Carson Wentz struggles, defensive line shines and more in Eagles-Patriots report card

Carson Wentz struggles, defensive line shines and more in Eagles-Patriots report card

There’s no shame in losing to the defending world champions, as the Eagles were defeated 17-10 by the Patriots on Sunday (see Roob's observations). But had the offense performed even somewhat satisfactorily, the result could’ve been different.

The Eagles' defense deserves high marks after limiting a Tom Brady offense to a trio of field goals and a lone touchdown on a trick play. The offense, on the other hand, was a complete failure after jumping out to a quick 10-0 second-quarter lead, which means it’s time once again to break out the trusty red pen.


Carson Wentz: 20/40, 214 YDS, TD

Not Wentz’s best, to say the least. He was off the mark a bunch and took some sacks — five total — several the result of holding the ball too long, and one of which he fumbled to giftwrap three points for the Patriots. Understand, Wentz has only one reliable receiver and his production nosedived after the injury on the offensive line. Still, he missed too many throws the Eagles needed for an opportunity to beat one of the NFL’s best teams.

Grade: C

Running backs

Miles Sanders: 11 CAR, 38 YDS

The backs were much more effective in the first half, averaging 4.6 yards per carry in quarters one and two, but the running lanes weren’t there later, and the average dipped to 3.9. Boston Scott may have missed a huge hole, and Sanders got bullied once in protection for a sack, but the backs were otherwise solid and played turnover-free, albeit unspectacular football.

Grade: C+

Wide receivers and tight ends

Zach Ertz: 9 REC, 94 YDS

No separation and no hands is a bad combination. Dallas Goedert caught a touchdown, but a second-quarter drop led to a punt, while Nelson Agholor let one go through his hands on a crucial 3rd-and-2 in the fourth quarter, then misjudged a potential game-tying score in the final minute — he made it look a lot harder than it was. For the most part though, guys aren’t even open, which means there’s precious little room for error.

Grade: D

Offensive line

Big difference after Lane Johnson exited with a concussion. Prior to the right tackle’s absence, the Eagles had 10 points in three possessions, averaging a modest 4.5 yards per play with zero sacks. With Johnson out, the Eagles weren’t able to score again over their remaining 10 series, averaging 3.5 yards per play and surrendering five sacks. The quarterback wound up getting hit 12 times in 43 dropbacks, so once three or four passes. Jason Peters was also cited for back-to-back drive-killing penalties on the opening two drives in his return from injury.

Grade: D

Defensive line

Derek Barnett: 2 TKL, TFL

It won’t be reflected in the pass rush numbers — only four quarterback hits and zero sacks for the unit — but the Eagles were able to generate a lot of pressure on the quarterback, especially off the edges. Not coincidentally, the Patriots only completed 56.3 percent of their passes for 4.6 yards per attempt. New England didn’t have much luck running the football either (3.4 yards per carry) thanks in large part to the push up front.

Grade: A-


Nathan Gerry: 10 TKL, TFL, SK

Gerry made a bunch of plays before and after, but his missed tackle in the third quarter was costly. Instead of stopping a screen pass for no gain, the running back slipped away for a 30-yard gain — six plays later, the Patriots were in the end zone. Good game otherwise. Kamu Grugier-Hill was all over the place as well, finishing with three tackles, including three behind the line of scrimmage.

Grade: B+


Ronald Darby: 5 TKL, 2 PD

Superb job as Darby, Jalen Mills, Avonte Maddox and Rodney McLeod all recorded pass breakups. The only problem: two or three of those could’ve and perhaps should’ve gone for interceptions. The defensive backs also got fooled by a wide receiver pass for New England’s lone touchdown, which marred an otherwise excellent performance, limiting New England to 234 yards through the air despite 48 attempts.

Grade: A

Special teams

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

Boston Scott sure is an adventure in the return game. He muffed and fumbled one kickoff and was fortunate to have it go out of bounds, dangerously made an over-the-shoulder catch on a punt and fielded another inside his own 10-yard line where a touchback appeared likely. Rudy Ford’s block in the back with four minutes to go didn’t do the Eagles any favors, either.

Grade: C-


Eagles’ record: 5-5

With a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, it looked like Doug Pederson was on his way to calling his best game of the season with an undermanned offense. But it was one injury too many when Johnson went down, and the offense collapsed, never finding or coming particularly close to the goal line again. Great game for Jim Schwartz’s defense, and the team seemed properly motivated, so not sure how much more the staff could’ve done. They simply lacked the talent.

Grade: B+

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Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Let's just say, the Navy Midshipmen certainly know how to win over a crowd in Philadelphia.

On Saturday during the 120th Army-Navy game, a familiar play call was seen.

You might have seen it before. There's a statue immortalizing it in front of the Linc. It happened during Super Bowl LII. Anything come to mind?

That's right. The Philly Special.

What an awesome moment in the middle of one of the best days in sports. Check it out:

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A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

Another myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd, an observation about Duce Staley and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's Random Eagles Observations! 

1. Dwayne Haskins may develop into a big-time NFL quarterback. He certainly has the arm. But right now he’s a 22-year-old rookie with 3 TDs and 7 INTs in seven career games and a miserable 61.2 passer rating — worst among current starter QBs. This is a quarterback the Eagles need to dominate. Pressure him. Mix coverages and blitzes. Confuse him. When you get your hands on a ball, make the interception. When you get your hands around him, bring him down. He can’t drive the offense 75 yards down the field in 10 plays, but he's got a legit arm so don’t allow big plays over the top. Don’t give the Redskins a reason to keep fighting like you did the last two weeks against bad teams. The Eagles are 4-1 against rookie quarterbacks under Jim Schwartz, allowing 12 points per game. More of that Sunday. This shouldn’t even be a game by 2:30 p.m. But I'm afraid it will be.

2. Here’s one for the Carson Sucks crowd: Despite missing eight games the last two years and with three games still to go, Wentz already has the 9th-most TD passes in NFL history by a QB in his first four seasons. Three more in the last three games move him up to 6th. He’s also thrown 35 interceptions. Of the 10 QBs currently ahead of him in TD passes over their first four seasons, only Russell Wilson has also thrown fewer than 44  interceptions in his first four years, and only Wilson and Dan Marino have a higher passer rating. Worst QB ever.

3. The Eagles have used 18 cornerbacks since 2016.  Eight of them are no longer in the NFL.

4. I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory. Did you know the first manned moon landing was actually fabricated and the astronauts were actually on a film set in Arizona made to look like the moon? For real! I saw it in Capricorn One! Some conspiracy theories are hilarious, like the one making the rounds this week. Did you know Jordan Howard isn’t really hurt, he’s sitting out to protest not having a long-term contract? I swear, I got that from at least a dozen people this past week. Yeah, that’s a great way to get a new contract! Pretend you’re hurt, lie about a neck injury, miss five games, watch your free agency value plummet and hope that the Eagles just happen to forget to inform other teams that you were healthy all along but just didn’t feel like playing. Makes perfect sense!  

5. MYTH: “Jim Schwartz NEVER ADJUSTS.”
REALITY: Since 2016, the Eagles have allowed the 11th-fewest first-half points in the NFL  [11.0 per game], but they’ve allowed the 4th-fewest second-half points [9.6], behind the Vikings, Patriots and Ravens. Among the top 20 defenses in the league over the last four years, only the Vikings [2.1-point differential] have a larger first-half / second-half point differential than the Eagles [1.4 points]. Overall, the Eagles have allowed the 7th-fewest points in the NFL over the last four years.

6. I count 21 Eagles players who’ve missed a total of 105 games so far this year, a figure that will go up considering how many won’t be playing the next three. Two things: 1) The Eagles have to take an honest look at every facet of their training, conditioning and rehab this offseason and figure out why half the team is always hurt. And 2) It really makes you appreciate guys like Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce, the only Eagles to start and finish all 45 games since opening day 2017. Not far behind are Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks (44), Fletcher Cox (43) and Zach Ertz (42). Those guys have been there for their team every step of the way — or almost every step — for three years now. They're all-time Eagles.

7. What the heck is going on with Genard Avery? The Eagles spent a 4th-round draft pick to acquire Avery from the Browns in October, and he’s played 20 snaps on defense in five games since. TWENTY SNAPS. He didn’t play a snap on defense in the Giants game. His snaps were supposed to go up as he got acclimated to the defense. Now he’s not even playing. He’s been here seven weeks now, and he can’t even get a single snap on defense? He’s playing a lot on special teams (19 snaps per game), but that’s an awfully expensive special teamer.

8. How bad are the Redskins? They've scored 79 points in six home games. They have eight offensive touchdowns at Fedex Field this year. And five of them were in their first two games. They've scored THREE offensive touchdowns in their last four home games. The Eagles are actually 3rd-BEST in the NFL in road scoring at 29.3 points per game. This REALLY needs to be a blowout.

9. Rasul Douglas is the Eagles’ best cornerback.

10. Think about Duce Staley’s body of work as Eagles running backs coach: 1) Got a 776-yard, 9-TD season out of Ryan Mathews in 2016. 2) Won a Super Bowl with LeGarrette Blount on his last legs and Jay Ajayi coming in halfway through the season. 3) Undrafted rookie Corey Clement, who had 10 catches all year, had a 100-yard receiving game and miracle TD in a Super Bowl. 4) Got over 500 yards and a 4.3 average from undrafted rookie Josh Adams in 2018. 5) Miles Sanders has already broken the franchise record for scrimmage yards by a rookie. 6) Jordan Howard was in the midst of a comeback year with a 4.4 average and 7 TDs before he got hurt. 7) Darren Sproles netted nearly 1,400 scrimmage yards in just 30 games, all after turning 33. 8) Boston Scott comes off the practice squad to pile up 128 scrimmage yards in a critical win over the Giants. 9) Eagles are the No. 12 rushing team in the NFL in four years under Staley even though nobody on the roster has rushed for more than 850 yards TOTAL during that span. 10) All 11 running backs who’ve gotten at least 30 carries under Staley have averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry under Duce. Nine of them have averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry. The Eagles haven’t had a back with 550 yards in consecutive years since Shady, yet the Eagles always seem to run the ball well. The guy’s really good.

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