Andrew Kulp

Eagles report card: Grades aren't pretty after blowout loss to Saints

Eagles report card: Grades aren't pretty after blowout loss to Saints

Nobody should’ve expected the Eagles to beat the Saints, or even cover the eight-point spread. But their humiliating, nationally televised 48-7 defeat in New Orleans is the largest loss by a defending Super Bowl champion ever.

Time to add insult to injury and grade this bad boy.

Quarterback
Carson Wentz: 19/33, 156 YDS, 3 INT

Worst game of Wentz’s career. Full stop.

Grade: F

Running backs
Josh Adams: 7 ATT, 53 YDS, 1 TD

The lone bright spot in this game — not at all an exaggeration — was Adams’ 28-yard touchdown. But since the Eagles had a 17-point deficit before the offense could call nine plays, there wasn’t much reason to run the ball.

Grade: C

Wide receivers/tight ends
Golden Tate: 5 REC, 48 YDS

Tate led the Eagles in catches and receiving yards, so I suppose the free-agent-to-be was worth the third-round pick.

Grade: D

Offensive line
Pretty sure Stefen Wisniewski can put the conspiracy theories about his benching to rest after watching him fill in at center for an injured Jason Kelce.

Grade: D

Defensive line
T.Y. McGill: 3 TKL, 1 TFL

The Eagles only managed to hit Saints quarterback Drew Brees once. Wide receivers are out there blocking Chris Long. And Saints running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined to rush for 174 yards, a 6.0 average and two touchdowns.

Grade: F

Linebackers
Jordan Hicks: 7 TKL

Not sure what’s worse: Jordan Hicks’ face on the side of a milk carton or Nigel Bradham prominently featured on a poster of Saints third-string wide receiver Keith Kirkwood.

Grade: F

Secondary
Malcolm Jenkins: 9 TKL

You can only be so hard on somebody like Chandon Sullivan, who should be on the practice squad, not covering Saints wide receiver Mike Thomas. But as it turns out, Rasul Douglas also belongs on the practice squad, not covering Mike Thomas.

Grade: D

Special teams
Corey Clement: 4 KR, 28.5 AVG

Tre Sullivan got an offsides penalty on a kickoff. In 2018. When running starts have been eliminated. How is that even possible?

Grade: C-

Coaching
Eagles’ record: 4-6

There’s probably nothing Jim Schwartz could do. Injuries have the secondary in total disarray, and the Saints are the hottest team in the NFL right now. The Eagles’ offense isn’t much better off, but Doug Pederson’s game plan and decision making didn’t do them any favors. There’s no excuse for scoring seven points.

Grade: D

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It's one game, but was Golden Tate trade a bad idea?

It's one game, but was Golden Tate trade a bad idea?

It took all of one game, but the Eagles’ trade for Golden Tate was officially a bad idea.

That’s no fault of Tate, even though his Eagles debut was a dud. Two receptions on four targets for 19 yards in 18 snaps, and two punt returns for 11 yards was hardly the impact you would hope for the price. That said, it was his first game in a new scheme, with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson pointing to the offense’s use of tempo as a reason for the light workload.

The issue isn’t so much Tate as it is the Eagles foolishly believing they were still contenders in 2018 — when all it took was one putrid loss to the Cowboys to show that was never the case.

The Eagles’ season isn’t technically over, but their playoff hopes are certainly circling the drain. They’re already two games back of Washington for first place in the NFC East, and if they don’t beat an 8-1 Saints squad in New Orleans on Sunday, their record drops to 4-6.

If one game is all it took for the outlook to change so dramatically, what business did the Eagles have going out and getting Tate?

Does that sound like a team that should’ve traded a third-round draft pick for a 30-year-old wide receiver in the final year of his contract? When there were bigger needs at running back, defensive back, defensive tackle and along the offensive line? While the injuries continued to mount?

Tate isn’t the type of transcendent weapon that commands constant double teams or presents matchup problems for the defense, either. He’s a 5-foot-10 receiver who averaged 10.7 yards per catch over the last four seasons, with three red-zone touchdowns since 2016.

He doesn’t hold the answers the Eagles were searching for.

“I’ve been here for a week,” Tate said postgame. “I still have to get a feel for things. Just got to make a few more plays. We made some really good plays tonight, but just not enough.”

Again, the discussion about the Eagles getting a compensatory draft pick in 2020 if Tate departs this coming offseason is overblown. Whether they get a pick at all depends on how active the Eagles are in free agency themselves, and even then, the fourth-round-or-later selection in return will be a steep drop from a potential top-10 pick in the third — which could be a difference of 50 spots, minimum.

Was it worth it?

There’s something to be said for aggressiveness. Then there’s throwing caution to the wind.

The trade was made with a blind eye to the mini-rebuild approaching this offseason, with key free agents, aging players and potential cap casualties at running back, wideout, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and cornerback. Not to mention, it ignored the Eagles’ place in the standings and the realities that put the team there.

Now all of a sudden, the Eagles face long odds to reach the playoffs. But at least the Eagles have seven more weeks of Tate to look forward to.

“I’m sure he will get more and more involved as we go,” said Pederson.

Well, that’s a relief.

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More on the Eagles

Eagles Week 10 report card: Not everybody failed against Dallas

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USA Today

Eagles Week 10 report card: Not everybody failed against Dallas

You might be thinking all F’s for the Eagles after a 27-20 loss to a bad Cowboys squad on Sunday night – but then you would need to hold the opinion this team was better than that.

The Eagles were a “C” team going in, and played like it from top to bottom.

Quarterback

Carson Wentz: 32/44, 360 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

The Eagles scored all of three points in the first half while Wentz completed 10 of 17 of passes for 104 yards with the interception. He was great over the final 30 minutes, but it was too little, too late.

Grade: C

Running backs

Josh Adams: 7 ATT, 47 YDS

Adams showed some burst on a 29-yard gain, although his agility turning the corner on the next play, a five-yard carry, was even more impressive at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds. Corey Clement, on the other hand, just can’t get going, netting eight yards on six touches with a drop.

Grade: C

Wide receivers & tight ends

Zach Ertz: 14 REC, 145 YDS, 2 TD

Once again, Ertz padded the stats with four receptions for 45 yards in garbage time, but it was a big night regardless, with two pivotal touchdowns. Nelson Agholor set up one Ertz score with a 51-yard bomb, and Jordan Matthews added 40 yards on three catches, all first downs. It was Alshon Jeffery and Golden Tate who disappointed – Jeffery couldn’t come up with the tough grabs the offense sorely needed, while Tate finished with two catches for 19 yards in his Eagles debut.

Grade: C+

Offensive line

Surprisingly not the problem, considering Halapoulivaati Vaitai started in place of an injured Lane Johnson at right tackle. Some of Wentz’s struggles could be traced to pressure, yet the quarterback was only hit six times on 47 dropbacks. Then again, the lack of consistent running lanes is an issue, and the penetration on a 4th-and-1 carry resulting in a turnover on downs was pitiful.

Grade: C

Defensive line

Michael Bennett: 2 TKL, 2.0 SK

So disruptive at the start. Fletcher Cox was in the backfield every snap. Bennett and Brandon Graham combined for 3.5 sacks and seven quarterback hits. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s first five carries went for 14 yards. Unfortunately, the unit tired as the night went on, the quarterback got a little more comfortable and Elliott took over.

Grade: C

Linebackers

Nigel Bradham: 10 TKL

Bradham and Jordan Hicks combined for 17 tackles, and somehow zero noteworthy plays – unless you count the times Elliott was in the second level unattended. Kamu Grugier-Hill dropping a sure pick-six was kind of big, too.

Grade: C-

Defensive backs

Granted, the secondary was without four of five starters after Ronald Darby went down, but 26 completions, a 72.2 completion percentage and 270 yards passing were all season highs for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. Rasul Douglas especially left Eagles fans longing for Jalen Mills, with too many negative plays to list – though his matador impression on 3rd-and-15 stands out.

Grade: C-

Special teams

Cameron Johnston: 2 PUNTS, 44.0 AVG, 2 IN20

The Eagles had six cracks at returns in this game – four from Clement, two from Tate – with no remarkable plays to show. As average as it gets.

Grade: C+

Coaching

Eagles’ record: 4-5

Not one of Doug Pederson’s or Jim Schwartz’s best performances. However, at some point you look at personnel. It’s not like this was a horrendously called game from start to finish. Players aren’t making plays, from Wentz on down to the many injury replacements on the field.

Grade: C