Eagles

What to make of Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson's nights? Our Week 2 Eagles report card after loss to Falcons

What to make of Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson's nights? Our Week 2 Eagles report card after loss to Falcons

Eagles fans won’t want to hear this, but there’s nothing for the team to be ashamed of after a 24-20 loss to the Falcons on Sunday night. 

The injuries started in warmups with tight end Dallas Goedert and continued to pile up as the game went on, with Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Tim Jernigan and Sidney Jones among the players who came off the field at some point. Add in the road trip, and it was a tough game.

Sure, the Eagles had opportunities to steal a win, and that’s reflected in the grades. But by and large, this isn’t a terrible report card considering what transpired in Atlanta.

Quarterbacks

Carson Wentz: 25/43, 231 YDS, TD, 2 INT

Was Wentz hurt, or was the offense out of sync because the Eagles were suddenly down to their backup receivers? Whatever was ailing the signal caller, he snapped out of it in the second half, completing 19 of 27 passes for 184 yards with two scores — one passing, one rushing — plus he put the possible game-winning touchdown on Nelson Agholor's fingertips. By no means a classically great performance, but a gutsy game for Wentz, particularly under the circumstances.

Grade: B-

Running backs

Miles Sanders: 10 ATT, 28 YDS, 3 REC, 9 YDS

Sanders is explosive when he’s moving north-south, but has a tendency to bounce runs outside, to limited success. To be fair, the backs didn’t have a ton of room to operate. Looked like Darren Sproles might’ve missed his assignment in pass protection on an interception.

Grade: C

Wide receivers and tight ends

Nelson Agholor: 8 REC, 107 YDS, TD

There’s no getting around it. Agholor’s drop in the fourth quarter might’ve cost the Eagles the game. Atlanta would’ve had an opportunity with the ball, but that was six points. Backbreaker. Dallas Goedert, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery all exited in the first quarter with injuries. Mack Hollins helped pick up the slack with five catches for 50 yards, though he often did not appear to be on the same page with his quarterback.

Grade: D

Offensive line

Eagles running backs carries 18 times for 46 yards — a 2.6 average — and didn’t record a gain over five yards. Five! Atlanta’s pass rush enjoyed some success too, registering 10 quarterback hits and three sacks. Give the Falcons’ front and pressure packages some credit, but this unit has set the bar high and didn’t meet those expectations.

Grade: C

Defensive line

Derek Barnett: TFL, 3 QH

The numbers won’t do them justice, but the pass rush helped create three interceptions despite five quarterback hits and zero sacks. Falcons running backs also carried 15 times for 54 yards, a 3.6 average. Barnett and Brandon Graham set the tone with their efforts.

Grade: B

Linebackers

Nate Gerry: 2 TKL, INT

It might’ve been a case of right place, right time. Regardless, Gerry’s end zone pick kept the Falcons off the board and gave the Eagles a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Clutch. Zach Brown led the unit with five tackles. Nigel Bradham left some plays out there, though.

Grade: B

Defensive backs

Sidney Jones: 6 TKL, INT

Ronald Darby was getting killed, and rightfully so as the Falcons were clearly picking on him. Yet on the 34-yard touchdown over the top, it was Andrew Sendejo arriving late with the help. Darby’s play picked up in the second half, as did the rest of the secondary. Darby and Jones had picks, Andrew Sendejo a sack, and Rodney McLeod was everywhere with a team-high seven tackles. Unfortunately, the lasting image will be Avonte Maddox getting buried on the game-winning screen.

Grade: C

Special teams

Cameron Johnston: 52.3 AVG, 3 IN20

Underrated moment that will go forgotten: Corey Clement’s kick return fumble to open the second half. Three plays later, the Falcons were in the end zone. For what it’s worth, Clement was injured during the return. Still, a big turnover that marred an otherwise solid night for special teams.

Grade: C-

Coaching

Eagles’ record: 1-1

Jim Schwartz’s aggression may very well have kept the Eagles in the game and eventually turned the tides, but a zero blitz on 4th-and-3 turned out to be the call of the game. The Falcons caught Schwartz with a wide receiver screen, which Julio Jones took 54 yards to the house for the win. Also of note, Doug Pederson’s run-pass ratio — 72 percent pass in a game in which two starting receivers and a tight end were all lost to injury early in the first quarter.

Grade: C-

 



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Report: Jordan Howard expected to miss Eagles-Patriots Week 11 game with injury

Report: Jordan Howard expected to miss Eagles-Patriots Week 11 game with injury

Eagles leading rusher Jordan Howard is not expected to play Sunday as he deals with a shoulder injury, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Eagles have officially listed Howard as questionable for the team's Super Bowl rematch Sunday afternoon against the Patriots at the Linc.

Howard suffered a stinger in the Eagles’ win on Nov. 3 against the Bears, his former team.

That means Jay Ajayi, who the Eagles re-signed on Friday, should be active for the first time in over a year and will likely have a role.

Howard, in his first year with the Eagles, has 525 rushing yards, a 4.4 average and seven touchdowns, including one receiving. 

Since Week 4, Howard has been the 13th-leading rusher in the NFL, averaging 71 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry.

Howard was limited in practice during the week and head coach Doug Pederson said Friday he had not been cleared for contact, which left him with a remote chance to be active on Sunday.

Howard has never missed a game because of injury. He didn’t play in the Bears' 2016 opener against the Texans — opening day of his rookie year — but he did dress for the game and was active, he just didn’t get onto the field.

Since then, he’s played in 57 of a possible 57 games.

Howard has the second-most rushing yards in the NFL since 2016 behind only Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys.

The Eagles are already down two running backs. Super Bowl hero Corey Clement is on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury and Darren Sproles joined him on Injured Reserve this week with a season-ending quad injury.

The Eagles will go into Sunday with Miles Sanders, Ajayi and Boston Scott. They also have a rookie, De’Angelo Henderson, on the practice squad.

Sanders, after a slow start, is averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 76 for 336 and has 22 catches for 305 yards.

Ajayi, acquired by the Eagles from the Dolphins midway through the 2017 Super Bowl season, hasn’t played since injuring his knee in a game against the Vikings on Oct. 7 of last year.

Ajayi has battled knee injuries most of his career but his 4.5 career average is fifth best in the NFL since 2015 among running backs with at least 500 carries.

Scott has 16 carries for 68 yards, a 4.3 average in limited duty.

The Eagles have averaged 141 rushing yards in their last six games. The Patriots are allowing an NFL-worst 5.6 yards per carry over their last six games.

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Eagles send high-ranking official to Colin Kaepernick’s workout

Eagles send high-ranking official to Colin Kaepernick’s workout

According to those who attended Colin Kaepernick’s workout in Atlanta on Saturday, the Eagles were well represented.

The Eagles could have sent a regional or a low level scout to watch Kaepernick, but instead, they sent vice president of football operations Andrew Berry, which seems noteworthy.

On Friday, head coach Doug Pederson was asked if the Eagles would be in attendance at the workout.

“I would assume that we would,” Pederson said. “Obviously for us, we're in season so I can't be there. I’m comfortable with the guys we have, but I'm assuming that we would have somebody there.”

Pederson might be comfortable with the quarterbacks the Eagles have now, but it makes sense that the Eagles would at least take a look at Kaepernick. While Carson Wentz will be in Philly for a long time, his backups — Josh McCown and Nate Sudfeld — are both set to be unrestricted free agents after this season is up.

McCown will be 41 at the beginning of the 2020 season and Sudfeld has attempted just 25 career passes. The Eagles also have Kyle Lauletta on their practice squad.

Philadelphia, more than any other NFL city, should realize how important the backup quarterback position can be. Sure, maybe Kaepernick gets a crack at a starting job, but after three years out of the league, that’s certainly not a given. And the Eagles, with their progressive owner, might just be willing to sign Kaepernick despite potential backlash. Or maybe this leads nowhere.

Despite a last-minute move to a location 60 miles away from the Falcons’ facility, Berry and a few representatives from other NFL teams still made it to the workout.

The whole workout on Saturday was seemingly thrown together hastily and was organized by two sides that clearly have a contentious relationship. There were plenty of issues between them, including ones about the liability waiver, media availability and video footage. The move happened 15 minutes before the workout was scheduled to happen.

After the workout, Kaepernick explained why the move happened:

The NFL on Saturday released a statement saying it was “disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout.” He didn’t appear for the workout at the Falcons’ facility, but the 32-year-old quarterback did appear at the high school sight in Georgia and apparently looked good.

The Eagles pride themselves on searching everywhere for talent and evaluating all options. Kaepernick is certainly an option. Of course, there’s a lot more to the Kaepernick story than a former Pro Bowl quarterback looking for a new team. The NFL in February settled a collusion grievance with Kaepernick and his former teammate Eric Reid. And Kaepernick hasn’t played since 2016, claiming collusion after he began a series of protests over social and racial injustice in the United States. He famously kneeled during the national anthem before games.

It’ll be interesting to see if this workout leads anywhere for Kaepernick or if the Eagles would actually pursue him. For the rest of this season, the Eagles are in a good spot when it comes to the quarterback position, but when this year is over, it’s more questionable. That’s probably why they looked at Kaepernick today.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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