2-2 feels a lot better than 1-3, right Eagles fans? It feels even better knowing that the Cowboys dropped a very winnable game against New Orleans and the divisional race is well and truly back on. But how do the Eagles grade through four weeks of the regular season?
With the exception of a strange first half against Atlanta, it’s hard to grade Carson Wentz as anything less than exceptional. The face of the franchise had 9 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions so far despite a shorthanded offense struggling with ball-security issues and a lack of discipline prior to the win in Green Bay.
Wentz looks confident in the pocket and is navigating it with ease which is a night/day transformation in comparison to what we saw last year. He’s still making the Houdini moves that make us question if he really is a human or some genetically mutated ‘super-quarterback’, but is playing with a composure and calmness that has dragged this offense from the brink on several occasions. The questionable throws are becoming less and less, and his decision making more reliable.
We’re seeing the evolution of Carson Wentz right before our very eyes and if you ever wanted a season to demonstrate the importance of a franchise quarterback, look no further than this one.
The Green Bay game saved this backfield from an abysmal grade. There had been flashes of versatility, brilliance, and dominance, but it was all overshadowed by a complete lack of identity as the team appeared to try and force the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ tag on Miles Sanders, despite having backs who excelled in niches stood right next to him.
But then they played the Packers.
Jordan Howard finally saw a heavy workload, leading the Birds with 15 carries, averaging 5.8 yards per attempt and scoring 2 rushing touchdowns along with catching a third on a wheel route. This was the game fans had been begging to see since the season opener and it did not disappoint.
Miles Sanders appeared to carry the ball with the mindset of clinging on for dear life that night and a fired-up offensive line (more on that shortly) helped propel him to a career-night in terms of rushing yards.
The Green Bay game showed to restore hope in the Eagles backfield, balancing an offense against a ruthless defense and ridiculous odds on the road. For that reason alone, the grade increases from what would’ve been a confusing ‘D’, to a much higher score.
In a similar vein to the running backs, the Green Bay game has saved this grade. They didn’t allow a single sack on Carson Wentz and only 2 QB hits, paving the way for a whopping 176 rushing yards.
This comes after allowing 7 sacks through the opening three games, a play that was scrutinized for ‘lack of effort’, and some poor run blocking.
It has to be said that the Eagles offensive line didn’t play a single snap together during preseason, so maybe it just took a little time to gel as it once did during the Andy Reid era.
Either way, we all know how much talent and potential this line has and we’re finally beginning to see the true representation of that…even if it took 3 weeks of stress.
The Eagles sorely missed Dallas Goedert as a run-blocker and it showed upon his return. The man was a force to be reckoned with but as a receiver, drops have plagued his game…that was until his red-zone TD snag on Thursday night.
As for Zach Ertz, it’s business as usual. The elite tight end has 255 receiving yards through 4 games but is still without a score up to this point.
You get the feeling that keeping a third tight end (Richard Rodgers had he not been injured) would’ve been supremely beneficial for a group that’s paper-thin when it comes to depth. Either way, when they’re rolling, the pairing of Ertz and Goedert are just as impressive as they were last year.
After an explosive season-opener, missing Alshon and D-Jax really hurt this offense. Mack Hollins became an OPI machine, JJ Arcega-Whiteside was unable to provide anything productive outside of a couple of catches for minimal yardage, and then there was the whole ‘drop’ saga.
Nelson Agholor rebounded from those wobbles strongly, which was just as well considering how much the group was struggling. Agholor put the group on his back until Jeffery’s return, which even then was less than spectacular due to the #1 wideout being less than 100%. Although, he did catch a red zone touchdown.
We can only grade off what we’ve seen, and it’s been a bang-average season so far because of the injuries and inconsistencies that have plagued the unit. The potential is there when the group is fully healthy however and a few more weeks like the season opener will see this grade soar into the stratosphere.
Defensive grades continued on the page below.
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports