Eagles

The Eagles' defense finds themselves on the receiving end of a bad report card after loss to Dolphins

The Eagles' defense finds themselves on the receiving end of a bad report card after loss to Dolphins

After failing grades for members of the Eagles’ offense in back-to-back weeks, this time the defense is on the receiving end of a bad report card after a 37-31 loss to the lowly Dolphins.

The Eagles blew leads of 10 and 14 points to an opponent that entered the game with two wins and has been widely accused of tanking, so you better believe the letter F is back in full force.

Quarterback

Carson Wentz: 28/46, 310 YDS, 3 TD, INT

Far from great, which will no doubt keep the debate about Wentz’s franchise-worthiness going for another week – though he certainly did enough to win. A few inaccurate throws, but take away the Hail Mary interception at the end, and negative plays were kept to a minimum with only two sacks and no other turnovers. Bottom line, he led the offense to 31 points.

Grade: B-

Running backs

Miles Sanders: 17 CAR, 83 YDS, 5 REC, 22 YDS, TD

Sanders put the Eagles offense on his shoulders for much of the first half, carrying 10 times for 54 yards with three receptions for 24 yards, including a 15-yard catch and run. Lack of explosive plays the only gripe.

Grade: B+

Wide receivers and tight ends

Alshon Jeffery: 9 REC, 137 YDS, TD

Who are these guys and what did they do with the Eagles receivers who drop everything? And we’re talking tough catches and clutch catches. Jeffery had his best game all season. Dallas Goedert managed to post a line (6 REC, 66 YDS) without a fumble. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside hauled in his first career touchdown – 15 yards on a scramble drill – and Nelson Agholor followed it with a two-point conversion. Zach Ertz, of all people, was the worst of the bunch, leaving two potential touchdowns on the turf.

Grade: B

Offensive line

Solid, but unspectacular up front. Eagles running backs averaged 4.8 yards per carry, and Wentz was hit just five times in 48 dropbacks – yet Miami’s defense ranked 31st against the run and dead last in sacks entering the game, so those numbers really aren’t that impressive.

Grade: B

Defensive line

Derek Barnett: 6 TKL, 2 TFL, 4 QBH, SK

The pressure on the quarterback was immense for much of the first half, with sacks for Barnett, Vinny Curry and a Fletcher Cox/Josh Sweat split. In all, the unit racked up 10 hits on the quarterback. Yet, the pass rush vanished in the second half while Miami marched into the end zone three straight times and kicked a field goal. Stopping Miami’s completely worthless ground attack was meaningless and inconsequential compared to the inability affect the passer.

Grade: D

Linebackers

Nigel Bradham: 4 TKL, PD

Where were these guys? Bradham, Nathan Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill combined for 11 tackles. And the one play Bradham needed to have – an interception in the fourth quarter – was in and out of his hands for a harmless incompletion. Not good enough.

Grade: F

Secondary

Grabbed the turnover on the first play from scrimmage, then it was pretty much all downhill from there for the Eagles corners. Ronald Darby gave up the 43-yard bomb on fourth down, while Jalen Mills was beat on jump balls not once, but twice on scores of 17 and 14 yards. Generally speaking, 365 yards through the air is a lot against any opponent, let alone one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

Grade: F

Special teams

The Dolphins’ punter threw a touchdown to their kicker. That’s all anybody needs to say.

Grade: D

Coaching

Eagles’ record: 5-7

Give Doug Pederson a modicum of credit: he moved the pocket a lot for his quarterback on Sunday, to some degree of success. Unfortunately, that’s about the only positive remark for this staff. Jim Schwartz’s defense was dismantled by one of the worst teams in the league, and Pederson refuses to stick with the run despite an inconsistent passing attack. Penalties – 10 for 91 yards – were an issue, too. This team isn’t very good, but they’re not exceptionally well-coached, either.

Grade: D

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Emotional Nick Foles opens up on George Floyd death

Emotional Nick Foles opens up on George Floyd death

Saying he’s been “torn up” this week, Nick Foles tweeted out a message of inclusion Sunday afternoon, joining the growing number of pro athletes urging racial tolerance and understanding during an increasingly tense time in the U.S.

Foles, the Super Bowl MVP for the Eagles two years ago, tweeted out a lengthy message saying his “heart is with the black and brown communities and the family of George Floyd. (His wife) Tori and I are constantly praying for y’all.”

Floyd died on Monday following an encounter with Minneapolis police.

Here’s part of what the Bears’ quarterback tweeted:

My favorite part of playing football has not been winning a Super Bowl or running the Philly Special. It has been to Glorify God and to play with men from all different backgrounds and races. To use football as an example … the beautiful thing about playing football has been the diversity within the locker room. Men come together to achieve the common goal of winning games no matter what their background. To do that they must love one another, genuinely. It becomes a real brotherhood. I’ve been a part of some special teams. The special teams did not always have the best playbook but they did have the strongest brotherhood. Sports show us what is possible when we stop looking at the difference in skin color and look at the heart of an individual. Christ tells us to love our neighbor. No matter how they look or what their color of skin is we are to genuinely love one another. Football shows us that this is possible and it is truly a beautiful thing when it is from the heart. To all my brother and sisters in the black and brown communities, Tori and I dearly love y’all and we are here to walk alongside y’all and to listen.

Foles went on to quote two Bible verses preaching equality and added, “We are to not just read this verse but to live it out.”

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10 Eagles observations, including the greatness of Reggie White

10 Eagles observations, including the greatness of Reggie White

A wild Nick Foles stat that has nothing to do with the Super Bowl, the miracle of the A.J. Feeley trade, the greatness of Reggie White and the bizarre career of Hank Baskett!

That's only a small sliver of the wonders that await you in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations! 

1. I can't even imagine an Eagles game without fans. I can imagine empty venues for other sports. I’ve watched some of those Korean baseball games over the past couple weeks and barely even notice there are no fans. Hockey and hoops, the crowds are more active and louder. But football? NFL? Eagles? The synergy between what’s happening on the field and the fans is so different in football than any other sport, and the old cliche about players feeding off the fans’ energy is very real. You can feel it. You can sense it. When the Linc erupts after an Eagles touchdown or big play, there’s literally nothing like it. It's not just cheering, it's an ocean of joyous noise that envelops your soul. I’d rather have Eagles football with no fans than no football at all, but I just can’t visualize Carson Wentz throwing a game-winning touchdown pass to Zach Ertz and … complete silence. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, it’s really going to be weird.   

2. One of the most amazing things about Nick Foles’ Eagles career has nothing to do with the Super Bowl or even the 2017 season. In 2013, Foles threw 27 touchdown passes in just 317 attempts. That’s the fewest attempts by any QB throwing at least 27 TDs in the last 44 years.

3. When I was putting together the all-time Eagles Never-Made-a-Pro Bowl teams last week, I was reminded of what Ron Baker said the day he announced his retirement at JFK Stadium at the start of training camp in the summer of 1989. Baker, a solid right guard, had played 11 NFL seasons as a 10th-round pick, the last nine seasons with the Eagles. He and Roynell Young were the only guys who played in the 1980 Super Bowl and were still with the Eagles in 1988 for the Fog Bowl. But when a 34-year-old Baker showed up for camp in 1989 and saw the Eagles’ depth chart, he knew it was time: “When I looked at the depth chart, I saw that I was on the fourth team, and I’ve been around long enough to know there is no fourth team.” And with that, he hung up the cleats and never looked back. Class act, Ron Baker.  

4. From 1997 through 1999, Sean Payton, John Harbaugh, Jon Gruden, Doug Pederson, Bill Callahan, Ron Rivera and Andy Reid were all with the Eagles as a player or coach. All seven became Super Bowl head coaches and all but Rivera and Callahan won. Those three teams Eagles teams? They went 14-33-1. 

5. The last time the Cowboys won playoff games in consecutive seasons was 1995 and 1996. The last time they even reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons was 2006 and 2007. 

6. I think back to training camp in 2011 when every fan in attendance at Lehigh could hear new defensive line coach Jim Washburn constantly berating and insulting his players in a way that was so inappropriate and so offensive and so demeaning I’m surprised Andy Reid let it continue. This went way beyond a coach being a hard-ass or a strict disciplinarian. This was awful. Reid finally fired Washburn halfway through the 2012 season, but a lot of damage had been done. I wouldn’t want that guy coaching my worst enemy.

7. Reggie White had 33 games as an Eagle with two or more sacks. Only six other Eagles have had 33 games with at least one sack.

8. It still blows my mind that the Eagles were able to trade A.J. Feeley to the Dolphins for a 2nd-round pick — a very high 2nd-round pick — after the 2003 season. What had A.J. done to convince the Dolphins he was their QB of the future? In 2002 he went 4-1 in relief of an injured Donovan McNabb, although he had just five TDs and five INTs and a modest 72.6 passer rating in those games. Nonetheless, the Dolphins not only traded the Eagles a 2nd-round pick, they gave A.J. a $3 million signing bonus when they restructured his deal. Feeley went 3-5 with 11 TDs and 15 INTs in eight starts in Miami before the Dolphins gave up on him, benching and eventually releasing him. The Eagles drafted Reggie Brown with the pick they got from the Dolphins — the 35th pick overall in 2005 — and Feeley wound up rejoining the Eagles and even threw a TD to Brown in a game against the Patriots. The Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since making that trade.

9. Before last year, only four players in Eagles history had netted 150 yards both rushing and receiving over the last four games of a season (Wilbert Montgomery twice, Keith Byars in 1988, Herschel Walker in 1993 and Brian Westbrook twice). Last year, both Miles Sanders AND Boston Scott did it, making the Eagles the first team in NFL history with that distinction. Doug Pederson’s ability to effectively use both backs as receivers and runners with the wide receiver cupboard bare was a crucial dimension of the Eagles’ 4-0 finish. It will be interesting to see how Doug deploys his backs this year with presumably an upgraded wide receiving corps because they sure look like a lethal combination. Scott needs a role in this offense. 

10. Gotta finish with a great Hank Baskett stat! The fact that Baskett is one of only five players in NFL history with three career touchdown catches of at least 85 yards is one of the strangest things in football history. Hank only had three other touchdown catches in his career, none longer than 10 yards. He actually had three TD catches of at least 87 yards but NONE between 11 and 86 yards. That’s absurd.

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