A lot of accolades are being distributed after the Eagles' gutsy road win over the Panthers. And there is a multitude of worthy recipients.
There’s Carson Wentz, whose skill and rapid understanding of the NFL game may be overridden only by his toughness.
Or the return of Fletcher Cox and the immediate impact he made from a calf injury that held him out the previous two games.
How about Doug Pederson, who continues to quiet the critics while he out-schemes opposing coaches on a weekly basis?
Maybe you’re more inclined toward the rookie kicker who was plucked off the Bengals' practice squad and has gone 10 for 10 since his big left tackle threatened him?
When you start a season 5-1 with four of those games on the road, there is a lot of credit to be divvied up.
But how about a little love for those Eagles' linebackers? Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks were everywhere against Carolina. The duo combined to register a whopping 17 tackles, including two for losses and two passes defended. This was despite, or perhaps because of losing Jordan Hicks in the first half of the game (see injury update).
The numbers alone don’t tell the story. Both players made game-altering tackles. The kind that stops the opposition from scoring a touchdown, like Bradham’s takedown of Christian McCaffrey just shy of the end zone on a 3rd-and-Goal in the third quarter. Instead of an 18-17 game, the Panthers settled for three points to make it 18-13. There were countless form tackles that prevented third-down conversions and forced punts. Game-changing plays.
This really has been the case all season with this unit. Kendricks seemed destined for a ticket out of town after a couple of lackluster seasons in which his playing time had dwindled. But since training camp, he has been a man possessed and mirrors the playmaker the Eagles gave big bucks to in 2015. Bradham had a good year last season — his first with the Eagles — and despite a bit of a slow start this year, has come on strong of late. The two lead the Eagles in tackles this season. Not far behind on the list is Hicks, whose skill and versatility have never been in question, only his ability to stay on the field. This is a strong group.
Finding yourself near the end of the receiving line when it comes to praise — because there are so many other positive developments through six games — is a good problem to have. The kind of first-world problems Eagles fans would have signed up for on the spot prior to the season.