Eagles

Eagles 1st half report card: Grading the Birds after 8 games

Eagles

The Eagles are 3-4-1 and in first place in the NFC East at the bye week. 

After each of their eight games in the first half of the season, I have graded the Birds in 10 separate categories and have been keeping all the data. 

So instead of assigning grades now, I calculated all of the grades from those first eight games into a first semester report card. You could argue that division games are more important, but I have weighted all the games the same. 

Here’s the Eagles report card after eight games: 

Quarterback

Carson Wentz: 178/305 (58.4%), 12 TDs, 12 INTs, 73.2 rating, 202 rushing yards, 5 TDs 

Grades by week: D, F, D-, B, B, B+, B, D- 

Looking back at Wentz’s first eight games, he certainly hasn’t been nearly as good as most people expected. He has 17 total touchdowns and 16 total turnovers, which simply isn’t good enough. His best grade so far this season was a B+ in the loss to the Ravens. 

In that game, Wentz threw for 213 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. In that game it felt like Wentz was running for his life and still gave them a chance to win. His worst grade from the first half was an F in Week 2 against the Rams. He threw two picks and had a passer rating of 56.5 in that one. 

Grade: C- (1.83) 

Running backs 

Miles Sanders: 71 carries 434 yards (6.1), 3 TDs, 12 rec, 91 yards; Boston Scott: 48 carries, 183 yards (3.8), 12 rec, 91 yards, 1 TD

 

Grades by week: D, B-, B, D, C, B, B, B- 

Sanders has been good when he’s on the field but he has played just five of eight games so far. Sanders missed the opener and the last two. Without him, Scott has been OK, but he clearly isn’t as good as Sanders and that absence hurts the Eagles. 

The worst performances for the running backs came in Weeks 1 and 4, when they got Ds. They have gotten solid Bs on three different weeks. 

Grade: C+ (2.29) 

Wide receivers 

Travis Fulgham: 29 catches, 435 yards, 4 TDs; Greg Ward: 32 catches, 243 yards, 3 TDs

Grades by week: D, D, C-, B-, B, B, B, C+ 

In the first three games before Fulgham was brought up from the practice squad, I gave the Eagles’ receivers two Ds and a C-, so it’s pretty clear how big of a boost he has given the Eagles. Since getting called up, Fulgham leads the entire NFL in receiving yards. 

It’s also worth noting that the Eagles haven’t really seen the best of Jalen Reagor yet. The rookie played just three games in the first half and should be a bigger contributor in the second half of the season. 

Grade: C+ (2.21) 

Tight ends 

Richard Rodgers: 15 catches, 184 yards; Zach Ertz: 24 catches, 178 yards, 1 TD

Grades by week: B+, C, B, C-, F, C, A, D 

I was actually surprised to see the Eagles end up with such a decent grade at tight end, especially with injuries to Dallas Goedert and Ertz. But even before Ertz’s injury, he wasn’t playing at his normal level. He struggled. 

The best grade for the tight ends came in Week 7. That was Rodgers’ big game when he caught two huge passes to start off the game-winning touchdown drive. The worst tight end performance was in Week 5 when they combined for 2 catches for 24 yards. Last week they got a D because Goedert’s 15-yard catch was a big one. 

Grade: C (2.13) 

Offensive line 

Grades by week: F, B+, C, C, C, F, D, C 

Jason Kelce is the only player on this offensive line to play every snap at the same position and for a while he was one of two original starters on offense still standing. The fact that this unit has been able to turn in a passable grade is a credit to OL coach Jeff Stoutland at Kelce, who have kept it all together. 

There were two Fs and a D in the first half but the rest of the games were a C and they even got a B+ in Week 2. 

Grade: C- (1.54) 

Defensive line 

Brandon Graham: 7 sacks, 9 TFLs, 11 QB hits; Fletcher Cox: 2.5 sacks, 7 TFLs, 6 QB hits 

 

Grades by week: B, D, A, A, D, B, B-, B+

Overall, this is the best unit on the team. Graham would be my team MVP through eight games. He’s on pace for his first double-digit sack season and has been the best player on the entire team. The Eagles have also gotten some production from their other defensive ends in Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry. Malik Jackson has also played well inside. 

There haven’t been many As given out this season but the Eagles’ DL got two this season and got a B+ last week. 

Grade: B- (2.75) 

Linebackers 

Nathan Gerry: 57 tackles, 4 TFLs, 1 sack; Alex Singleton: 32 tackles, 1 pick-6

Grades by week: B, F, F, C, D, C, B+, B 

The Eagles’ linebackers are a problem but they’ve been better the last couple weeks, saving them from a worse grade. T.J. Edwards had a huge performance last week and Singleton has played well with more time on the field. Gerry and Duke Riley haven’t been very good. 

Subconsciously, I have probably been an easier grader on the linebackers than, say, the defensive line this year. I shouldn’t be, but it’s a lot easier to expect better results from the highest-paid group on the team than the lowest. 

Grade: C- (1.79) 

Secondary 

Rodney McLeod: 46 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD; Jalen Mills: 1.5 sacks, 40 tackles

Grades by week: B, F, D+, B, F, C, D+, A

I thought the Eagles turned in their best secondary performance of the year against the Cowboys in Week 8. I know they were facing Ben DiNucci but the Cowboys are stacked at receiver and the Eagles pretty much shut them down. Darius Slay has been very good, McLeod has been solid and the rest has been suspect. Nickell Robey-Coleman hasn’t played very well as a FA pickup. 

It has overall been an inconsistent season for this secondary and the injuries have probably played a role in that. But they also don’t have the most talented group. 

Grade: C- (1.83) 

Special teams 

Jake Elliott: 8/12 on FGs, 1/4 on 50+ field goals; Cam Johnston: 50.4 yards per punt 

Grades by week: C, A, B+, A, C, D, D, B 

Elliott hasn’t been good enough during the first half of the season but it’s important to remember that special teams isn’t just about him. There are many factors that lead to the grades each week, which ultimately looks like inconsistency overall. 

In Week 2 and Week 4, the Eagles got As on special teams. In Week 2, Elliott was perfect, Johnston boomed the ball and T.J. Edwards forced a huge fumble. In Week 4, Elliott went 1/1, Johnston downed three punts inside the 20 and Rodgers jumped on a weird kickoff. But the Eagles got Ds in back to back weeks against the Ravens and Giants.  

 

Grade: B- (2.54) 

Coaching

Record: 3-4-1

Grades by week: D, F, F, B+, C, D, D, C- 

Maybe next year I’ll come up with different grades for offense and defensive coaching. Because there have been a few games this season where Doug Pederson had a good game and Jim Schwartz had a bad game and vice versa. Overall, the Eagles’ coaching staff has dealt with a lot of injuries but they haven’t done a good enough job. 

Back-to-back Fs in Weeks 2 and 3 came for different reasons. In Week 2, Sean McVay coached circles around Schwartz, who even admitted his game plan wasn’t good enough. In Week 3, Pederson abandoned the run against the Bengals and then punted for the tie. I know that tie looks good now but I still hate that decision. Punting guaranteed a tie but not converting on fourth down didn’t automatically mean the Eagles would lose. 

Grade: D+ (1.25)