January 10, 2018
In the first quarter of the 2017 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles went 3-1, and as you might imagine, they mostly earned good grades. After a perfect 4-0 second quarter of the season, the Eagles began to look like serious Super Bowl contenders at 7-1. After going 3-1 in the third quarter of the season, losing only to the Seattle Seahawks, they only solidified their immense promise.
And then... Carson Wentz tore his ACL. Still, after Wentz's devastating injury, the Eagles still managed to go 3-1 down the stretch, with their only loss coming in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Let's hand out individual grades for the fourth quarter of the season, and then calculate their cumulative grade point averages. Earlier this week, we looked at the offense. Today we'll look at the defense.
• DE Brandon Graham: Graham was injured during the Eagles' win over the Raiders, and he missed the finale against the Cowboys. In the three games he played, he was a little more quiet than he's been the rest of the season, registering 8 tackles and 1 sack.
• DE Vinny Curry: Curry had a huge forced fumble against the Raiders, that led to a field goal the Eagles desperately needed. Otherwise, he too has been quiet over the last quarter of the season.
• DT Fletcher Cox: Like Curry and Barnett above, Cox didn't have much in the way of production. Part of the lack of production was the quick passing attacks of the Giants and Raiders.
• DT: Timmy Jernigan: While the rest of the Eagles' starters along their defensive line have been quiet, Jernigan has been neraly invisible, posting just four tackles. He can probably use the rest he got Week 17 as well as the week of the bye.
• DE Derek Barnett: Barnett finished 2017 quietly, as he was hampered to some degree with a groin injury. He did have a key blocked PAT against the Giants.
• DE Chris Long: With two sacks and two forced fumbles, Chris Long has been the most productive of the Eagles' pass rushers over the last four games.
• DT Beau Allen: I'm just going to give Beau another B, for Beau, because why not.
• LB Jordan Hicks: Hicks is done for the season with a ruptured Achilles.
• LB Nigel Bradham: Bradham was really active the final quarter of the season. He got the day off Week 17, but in the three games he played, he had 25 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and 4 pass breakups.
• LB Mychal Kendricks: Kendricks was much quieter down the stretch, as he had just 14 tackles. The Eagles could really use some sort of big play from him in the playoffs.
• LB Joe Walker: Walker was placed on IR with a "neck injury" he suffered earlier in the season. There's a reason for that
• CB Ronald Darby: Darby had a really rough day against the Giants, though he did have a big interception in that game. He also had the play of the night against the Raiders, picking off a late 4th quarter pass that led to the game-winning field goal. I know some of you may disagree with Darby's grade, but I'm a sucker for big plays.
• CB Jalen Mills: Stop biting hard on the double moves, Jalen.
• CB Rasul Douglas: Douglas was asked to step in against the Raiders due to injuries, and he received a fair amount of playing time. His name may not have been called once, which is a good thing.
• CB Patrick Robinson: Robinson had a huge interception against the Rams. Over the final four games, he also had 11 tackles, 5 pass breakups, and a sack. What a player he has been for this team.
• CB Jaylen Watkins: With Darby back and healthy safeties, Watkins has been buried on the depth chart.
• CB Sidney Jones: A couple weeks ago, we looked at Sidney Jones' debut, with gifs and stuff. There was some good (speed looked like it was there) and some bad (beaten on double move, bad angle in run game), which is about what you would expect of a talented kid playing in his first game Week 17 after missing the rest of the season before that.
• S Malcolm Jenkins: Jenkins barely played against the Cowboys. In his other three games, Jenkins had 19 tackles, a forced fumble and blocked kick. He had a nice, solid finish to the season.
• S Rodney McLeod: McLeod didn't have the best performance against the Giants, obviously, however, he has been laying the wood a little more down the stretch than he has since he's been in Philly. That's an encouraging sign.
• S Corey Graham: Graham was about the only player in the Eagles secondary who had a good game against the Giants, and he was in great position on the crucial 4th down incomplete pass to Evan Engram in the back of the end zone. He's a quality veteran with playoff experience who can help the Eagles this January.
• S Chris Maragos: Maragos is done for the season with a knee injury.
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