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Grading the Eagles' 26-24 win over the Chargers in Week 4

Grading the Eagles' 26-24 win over the Chargers in Week 4

Grading the Eagles' 26-24 win Sunday afternoon over the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center (see breakdown):

QUARTERBACK
Carson Wentz: 17/31, 242 YDS, 1 TD

Wentz's completion percentage (54.8) doesn't tell the full story here (see Roob's observations). The 24-year-old signal caller was much more accurate down the field this week, averaging 7.8 yards per reception — and was not exactly aided by stellar outings from his receivers, either. He also avoided sacks and was throwing the ball away on occasion when nobody was open. Most of all, Wentz did his part to keep the chains moving for the Eagles and did not commit a turnover. Impressive road win for the young QB, even if the numbers weren't stellar.

Grade: B+

RUNNING BACKS
LeGarrette Blount: 16 ATT, 136 YDS
Wendell Smallwood: 79 TOTAL YDS, 1 TD

Have the Eagles discovered a new thunder and lightning? Blount is running with a purpose — especially on his career-long gain of 68 yards — while Smallwood did a nice job replicating Darren Sproles as a receiver out of the backfield and change of pace. Corey Clement's numbers weren't as strong (10 ATT, 30 YDS), but the rookie ran hard and saw a lot of action in the fourth quarter to help ice the game, too (see rookie report). What a turnaround.

Grade: A+

WIDE RECEIVERS
Nelson Agholor: 3 REC, 58 YDS

Alshon Jeffery simply could not get open against the Chargers' secondary. The Eagles' prized free-agent acquisition was targeted six times, finishing with three receptions for 29 yards. Sure, he scored a touchdown in there, but Jeffery's day overall did not rise to expectations — lofty though they might be. Torrey Smith was much worse, with two of his three targets going for drops. Simply put, the Eagles are not getting what they're paying for, which was a couple of playmakers on the outside.

Grade: C-

TIGHT ENDS
Zach Ertz: 5 REC, 81 YDS

Ertz's big year continues. He has clearly become the quarterback's go-to receiver, especially on third down. The fifth-year player also threw a key block to help spring a 68-yard run, so an all-around quality outing for one of the best tight ends in the NFL.

Grade: A-

OFFENSIVE LINE
Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack: Rotated at LG

The Eagles' O-line is officially back. This looked like a different offense the past two weeks in terms of the ability to run the football. On Sunday, the big uglies cleared the way for 214 total yards on the ground with a 5.1 average. The protection is improved as well, with Wentz taking a lone sack. Against a Chargers front featuring Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, that's impressive. This is exactly the kind of dominant performance in the trenches everybody was expecting, and Jason Peters and Co. are finally delivering.

Grade: A

DEFENSIVE LINE
Chris Long: 1.0 SK, 1 FF
Beau Allen: 1.0 SK, 2 TFL

You think the Eagles missed Fletcher Cox? The front four was able to generate a reasonable amount of pressure without its most dangerous pass rusher, managing two sacks. That being said, the pressure didn't consistently get home, allowing Philip Rivers of all people to break the pocket on numerous occasions. Rivers was forced to throw quite a few away, and L.A. only gained 58 yards on the ground, so it was a nice effort overall. But clearly, Cox is a huge part of what goes into making this D-line great.

Grade: B

LINEBACKERS
Jordan Hicks: 9 TKL

Typically thought of as one of the Eagles' strengths, the performance from the linebacker position has been sporadic so far this season. Nigel Bradham has missed some tackles, perhaps none bigger than his whiff on a 3rd-and-15 conversion. And for the second time in three weeks, Hicks lost gap responsibility and was at least partially responsible for a long touchdown run, this time a 35-yarder.

Grade: C

DEFENSIVE BACKS
The secondary surrendered some massive gains through the air. It's unclear who was responsible for a 75-yard touchdown to Tyrell Williams — cornerbacks Rasul Douglas and Jalen Mills were trailing, but free safety Rodney McLeod may have been at fault. There is no question Douglas was at fault for a 49-yard catch-and-run by Keenan Allen to set up L.A. for a field goal to close out the first half. McLeod was also the last line of defense on a 35-yard touchdown run, so not the happiest return after missing last week with a hamstring.

Grade: C-

SPECIAL TEAMS
Jake Elliott: 4/4 FG, 2/2 XP

No surprise, a 61-yard game-winning field goal can do a lot for a kicker's confidence. Elliott was perfect for the first time since joining the Eagles, knocking down three-point tries from 45, 40, 53 and 47 yards. Donnie Jones had both of his punts downed inside the Chargers' 20-yard line.

Grade: A

COACHING
Eagles record: 3-1

To his credit, Doug Pederson has flipped the script on his play-calling, specifically as it relates to run-pass ratio. Pederson went to the running game early, and he went to the running game often, and it was successful. The offense is a vastly more efficient unit when not entirely reliant on Wentz. They are in more manageable down and distances, even breaking long runs, while avoiding the occasional fluky turnover that happens when the ball is always in the quarterback's hands.

Much more difficult to evaluate Jim Schwartz's job with the defense. The unit simply isn't the same without Cox and is still without its most talented cornerback in Ronald Darby as well. There may have been some questionable calls, but Schwartz's crew did just enough here to beat a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback.

What more can you really ask for?

Grade: A

Watch Eagles roast Jay Ajayi after 71-yard run for getting caught

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Watch Eagles roast Jay Ajayi after 71-yard run for getting caught

It's not everyday you see an Eagles player take the ball and run for 71 yards. So Philadelphia fans understandably went bonkers when Jay Ajayi did just that in the Birds' win over the Cowboys on Sunday.

It's also not that frequent that you see a dude get chased down from behind on such a play.

Sadly, the latter happened to Ajayi and his teammates let him hear it on the sidelines after. The fantastic Inside the NFL gave us an up-close look at the roasting.

You almost feel bad for Ajayi, like Kenjon Barner is laying it on a little too thick.

"You slow as $#@!," one player tells him.

"They're gonna lower my speed on Madden," Ajayi says.

Chip Kelly is going back where he belongs

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USA Today Images

Chip Kelly is going back where he belongs

After spending the year out of football, former Eagles coach Chip Kelly is returning to the sideline — and might be aligning with ex-Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman in the process.

According to reports, Kelly is expected to accept a head coaching job at one of two college football programs. The decision is down to Florida and UCLA, and he is rumored to have already turned away other high-profile programs such as Nebraska and Tennessee.

UCLA may be Kelly's most likely landing spot at this point, with alumnus Aikman putting on a "full-court press," says ESPN's Mark Schlabach, and Florida supposedly wanting an answer ASAP.

Wherever Kelly winds up going, that should end his unsuccessful foray into the NFL once and for all. Consider this an obituary of sorts.

The move will cement Kelly as a "college coach," if his pro tenure hadn't accomplished that already. After guiding the Eagles to the playoffs and being named Coach of the Year in his first season, he missed the postseason the next two years and was fired. Kelly got the hook again after one miserable season with the 49ers, bottoming out with a 2-14 record.

There are no shortage of excuses for why Kelly flamed out in the NFL. Lack of talent — specifically under center — was certainly a factor, though his failed stint as the chief talent evaluator in his final season with the Eagles certainly contributed to that.

The simple truth is not everything that works in college translates at the next level, and Kelly never adjusted.

Kelly only turns 54 this week, so a return to the professional ranks years down the road isn't completely out of the question. After his last two trainwreck seasons in the league, it's difficult to imagine what an organization would still see.

Employing schemes that aren't suited to the team's personnel, calling the same 10 to 15 plays every game, eliminating the quarterback's ability to call an audible or even something as small as never using a snap count may work at university. Those concepts are fundamentally opposed to what has been successful in the NFL.

Honestly, it's kind of too bad. The Eagles could use that easy W on the schedule periodically.

Perhaps the Eagles should just be grateful to have survived Kelly's radical changes without overhauling the entire roster again, and somehow coming out better off for everything. After releasing DeSean Jackson, trading away LeSean McCoy, trading for Sam Bradford, and spending huge sums of money on the likes of DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell -- to name a few, and all in the span of a year -- the franchise easily could've wound up in the tank.

There's no denying Kelly looked like a genius while at Oregon, racking up 46-7 record and three top-five finishes in four seasons as head coach. Yet like so many college coaches before him, and many bound to come after, he was never destined for sustained success in the NFL.