2 TD

What a debut for Ajayi. He served as a decoy on the Eagles' opening drive, which included a 32-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery in the first quarter. Then Ajayi broke off a 46-yard run to paydirt before halftime. If this is what the Eagles can expect for a fourth-round draft pick, they're straight stealing from the Dolphins. Clement also took a screen pass 15 yards for a score, found the end zone again on a two-yard carry and another from four out (see rookie report).

Grade: A+

WIDE RECEIVERS
Jeffery: 6 REC, 84 YDS, 2 TD

This was by far Jeffery's best game as an Eagle, and it came in a tough matchup against arguably the best secondary in the league. There were one or two he couldn't hold on to in tight coverage, but overall, this was more in line with the type of impact the club imagined when he signed in March. Quiet day for the rest of the group, though Nelson Agholor tacked on a 35-yard reception in garbage time.

Grade: A-

TIGHT ENDS
Trey Burton: 2 REC, 41 YDS, 1 TD

No Zach Ertz, no problem (see Roob's observations). Burton and Brent Celek filled in more than ably for the most productive tight end in the league. Burton hauled in a 27-yard touchdown on a rainbow pass from Wentz, and with three catches for 39 yards, Celek enjoyed his most productive game in over a year.

Grade: A+

OFFENSIVE LINE
Lane Johnson: Left game in fourth quarter

Brandon Brooks was absolutely mauling people out there. The right guard had the key block on both Clement's and Ajayi's touchdowns, taking out two Broncos defenders on the latter. This was probably the cleanest Wentz's jersey has been all season, too. Denver's vaunted pass rush managed to register just one hit on Wentz, as tackles Johnson and Halapoulivaati Vaitai combined to silence the great Von Miller. Even without Jason Peters, this looks like one of the best O-lines in football as long as Johnson can stay healthy.

Grade: A+

DEFENSIVE LINE
Vinny Curry: 2 TKL, 2 TFL, 1.0 SK

The Eagles established themselves as the No. 1 run defense in the NFL. The Broncos ran 19 times for a whopping 35 yards. That's 1.8 yards per carry. That's so bad, it's a wonder they bothered trying for so long in such a lopsided game. Of course, Denver needed to do something to take the heat off of their quarterback. The front four whacked Brock Osweiler six times, including three hits from Fletcher Cox alone. Brandon Graham had a team-high five tackles.

Grade: A+

LINEBACKERS
Mychal Kendricks: 4 TKL, 2 PD, 1 QBH

Life must be good behind the Eagles' D-line. Kendricks and Nigel Bradham didn't do much, really. The duo combined to make eight tackles and Bradham registered a sack. They didn't have the numbers, but they got the job done.

Grade: A-

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Patrick Robinson, Rodney McLeod: 1 INT each

In all, the Eagles' secondary got hands on seven Osweiler passes, including the two interceptions. It was nearly three turnovers, but Rasul Douglas couldn't hang on to a potential pick-six on Denver's opening possession. Demaryius Thomas was kept in check — eight receptions for 70 yards and a late, meaningless score — and the rest of the Broncos' receivers never really threatened. Just think about this group once Ronald Darby gets back in the mix.

Grade: A

SPECIAL TEAMS
Jake Elliott: 1/1 FG, 6/7 XP

The Eagles had a rare special teams miscue that resulted in a 44-yard punt return. Mack Hollins whiffed on the tackle, but Corey Graham was there to clean up the mistake and save a touchdown. Little else of note from this phase.

Grade: B

COACHING
Eagles' record: 8-1

Doug Pederson's game plan was on point in the first half. He rolled Wentz out of the pocket. He used Ajayi as a decoy. He attacked Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib's aggressive nature. His screens and misdirection plays all seemed to be perfectly timed. The play-calling was great. Jim Schwartz's plan was money, too. His defense got after the quarterback early and often and never let the new starter get into a rhythm. Pederson and Schwartz look brilliant right now — probably because they have been more weeks than not.

Grade: A+

Concert celebrating Eagles' Super Bowl season sounds pretty epic

usa-nick-foles-trophy-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Concert celebrating Eagles' Super Bowl season sounds pretty epic

Eagles fans will probably never stop reliving the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.

While watching highlights, wearing championship apparel and occasionally just looking in the mirror and reminding yourself, "We won the Super Bowl" are all good ways of remembering what the Birds accomplished, there's a pretty unique new way that you'll be able to experience it all over again.

On July 24, the Mann Center will be hosting "A Championship Season," a special event to honor the Eagles. 

Going by the Mann Center's description, it should be an incredible night.

The Mann Center, NFL Films, and the Philadelphia Eagles take center stage this summer to celebrate the Eagles’ Championship Season with the world premiere of this “Philly Special” concert event. Hosted by the “Voice of the Eagles,” Merrill Reese, relive NFL Films’ stunning video highlights of the Philadelphia Eagles Championship Season on three giant screens alongside the great Philadelphia Orchestra, performing live the inspiring, uplifting and wonderfully symphonic music of NFL Films. 

Part of the proceeds from "A Championship Season" will benefit the Eagles Autism Challenge and the Mann Center's free art education programs. 

If you want to be part of the epic celebration, get your tickets here

Carson Wentz was great in 2017, but there's one thing he'd like to improve

usa-carson-birds.jpg
USA Today Images

Carson Wentz was great in 2017, but there's one thing he'd like to improve

He was among the NFL’s best in virtually every category. Fourth in passer rating. First in touchdown percentage. Eighth in interception percentage. Second in TD-to-INT ratio. He was even third in wins despite missing the last three regular-season games.

So what’s Carson Wentz’s approach going into 2018?

“I think we can improve everywhere,” he said. “Overall, I think we can keep making strides and keep our foot on the gas.”

And that starts with completion percentage.

Wentz completed just 60.2 percent of his passes last year, which ranked 23rd of 30 quarterbacks who threw at least 400 passes. 

Ahead of only Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, Mitch Trubisky, Cam Newton, Trevor Siemian, Jacoby Brissett and DeShone Kizer.

Not the kind of company he wants to keep.

Wentz was so good in every other area he still fashioned a passer rating over 100. In fact, his 101.9 rating was the highest in NFL history by a quarterback completing 60.2 percent of his passes (minimum 400 attempts).

The league average last year was 62 percent. And for the sake of comparison, Nick Foles completed 64.7 percent of his passes if you combine the regular season and postseason.

Wentz dropped from 62.4 percent as a rookie to 60.2 percent last year.

Among 36 active NFL quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 1,000 passes, Wentz’s 61.5 completion percentage ranks 21st.

 “I know I’d like to see my completions go higher,” Wentz said last week. “I think I was right around 60 percent and I expect more out of myself in that area.”

After 2016, Wentz identified red zone and third down as two areas he hoped to improve on. 

And he wound up leading the NFL in both red zone efficiency (NFL-best 116.3 passer rating) and third-down efficiency (NFL-best 123.7 rating).

“Third down, red zone, we were really good,” he said. “That’s something we really focused on from Year 1 to Year 2, but we (still) all feel we can definitely improve in those areas.”

Wentz also committed nine fumbles in 13 games, and only Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson had more.

“I think we had too many fumbles,” he said. “Balls on the ground too many times.”

Wentz, now nearly five months out from his knee injury, said he’s used a lot of his extra time at the NovaCare Complex this offseason focusing on what he can improve on in 2018, and one of those things is his upper-body strength.

“With all the extra rehab and not being able to run and do a lot of things early on you’ve really just got to focus on some different things and I got to do a lot of seated throwing and trying to build my arm strength and really take care of my upper body more than I have in the past,” he said.

“It’s been an interesting process not being able to get that true conditioning and that rehab in, but it’s exciting to start easing into the running and conditioning stuff. … 

“I feel good. I definitely feel working with the strength guys, we had some friendly competition stuff with the other (injured) guys in there rehabbing and I definitely feel like I’m making some strides in there.”