We are officially 25% of the way through the 2020 NFL season. It feels like only yesterday that we were arguing which wide receiver the Eagles should pick in round 1, and instead we now find ourselves arguing about everything. The Birds are 1-2-1 through 4 games, which is not where anyone expected they’d be, let alone hoped. Is it all doom and gloom? It’s time to get your markers out as we grade the Eagles through their opening stanza.
To kick things off, we’ll place our magnifying glass over the offense.
To say Carson Wentz has been anything other than underwhelming would be a lie. He may have stepped up in a big way against the Niners, but the fundamental flaws that chained him down in the opening 3 weeks were still prevalent. With 7 interceptions through 4 weeks, Wentz has been the league’s least accurate quarterback according to PFF.
You can make the case that his weapons have all fallen injured and the offensive line is bodged together for similar reasons, but from a pure quarterbacking perspective, he’s still been terrible. The good news is that he’s absolutely shown glimpses of playing like the Carson Wentz of old and Doug Pederson seems to have finally worked out that he’s far more effective when on the move, improvising, and delivering damage outside the pocket. For now, we have to call a spade, a spade.
As for Jalen Hurts, all he’s really done is read-option keepers and fumble. Not a great start.
The Eagles really missed Miles Sanders in week one, whose pass protection alone provided a huge boost upon his return. The running backs have struggled to get going this year, but that can be partly attributed to a banged up offensive line.
Miles Sanders hasn’t really made an impact in the passing game but aside from a quieter day against San Francisco, has posted 95+ yards on two occasions. The Eagles need to work out creative ways to get him into open space, especially with the wide receiver depth lacking.
Corey Clement and Boston Scott have also been underwhelming up to this point, although Scott’s huge reception (taken away from him due to a penalty) against San Francisco stands out as a bright point.
There shouldn’t be any concern over this group just yet, but there is a lot of room for improvement.
Allowing 8 sacks in the opening game of the season wasn’t exactly the best start, and the road didn’t ease up in the coming weeks. There was a point against San Francisco where every single starter on the o-line was absent. We have to judge who’s on the field and it has to be said, Jeff Stoutland has done a remarkable job in getting his backups ready.
Nate Herbig and Jordan Mailata have been particular bright spots, while Matt Pryor has had some penalty woes bringing his overall grade down. Stoutland has made all three of these players look competent and serviceable, which given the bigger picture of the season is a huge achievement.
Again, the line hasn’t been great, but it’s been ripped to shreds by injury and has progressively improved as the weeks have gone by when it comes to protecting Carson Wentz.
Jason Peters loses points for demanding a pay-rise to play left tackle, then playing badly and getting injured.
Losing Dallas Goedert was a huge blow to this offense. It became clear in week one that the Eagles seemed intent on utilizing his rare YAC potential.
As for Zach Ertz, his chances of an elite-level deal are diminishing rapidly. A 9-yard game against the Niners when Kittle went off for close to 200 in the same matchup doesn’t help, and in a situation where receiving depth is non-existent, seeing Richard Rodgers pick up 50 yards in 2 games (on half the targets of Ertz) is less than ideal for him.
Rodgers has actually been a really pleasant surprise and lifts this grading up somewhat. We need to see more from Ertz in the second quarter of the season if this offense is to really take off, though.
Injuries (shockingly) have had a huge impact here. The Eagles were down to John Hightower, Travis Fugham, and Greg Ward Jr. on Sunday after 3 weeks of watching the group descend down a slippery slope.
It’s been Ward Jr. who has been the shining light here. Leading the team in receiving yards through 4 games, the slot wideout has continued his growth, picking up where he left off in 2019, adding 146 more yards to his name.
The good news is that Jalen Reagor should be back soon, who enjoyed a fairly strong start to his rookie year, showcasing his raw speed and explosiveness on more than one occasion.
This group should be much easier to grade when DeSean Jackson returns. He has 121 yards to his name and was used in a variety of ways through the opening two weeks, clearly emerging as an early favorite for Wentz.
In the interest of sanity, we won’t mention J.J Arcega-Whiteside.
Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire
Liam is a 25-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.
You can contact him here: Phillysportsnetwork@gmail.com