Dallas Goedert

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.

Quarterback

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-

Linebackers

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+

Secondary

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-

Coaching

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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Coaching, Eagles' secondary receive failing grades in embarrassing loss to Cowboys

Coaching, Eagles' secondary receive failing grades in embarrassing loss to Cowboys

After a loss like the Eagles just endured — 37-10 to the NFC East rival Cowboys, dropping the team back below .500 — we could just as easily give the whole team an F or unsatisfactory for a grade.

There will be no polishing this turd, no individual performance or moment to point to as a silver lining. It was a total catastrophe.

On to the report card. And these guys better get their parents sign these things, because it’s bad.

Quarterback

Carson Wentz: 16/26, 191 YDS, TD, INT

Typically one of two players you can point to as having a good game — the other, punter Cameron Johnston — this wasn’t Wentz’s best. Granted, he was under a ton of pressure, and the Eagles were down 20 when Doug Pederson decided to start throwing the ball. Regardless, Wentz wasn’t seeing the field well. He didn’t see open receivers and failed to diagnose blitzes, and late in the game, he got reckless with his decision making, too. He was far from the biggest issue here, but certainly not his best work either.

Grade: C-

Running backs

Jordan Howard: 11 ATT, 50 YDS, 2 REC, 6 YDS

Howard ran the ball fine, even effectively, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Miles Sanders continues to flash the instincts of a rookie, most notably on a 3rd-and-4 carry in which he appeared to be looking straight into a crease to a first down, but instead danced his way to a three-yard gain and a punt. Six carries (for 21 yards) were arguably too many.

Grade: C

Wide receivers and tight ends

Dallas Goedert: 4 REC, 69 YDS, TD

While Goedert finally showed value as a receiver, he got the ball rolling in the wrong direction with his fumble on the Eagles’ opening possession. No one else recorded more than two receptions for 38 yards, Mack Hollins had zero catches, and while it was hard to tell, it sure looked like Nelson Agholor (two catches, 24 yards) could’ve at least extended for an overthrown pass in the fourth quarter. Doesn’t seem like these guys are getting open all that much.

Grade: D

Offensive line

So afraid of the Cowboys’ pass rush, the Eagles ran the ball 18 times to 19 dropbacks through three quarters while trailing almost the entire time and by as much as 20. Given the pressure on the quarterback — three sacks and a fumble — you can almost understand why. It was Andre Dillard’s first start, so some struggles were to be expected, but Lane Johnson was getting wrecked, too.

Grade: C-

Defensive line

Derek Barnett: 2 TKL, TFL, SK

It’s no coincidence the two drives the defensive line got the quarterback on the ground for sacks were the only drives the defense actually stopped. And in addition to a generally ineffective pass rush — three quarterback hits in 31 dropbacks — Cowboys ball carriers got to the second level much too easily, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

Grade: D

Linebackers

Nathan Gerry: 11 TKL

Gerry made it so Zach Brown and even Nigel Bradham version 2019 weren’t really missed, which isn’t saying a lot. But of the unit’s 17 total tackles, there were few true impact plays, and nothing remotely like a tackle for loss, sack, interception or so much as a pass breakup. What there were, though, were plenty of missed tackles. Of course, that goes for all three phases.

Grade: C-

Secondary

Jalen Mills

Lack of pass rush does them no favors, but a 77.8 completion percentage and 8.9 yards per pass attempt are big numbers. Mills’ late interception is the only time an Eagles defensive back even got their hands on a pass. When Malcolm Jenkins is out there getting trucked by running backs or blowing his assignments (last week), you know all is lost.

Grade: F

Special teams

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

Penalties by Kamu Grugier-Hill (holding) and Rudy Ford (block in the back) caused two Eagles possessions to start inside their own 15-yard line. Miles Sanders choosing to run a kickoff out of the end zone pinned the offense deep a third time. The average starting field position for the night was the 19. You’re not going to win a lot of games like that.

Grade: D

Coaching

Eagles’ record: 3-4

When people say Pederson should run the ball more, they don’t mean while the Eagles are down 20. And it’s no wonder Jim Schwartz doesn’t like blitzing, because he sure doesn’t seem to know when to call one or how to scheme anybody free. Special teams are bad. This team constantly has the wrong number of players on the field in all three phases. They weren’t ready to play, and Pederson’s talking trash and putting a target on their backs didn’t help.

You can only hope this is like the Saints game in 2018 and becomes the low point of the season from which the Eagles bounce back.

Grade: F

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Even with 4 catches, Dallas Goedert has been one of Eagles' best this season

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Even with 4 catches, Dallas Goedert has been one of Eagles' best this season

Dallas Goedert has four catches this year.

Doesn’t matter.

When he’s been on the field, he’s been one of the Eagles’ most productive players.

Goedert’s continued progress as a blocker has been eye-opening so far this year, and even though he was targeted only three times and caught two passes in the win over the Packers, he was one of the Eagles’ MVPs.

Goedert spent most of the evening at Lambeau Field along the line of scrimmage blocking for Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders, who combined for 159 rushing yards on 26 carries.

He was a capable blocker last year.

He’s taken it to another level this year.

“If I had a choice I’d run routes every play, but that’s not realistic,” Goedert said. “You got one of the best in the business (Zach Ertz) right there and receivers who get paid to do that, so I’m going to be limited with the balls I get. Obviously I want to be on the field and if I can block well that’s going to help me be on the field.”

Goedert missed the Falcons game and most of the Lions game with a calf injury, and the Eagles are 2-0 and averaging 33 points and 150 rushing yards when he’s played. They’re 0-2 and averaging 88 rushing yards when he doesn’t play.

There are a lot of reasons for that, but Goedert’s blocking opens up an awful lot of possibilities in this offense.

“He's tenacious and strong,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “He has strong hands when he can get his hands on you. He plays with a balance and a base and he can really move people. He obviously gives us an advantage there as an in-line tight end.”

Goedert has shown he can get down the field. He caught 33 passes for 334 yards and four TDs as a rookie last year, and we all remember the 75-yarder against the Cowboys that was called back because of a bogus penalty.

He’s just 4-for-16 with a TD Thursday night so far this year, but the threat for him to take off down the field is always there.

It’s rare for a tight end to be this stout on the line of scrimmage and also this much of a threat down the field.

“There’s not a lot of guys in the league that do that right now,” said Eagles tight ends coach Justin Peelle, who played 10 seasons in the NFL and joined the Eagles’ coaching staff under Chip Kelly. “He takes pride in it and he’s learning, and the more he understands about defenses and how guys are playing, the better he’ll be. He’s got natural strength, he enjoys doing it, takes pride in it."

Goedert has played 93 snaps so far this year, and 68 of them have been in 12 personnel, with two tight ends, two receivers and one running back.

The Eagles have so much flexibility in 12 because Goedert and Ertz are so versatile and capable of running any route or staying on the line of scrimmage and blocking.

“It’s gotta be tough (for defenses),” Goedert said. “If they go nickel, we can run the ball, and if they go base or bigger personnel we can pass the ball to Zach. He’s obviously — with what he’s done over the last few years — one of the best in the game, if not the best. Unbelievable route runner, unbelievable tight end, and I think I can do it all, too. I think what I do in the pass game and the run game, I think having me on the field helps. I think any time we’re in 12 personnel it can be a challenge for the defense.”

Goedert wasn’t known as much of a blocker at South Dakota State, but still just 24 years old, he’s already evolved into one of the NFL’s most skilled two-way tight ends.

And Ertz’s improvement as a blocker gives the Eagles’ offense a real measure of unpredictability when Ertz and Goedert are on the field.

“His attitude is that he wants to play and he wants to do what helps the team win and right now he’s doing that,” Peelle said. “I’d like to get him more involved in the passing game if we can, but he goes out and just plays ball, and that’s what we love about him.”