November 05, 2018
The Philadelphia Eagles came into the 2018 season with high expectations, because, you know, they won the Super Bowl last year. Through the first four games, the team got out to a disappointing-but-deserved 2-2 start, and did not look like the powerhouse that they were a year ago.
In the second quarter of the season, the Birds still haven't put it all together, but they are perhaps trending upward due to the stellar play of their outstanding young quarterback.
Let's hand out individual grades at the halfway point of the season, which will be on something of a curve, based on each player's individual roles and expectations:
QB Carson Wentz: Over the last four games, Wentz is 101 of 138 for 1,185 yards (8.6 YPA), 10 TDs, 1 INT, and a QB rating of 120.0. He has also been effective with his legs, rushing 16 times for 71 yards. What he is doing coming off ACL/LCL tears is nothing short of remarkable.
If there's anything to gripe about with Wentz's play, he did miss some opportunities on the Eagles final drive against the Panthers, and of course there are the fumbles, of which he has had five in the last four games.
Even with those gripes, which are valid, Wentz has been fantastic, and he is already a top 5 quarterback very early into his young NFL career.
• QB Nick Foles: Foles has not played since Week 2
• RB Darren Sproles: Sproles has not played since Week 1, but he should be back soon!
• RB Jay Ajayi: Ajayi appeared in one game during the second quarter of the season against the Vikings, but he tore his ACL and is done for the season.
• RB Corey Clement: Clement simply hasn't looked like the same player he was as a rookie, as he has fallen behind Wendell Smallwood on the depth chart. That could be due in part to a quad injury, but in the second quarter of the season, Clement had 23 carries for 55 yards (2.4 YPC) to go along with 6 catches for 41 yards (6.8 YPC).
• RB Wendell Smallwood: Smallwood has been in something of a lead back role after the Birds suffered a number of injuries at the position, as noted above. He has been competent, though certainly unspectacular. Over the last four games, he leads the team with 38 carries for 134 yards (3.5 YPC) and 2 TDs. He also had 8 catches for 91 yards, including a long screen pass for a TD in which he basically just had to run straight to the end zone.
• RB Josh Adams: In a small sample size, Adams looked good as a runner, carrying 9 times for 61 yards (6.8 YPC) against the Jaguars. He was lucky a potentially devastating fumble got overturned in that game.
• WR Alshon Jeffery: Jeffery's numbers aren't eye-popping, but he has made the plays that he should, and has consistently drawn the other team's best corner, like Xavier Rhodes of the Vikings and Jalen Ramsey of the Jaguars. In the last four games, he had 21 catches for 236 yards and 3 TDs.
• WR Mike Wallace: Wallace has not played since breaking his fibula Week 2 against the Bucs. The odds of Wallace returning from IR decreased significantly when the team traded for Golden Tate.
• WR Nelson Agholor: Agholor still only has one touchdown on the season. He had 16 catches for 205 yards over the last four games. While he had some nice moments against the Giants, Agholor has still yet to break out this season like he did a year ago.
• WR Jordan Matthews: Matthews saved his two best performances of the season for the two games right before report cards have come out. In the Eagles' fourth game against the Titans, he had a 56-yard TD catch. Against the Jags last week, he took advantage of the Jags' depleted secondary by catching 4 passes for 93 yards. Otherwise, he's been quiet, but he has given the Eagles more than perhaps most had expected. It will be interesting to see how much improvement the Eagles experience at their No. 2 WR spot once Tate starts taking snaps there.
• WR Kamar Aiken: The Eagles finally released Aiken, six weeks too late.
• WR Shelton Gibson: Doug Pederson insists that there are a handful of plays in the game plan each week for Gibson, but he's only getting on the field for about around five snaps per game. Gibson has speed, but there's just something about him that the offensive staff doesn't trust.
• WR DeAndre Carter: Carter had a good punt return against the Titans, but has been quiet there since.
• TE Zach Ertz: Ertz put up big numbers the first quarter of the season, though there were a few missed opportunities, such as drops and a play in which he was stopped short of the sticks against the Bucs. He also failed to find the end zone in the first four games.
In the last four games, Ertz's numbers are still great (30 for 317), except now he's finding the end zone (3 TDs), and has easily been the Eagles' most consistent weapon in the passing game.
• TE Dallas Goedert: In the second quarter of the season, Goedert had 8 catches for 98 yards, 2 TDs, and he has proven to be a very effective blocker. The Eagles found a player in the second round of the draft. It will be interesting to see if the addition of Tate leads to significantly more 11 personnel looks (it likely will), which could negatively affect Goedert's playing time.
• TE Joshua Perkins: Perkins hasn't played as much after the team added Jordan Matthews.
• OT Jason Peters: Peters has battled through injuries, most notably a torn bicep and a nagging quad. He has struggled just to play the entirety of individual games, and there's an argument to be made that the Eagles would have been better served to just shut him down for a while to allow him to heal. That's no longer an option with Lane Johnson on the shelf. When he's been on the field, he's been about as effective as one could reasonably expect of a 36-year old playing with multiple injuries, including a freaking bicep tear.
• OG Stefen Wisniewski: Wis got benched in favor of Isaac Seumalo, and he wasn't happy about it. While he wasn't bad at LG, in my view, Seumalo has indeed played better there.
• C Jason Kelce: While I don't think that Kelce is 100 percent healthy, he has still has a very good season, despite a lack of highlight reel blocks that we got accustomed to seeing last season.
• RG Brandon Brooks: Like the rest of the Eagles' line, Brooks hasn't been as good as he was a year ago, but certainly, he has still been a very good starting RG.
• RT Lane Johnson: Johnson was beaten by a nobody for a devastating strip sack that led to a fat guy touchdown against the Vikings. I do give him credit for showing a lot of heart, playing through what was reported to be a high ankle sprain. He'll be out for a while with a Grade 2 MCL tear.
• OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai: Vaitai is what he is. He's a guy who can hold his own at either LT or RT, but who will give up more pressure than the starter. That's still a valuable guy to have on the roster.
• OL Isaac Seumalo: Seumalo got off to a very shaky start in his first series as a starter, but he settled in and has played much better. In two different games, Seumalo was asked to slide from his now starting spot at LG out to RT. His versatility has been very valuable to the Eagles this season.
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