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Grading the Eagles' 24-10 loss to the Seahawks in Week 13

Grading the Eagles' 24-10 loss to the Seahawks in Week 13

Grading the Eagles' 24-10 loss Sunday night to the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field (see breakdown):

QUARTERBACK

Carson Wentz: 29/45, 348 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Seattle's defense will take credit for slowing a potent Eagles offense, but Wentz was his own worst enemy. First, he overthrew Nelson Agholor on what almost certainly would've been a touchdown. Then, he underthrew Agholor on another potential scoring play. But perhaps the worst play of all was Wentz fumbling the football one yard away from the goal line. Total points on those three possessions: Zero. That certainly isn't going to fly in the playoffs, and it didn't cut it against the Seahawks, either.

Grade: D

RUNNING BACKS

Jay Ajayi: 9 ATT, 35 YDS

None of the Eagles' three-headed monster finished above 4.0 yards per rushing attempt for the game, yet each had a carry of 11 or 12 yards. Granted, the team was trailing for most of the contest and got away from the run in the second half. Regardless, none of Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount or Corey Clement had much of an impact. No fumbles, though.

Grade: C

WIDE RECEIVERS

Nelson Agholor: 7 REC, 141 YDS, 1 TD

Agholor legitimately might've finished with over 200 yards receiving and three touchdowns if Wentz hadn't missed him so badly on the aforementioned targets. Even with the misfires, the third-year wideout set a new career high for receiving yards (see Roob's observations). Meanwhile, Torrey Smith hauled in five passes for a whopping 29 yards — a Jordan Matthews-esque 5.8 average — begging the question, "What would you say... you do here?"

Grade: B

TIGHT ENDS

Zach Ertz: 2 REC, 24 YDS

Just as Ertz was starting to gain some momentum in the second half, he was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Trey Burton saw a lot of action as a result, racking up four receptions for 42 yards, but it was too little, too late.

Grade: C+

OFFENSIVE LINE

Halapoulivaati Vaitai suffered his worst game since taking over for Jason Peters, and the timing could not have been worse. The backup left tackle was on the hook for three sacks, and was the source of a lot of pressure throughout. It's a shame, because the rest of the unit protected well, particularly right tackle Lane Johnson going up against Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett. Then again, the Eagles did average 3.8 yards on the ground as a team, so the O-line was not great all around.

Grade: B-

DEFENSIVE LINE

Brandon Graham: 2 TFL, 1.5 SK

In all honesty, the Eagles got outstanding pressure the entire game. The fact that the front four only recorded two sacks and eight quarterback hits is a testament to the mobility of Russell Wilson for the Seahawks. The D-line did not look dominant against a suspect ground attack, though. Seattle's backs were able to get into the second level on occasion, carrying 15 times for 67 yards — a respectable 3.7 average.

Grade: A-

LINEBACKERS

Mychal Kendricks: 9 TKL

To his credit, Kendricks was all over the field and led the Eagles in tackles. However, it was a busted coverage by the sixth-year veteran that resulted in a back-breaking 15-yard touchdown pass to Seahawks running back J.D. McKissic in the fourth quarter. Nigel Bradham chipped in with five tackles. Lots of production from the duo, albeit lacking on the impact plays.

Grade: B-

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Jalen Mills: 3 TKL, 1 PD

Rodney McLeod is on the hook for a 47-yard pass to Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin that set up a touchdown, though you have to question the design of the play. Baldwin on McLeod is a mismatch, to be honest, one Seattle was able to expose. Not a great night for the rest of the secondary, either. Mills whiffed on multiple tackles, Malcolm Jenkins was beat for a touchdown by tight end Jimmy Graham, and the unit as a whole was called for way too many drive-extending penalties.

Grade: D

SPECIAL TEAMS

Donnie Jones: 41.0 AVG, 3 IN20

Phenomenal outing for Jones, who pinned the Seahawks inside their own 10-yard line on all three punts. That was about the only real positive for the Eagles' special teams units. Kenjon Barner had a pair of nice kick returns, both of which were called back by penalties. At least Jake Elliott and the coverage units were solid in limited action.

Grade: C

COACHING

Eagles' record: 10-2

Doug Pederson is going to take a lot of heat for his fourth-down calls and the timing of his coaching challenges. The bigger curiosity is why Pederson's offense only attempted one pass down the field in the first half against a banged-up Seattle secondary. And the worst call might've come on the other side of the ball — Jim Schwartz's zero blitz on 3rd-and-9. Wilson burned that, and when the Seahawks took a 17-3 third-quarter lead three plays later, it felt like game over.

All of those criticisms and complaints aside, it's easy to forget this was a primetime game against a quality opponent in one of the toughest buildings to play in the NFL. And coaching aside, it's difficult to win a game like that when the quarterback leaves 21 points on the field. The Eagles' coaching was not up to the level we've become accustomed to this season, but Pederson and Schwartz are far from solely to blame for the debacle in Seattle.

Grade: C-

Eagles wise to reject Nick Foles trade offer ... for now

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AP Images

Eagles wise to reject Nick Foles trade offer ... for now

Nick Foles for the 35th overall pick in the draft? A lot of Eagles fans would’ve probably pulled the trigger on that trade.

We know now the Eagles, wisely, did not.

Technically, it was Foles who shunned the Cleveland Browns’ overtures. According to an NFL.com report, the Eagles approached the Super Bowl MVP in March about the Browns’ offer of a second-round choice in the 2018 draft. He would rather remain a backup quarterback in Philadelphia than start for the league’s most pitiful franchise.

The Eagles respected his wishes. It wasn’t what was best for Foles. He earned that deference.

But it wasn’t what was best for the Eagles, either.

Never mind the organization owed it to Foles to ask his feelings about a possible trade, or that dumping him off in Cleveland against his wishes would’ve been unpopular with fans and around the league. Those were good reasons to turn down the offer. Just not necessarily the only reasons.

There was no need for the Eagles to settle for a second-round pick at that point in time, and all the rationale in the world says to wait and see what transpires.

Carson Wentz’s ongoing recovery from a torn ACL is the obvious. As confident as Wentz is he’ll be under center for the Eagles in Week 1, that remains to be seen. His progress was an even greater unknown when the offer was made over two months ago.

Was No. 35 enough to gamble on Wentz’s getting healthy in time for the 2018 season, amid the Eagles’ bid to repeat?

Maybe, maybe not – fortunately, the Eagles didn’t have to decide to trade Foles right then and there.

If recent history has told us anything, it’s not only do the Eagles have the option to trade Foles at a later date, but his value could increase based on demand.

The Eagles would know. Fans couldn’t believe the front office didn’t ship a disgruntled Sam Bradford to the Broncos for a second-round pick after making the move to draft Wentz in 2016. A few months later, almost everybody was amazed when Bradford was dealt to the Vikings for a first and a fourth.

Circumstances changed. The Vikings were a viable contender that, due to an injury, suddenly became desperate for an established quarterback just as the regular season was about to begin.

There’s no telling which teams might have interest in Foles between now and the mid-season trade deadline, or what price they might be willing to pay. And the Eagles were never going to find out had they shipped him out for the first semi-decent package that was floated their way.

The absolute worst-case scenario now is Foles sticks with the Eagles all this season, is never called upon to play a meaningful snap, then opts out of his contract and becomes a free agent next year.

Yet, even in that scenario, the reigning Super Bowl champions had the best insurance policy in the NFL, for a relatively modest price at $8 million against the salary cap, and the league eventually awards the team a compensatory draft pick after his departure. Along the way, the Eagles simultaneously get to do right by Foles and engender positive vibes among fans and around the league.

The Eagles could’ve used the cap space and another second-round pick this year, but they were better off keeping Foles.

For now, at least.

Eagles releasing Mychal Kendricks the right thing to do

Eagles releasing Mychal Kendricks the right thing to do

For the past two years, the Eagles kept Mychal Kendricks in a state of limbo. It was about time the team set him free.

The Eagles didn’t release Kendricks on Tuesday simply because it was “the right thing to do” — if there was such a thing in this instance. They did it because the move will save $6 million against the salary cap in 2018. They did it because Corey Nelson is a cheaper alternative. They did it because Kendricks isn’t an ideal fit for Jim Schwartz’s scheme. They did it because, evidently, they couldn’t find a trade partner.

In short, the Eagles released Kendricks because the 27-year-old linebacker wasn’t worth $16-plus million over the next two seasons. That really should be enough.

It was also about time the Eagles put Kendricks out of his misery. He made no secret about being unhappy with his reduced role since Schwartz became defensive coordinator, asking the team to either cut him or move him last offseason. The subject of trade rumors annually since 2015, Kendricks probably hadn’t felt comfortable about his standing with the organization for quite awhile.

At what point are the Eagles holding him hostage?

Good thing the club didn’t oblige Kendricks’ request last year, as he wound up filling in for the injured Jordan Hicks and playing a pivotal part in the Eagles’ Super Bowl run. Some see that as evidence the team made a mistake in letting a six-year veteran with 78 career NFL starts to walk away for nothing.

While it’s true Kendricks came up big in 2017, he wasn’t exactly an impact player for the Eagles, finishing the season with four tackles for loss and two sacks in 18 games, including playoffs. He hasn’t forced a fumble since 2015. He hasn’t recorded an interception since 2013. And rushing the passer, arguably his greatest strength, goes almost completely unutilized in Schwartz’s scheme, which sent Kendricks after opposing quarterbacks just eight times all year, according to Pro Football Focus.

Numbers may not do Kendricks’ campaign justice, but typically more would be expected of somebody who was set to carry a $7.6 million cap figure into ’18.

The Eagles also feel they are in better shape now in terms of depth at the position (see story).

Kendricks’ days appeared to be numbered the moment the club signed Nelson and the free-agent addition declared he would compete for the starting weakside linebacker job. It’s unclear whether the Eagles are putting too much faith in the former Denver Broncos reserve and the host of linebacker prospects already on the roster. Regardless, the team likes its options.

So why force Kendricks to stick around? From the team’s standpoint, it was a lot of money for the level of production, for not being a great scheme fit and given his impending return to the bench. The Eagles were wise to keep him around for one more year, but with other arrangements since made, moving on now doesn’t sting as much.

The fact Kendricks was anything less than thrilled to be back only makes it easier. After handling his displeasure like a pro last season, then helping the Eagles win their first Super Bowl championship, granting his release seems like the least the team could do.