Eagles

Carson Wentz gets the job done, Jordan Howard shines and more in Eagles-Bears report card

Carson Wentz gets the job done, Jordan Howard shines and more in Eagles-Bears report card

It wasn’t pretty, but it was satisfactory as the Eagles held on to beat the Chicago Bears, 22-14, on Sunday.

Sure, the margin of victory probably should’ve been greater after the Eagles built a 19-0 lead, and at one point in the fourth quarter, the win felt in very real danger of slipping away. But in the end, they took care of business against a team with a very good defense and made the playoffs just a season ago — both details we considered while filling out the Week 9 report card.

Quarterback

Carson Wentz: 26/39, 239 YDS, TD, 4 CAR, 15 YDS

Not a classically great game by any means, but Wentz got the job done against a Chicago defense that entered the week ranked 10th against the pass, fifth overall. Plus, dropped pass hurt his numbers again. Most importantly, Wentz didn’t commit any turnovers and completed several clutch conversions during the Eagles’ eight-minute, 16-play fourth-quarter drive to essentially seal the victory.

Grade: B+

Running backs

Jordan Howard: 19 CAR, 82 YDS, TD

Didn’t look like the Bears wanted to tackle Howard on his 13-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and can you blame them? The man is a sledgehammer. Some real impressive running by Miles Sanders too (10 CAR, 42 YDS), showing improved vision, setting up block and hitting holes with conviction. The rookie’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield (3 REC, 31 YDS) is becoming a bonus.

Grade: A

Wide receivers and tight ends

Zach Ertz: 9 REC, 103 YDS, TD

Big day for Ertz, but he’s the only one who showed up. Alshon Jeffery (4 REC, 36 YDS) dropped almost as many passes as he caught, at least two of which would’ve extended drives, Nelson Agholor (3 REC, 21 YDS) can neither create separation nor track a pass downfield, and Mack Hollins (0 TAR) might as well be standing still the entire time. Dallas Goedert was second on the team with four catches, 39 yards.

Grade: C

Offensive line

Strong effort up front against a quality defense. Eagles ball carriers averaged 4.2 yards per carry en route to 131 yards rushing  — and that was with the lead for the majority of the game. Chicago did manage to register four sacks in 45 dropbacks, but two of those were partially the result of the quarterback scrambling.

Grade: B+

Defensive line

Brandon Graham: 4 TKL, TFL, SK

The Eagles absolutely dominated at the point of attack for two quarters with three sacks in 14 dropbacks, but the pass rush vanished in the second half. Josh Sweat also recorded a sack via a Derek Barnett pressure and a tackle for loss, while Genard Avery split a sack while playing a joker role in his first game with the club. Bears running backs also averaged under 3.0 yards per carry.

Grade: B

Linebackers

Nathan Gerry: 4 TKL

Quiet game from the group, in part because Gerry possibly missed as many tackles as he made. T.J. Edwards had some moments as well, matching Kamu Grugier-Hill with three tackles, but few if any big plays of real consequence.

Grade: B-

Secondary

Malcolm Jenkins: 2 TKL, 0.5 SK

Sure, Chicago only managed to complete 47.6 percent its passes for 125 yards and a 6.0 average, but two busted coverages led to touchdowns. Malcolm Jenkins was nowhere to be found on a 53-yard bomb in the third quarter, and Avonte Maddox didn’t appear to know his assignment on a 30-yard completion to open the fourth. Those are the plays that gave the Bears offense life.

Grade: C

Special teams

Jake Elliott: 3/3 FG, 1/2 XP

Duke Riley’s fumble recovery sealed the game for the Eagles, Cameron Johnston save a touchdown by making a tackle on a Bears punt return, and Elliott was solid despite the missed extra point. The returners were horrible though, as Miles Sanders was tackled at his own 16-yard line twice and Darren Sproles looked iffy fielding punts.

Grade: C+

Coaching

Eagles’ record: 5-4

No, nothing here is “fixed,” and if the Eagles play like this after the bye against the New England Patriots, they’ll get stomped. But the Bears had nine total yards of offense going into the second half, and the Eagles scored 22 points against a defense that’s still one of the better units in the league. It’s a good win for the team, even if it showed there’s still plenty of corrections to be made.

Grade: B

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Eagles coaches 'never felt more safe' at NovaCare Complex

Eagles coaches 'never felt more safe' at NovaCare Complex

On Friday, two days before Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tested positive for COVID-19, several of his assistant coaches spoke about how effective they believe the Eagles’ safety protocols are inside the NovaCare Complex and how safe they consider the facility.

The Eagles, under the direction of vice president of football operations and compliance Jon Ferrari, reconfigured the South Philadelphia facility over the last several weeks to comply with NFL safety measures once the players arrived.

On Monday, the Eagles' so-called IDER plan – that stands for Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan – was approved by the league, meaning the team's plan to deal with the virus in the facility met the safety standards required by the league and the players' association.

Yet here we are.

Without knowing how or where Pederson contracted the virus, it’s impossible to determine whether the safety measures are working. 

If nobody else in the building contracts it, they’re working. If it turns out there are additional positive tests within the building in the coming days, it’s possible that even the strictest adherence to the safety measures isn’t enough.

We’ll know more in the coming days, but offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, running backs coach and assistant head coach (and interim head coach) Duce Staley and special teams coach Dave Fipp all spoke on Friday about how effective the measures the Eagles took to create a safe working environment appeared to be.

Stoutland: “Coming through the front door, going through the gate, getting tested each morning, I gotta tell you guys, I’ve never felt more safe in my life. I told my wife that, I told my kids that. Mr. (Jeff) Lurie, he cares about his team, his coaches, and just proves it once again with the group of people that he’s put together to organize this whole operation. It’s all different, it’s all new, (team president) Don Smolenski, Jon Ferrari, it’s unbelievable. Every little detail that’s going on right now, the door handles, everything that I notice, I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, they think of everything to keep us safe.’ That part of it is great I think for all of us because it kind of lets you (know), ‘OK, let me just focus on my job and detail what I have to do and the other stuff, we’re good. We’re going to be in good hands.’”

Staley: “We have to be careful, that’s something that all coaches are being redundant with. We’re talking with our players, we’re talking amongst ourselves. We’re all reminding each other how serious this is, reminding ourselves as coaches and reminding the players. This is a different time for us and as a team we must make the adjustments so we can be successful down the road. We must make the adjustments. I think the Eagles, this organization, Howie, Jeffery, along with Jon Ferrari, they’ve got a great plan here for us while we’re in the building, so we feel 100 percent safe in the building. Now, we understand everything going on, how it can be contracted, but we feel safe.”

Fipp: “I think common sense is the biggest thing. Gotta be smart, obviously. There’s definitely an issue going on out there. I think we feel good about it as long as we wear masks and take care of our responsibility outside the building. I feel great about being inside the building.”

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Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tests positive for COVID-19

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tests positive for COVID-19

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has tested positive for COVID-19, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. 

Pederson, 52, is asymptomatic and is feeling well at this time, the source said. 

ESPN’s Tim McManus first reported that Pederson informed his players on Sunday night after a second positive test. 

The Eagles later released the following statement: 

Most of the Eagles' meetings are still virtual and Pederson will be able to lead them. But assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley will handle any head coaching responsibilities in the building while Pederson is away, according to a source. Pederson will have to follow the NFL's protocols before returning to the NovaCare Complex. 

Pederson is the second known NFL head coach to test positive for COVID-19 after Saints’ head coach Sean Payton had it in March. 

Just last week, Pederson said he felt “extremely safe” inside the NovaCare Complex. 

“Obviously, coming into it there might have been some skepticism about the testing and the screenings that go on, but it’s very thorough,” Pederson said to reporters on a Zoom call last week. “When you’re here and you get tested in the morning, you’ve got a screening process that you have to go through to get into the building, wearing masks in the building, everywhere we go, I feel extremely safe.”

According to ESPN, it is believed Pederson contracted the coronavirus outside of the NovaCare Complex. ESPN also reported that QBs coach/pass game coordinator Press Taylor, who was in close contact with Pederson, was also sent home. He has tested negative but will follow protocol before returning. 

Last week, the Eagles placed three players — Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata and Nathan Gerry — on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The Reserve/COVID-19 list is for players who either test positive or who have been exposed to someone who has. Johnson later announced that he tested positive. 

In addition to the three players put on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Eagles also had one player opt out already. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin opted out of the season because of family reasons. 

After testing positive, Pederson will obviously miss some time at the facility. Pederson last Monday stressed the need for contingency plans, not just for players, but for coaches too. 

“We have to have a plan for everything as you know,” he said. “One of the things that we've been faced with, and I think we've done a really good job here is we've overcome some of the injuries we've had the last couple of seasons. We've coached that next guy, or that next player has been able to go in and perform at a high level, but now I think that has to carry over to the coaching staff as you mentioned.

“I think there has to be a plan in place for any coach or any staff member that may miss a couple days or a couple weeks because of the virus.

“So those are all things that are running through my mind. Again, we are in a different environment and we all have to do our part to protect ourselves, protect our players and our families and hopefully we minimize any setbacks.”

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