The Eagles’ 24-20 loss in Atlanta was frustrating in so many ways. Falcons receivers were running wide open, Wentz was running for his life because of pressure and the running game was non-existent. For the sake of sanity, I won’t mention the missed plays that could’ve sealed a win late in the game.
To make matters worse, the injury report was longer than that of a 6-year old’s Christmas list. Thankfully, there were some players who stepped up in a way we should feel good about. Let’s get some good vibes going:
1. Sidney Jones
The hype was real in training camp, although it quickly silenced after week one.
Jones is in a rotation with Rasul Douglas at outside corner and situationally in the slot instead of Avonte Maddox. However, against the Falcons, Jones showed things that should push him towards more snaps.
Jones gets an A+ in physical presence. By far the most physical DB on the field. He shedded blocks against receivers nicely, he dipped under Jake Matthews, and on one 3rd and long he extended his arms nicely, disengaged, and made a solid tackle in the open field:
In coverage, he did some nice things – and some not so nice things. It’s a natural balance when going up against Julio Jones. On one play he has really smooth hips in man coverage, while on another he gets flat out burned on a deep crossing route. Jones received a very respectable 76.5 pff coverage grade in week 2.
2. Brandon Graham
Another week, another reason Eagles were wise to keep BG.
The big dog did everything he could to get to Matt Ryan, and he came close on multiple occasions, including two plays on Atlanta’s game-winning drive. One came on a 3rd and 3 check-down to Freeman, which Ryan had to throw to not get sacked.
Against the run, the captain keeps doing what he does every week – get big-time tackles for loss, display quick hands, and good get-off. He received yet another elite 86.3 PFF run-defense grade.
3. Josh Sweat
Many scratched their heads when Daeshon Hall was announced inactive for both week 1 and 2. Josh Sweat proved on Sunday why he is on the active roster.
On limited snaps (18), he managed to be relevant in both the run and passing game.
He was inches from getting a strip-sack early in the game, where he displayed powerful push, rip, and balance off the edge. Later on, he lined up in a 3-tech spot where he drove the right guard back while Cox occupied the Center, which collapsed the pocket entirely.
In the run game, he had a rep with a nice inside swipe and made the tackle for a short gain. Further, he pursued a run play down the field after being double-teamed, which is the type of effort coaches love to see.
You probably noticed all three guys are on defense. I’d love to tell you that’s because I just love defense and there were plenty of offensive players to choose from… but that’s just really not the case. Let’s hope the defense can step up and shut down Detroit in week 3.
Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports