October 31, 2017
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 remain atop the NFC East at 7-1, with a 3-0 record in the division, and at least a 2.5-game lead on all their division rivals.
Let's hand out individual grades for the second quarter.
QB Carson Wentz: In the second quarter of the season, Wentz was 72 of 117 for 1005 yards, 13 TDs, and 3 INTs, for a passer rating of 115.5. He has vaulted himself into serious MVP consideration and has led his team to the best record in the NFL. Not bad for a second-year guy from an FCS school.
RB LeGarrette Blount: Over the last four games, Blount has 58 carries for 218 yards (3.8 YPC) and a TD. He has had at least 14 carries in each of the last four games. He's not flashy, and he's not going to put up huge numbers, but he has helped give the Eagles' offense a little toughness.
RB Wendell Smallwood: Smallwood missed the Eagles' Week 5 and 6 games against the Cardinals and Panthers, and he had just 9 carries combined against the Redskins and Niners. Is he healthy? In the doghouse? His lack of usage after returning from injury is puzzling.
RB Corey Clement: Clement has had 20 carries for 79 yards over the last four games, and we'll give him bonus points for a great TD catch on Carson Wentz's signature play of the year. Clement has proven to be a nice find in the undrafted free agency phase of the draft.
RB Kenjon Barner: While the Eagles would probably be better served giving Barner's carries to, say, Smallwood, Barner has been good on punt returns, averaging 14.6 yards per return, which is good for second in the NFL.
WR Alshon Jeffery: In the first quarter of the season, Jeffery had 17 catches for 215 yards and 2 TDs. At the time, that put him on pace for 68-860-8, which would be disappointing numbers. His numbers dipped even further in the second quarter of the season, as he caught just 11 passes for 201 yards and 1 TD. On the season as a whole, Jeffery had been targeted 62 times, and he only has 28 receptions.
Jeffery's slow start was perhaps to be expected to some degree, and while he is better than anything the Eagles had at receiver last year, by far, his season has been a disappointment.
WR Torrey Smith: Smith has the one deep 59-yard touchdown against the Cardinals to his credit. And then... nothing. He has four catches over the last four games and none in the last two. While it's fine and good that opposing defenses respect his deep speed, Smith is going to have to make a catch here and there to keep it that way, and he's been non-existent.
WR Nelson Agholor: Agholor had 12 catches for 173 yards and 2 TDs in the first quarter of the season, and made every play you would expect an NFL receiver to make, settling in nicely as the team's slot receiver. But could he remain consistent? In the second quarter of the season, Agholor proved that he could, as he had 15 catches for 219 yards and 3 TDs, including a highlight reel play against Arizona.
WR Mack Hollins: With Torrey Smith not producing, it's only a matter of time before Hollins starts to really take away a big chunk of his snaps. Over the last three games, Hollins has 5 catches for 132 yards, which included a crucial 64-yard TD reception that jump-started a sluggish Eagles offense against the Redskins.
TE Zach Ertz: Ertz has 5 TD receptions over the last four games. He's on pace for 12 TDs this season, which would put him one short of his TD total over the first four years of his career.
TE Trey Burton: We didn't even give Burton a grade during the first quarter of the season because he didn't play much. However, over the second quarter of the season, the Eagles have gotten him more involved, as he has had at least one catch in each of the last four games. Burton has more catches in the last four games than Torrey Smith.
LT Jason Peters: Peters was having an outstanding season when he was lost for the year with a torn ACL and MCL.
LG Stefen Wisniewski: Wis was clearly the better of the Eagles' Wisniewski-Warmack "LG by committee" rotation. The Eagles finally came to their senses and just left him in there for the entirety of the game.
C Jason Kelce: Kelce would probably be in the Pro Bowl if the season ended today, and he'd be deserving. He, like many other Eagles players, has had a surprising bounce-back season.
RG Brandon Brooks: Brooks has simply been a solid player. You don't see much in the way of highlight reel blocks, but he does his job and you never hear his name, which is a great thing.
RT Lane Johnson: Johnson had a shaky outing last week against the Niners, but he has been great this season, as he has had a new tough assignment every week.
OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai: Replacing Jason Peters at offensive tackle is the equivalent of replacing Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. There's no chance you're going to play as well. You just have to try to come close. In his first start at left tackle on Sunday, Vaitai was mostly competent in pass protection, though he did have one bad moment on sack allowed to Leger Douzable. In the run game, Vaitai is downright bad. We'll show that at some point this week.
LG Chance Warmack: The Eagles finally jettisoned that odd "LG by committee" approach.
LG Isaac Seumalo: Seumalo has gotten into games as the tight end in jumbo sets. I'd be a liar if I claimed to watch him closely on those plays.
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