Subject: A Tale of Two Carsons: Ten Takeaways from Eagles 34, Cardinals 7
Subject: Eagles-Cardinals Final Score: 13 things we learned from Philadelphia
Big takeaways from the Birds game.
The Philadelphia Eagles are now 4-1 in the 2017 NFL regular season after defeating the Arizona Cardinals by a final score of 31 to 7 (recap here). Three wins in a row! Here’s a look at everything we learned from this game.
1 - The Eagles can play a complete game
Winning close games is important and all, but the mark of a truly good team is one who is able to blow out inferior opponents. That’s exactly what the Eagles did on Sunday as they dominated the Cardinals in all three phrases.
Doug Pederson’s offense looked great. Philadelphia racked up 34 points and 419 yards. 21 of the Eagles’ points were scored in the first quarter alone.
On defense, Jim Schwartz’s unit only allowed seven points despite missing two of the team’s defenders: both Fletcher Cox and Ronald Darby. The Eagles would’ve have logged multiple interceptions on Sunday if their cornerbacks had better hands.b
Dave Fipp’s special teams group is still one of the best in the league. He does such a good job with that unit. The Eagles had a huge punt return (more on that later) and a blocked field goal (more on that later as well).
Just an overall great team win. A total statement game from the Eagles.
2 - Carson Wentz is amazing
11 of 12 (91.7%) for 225 yards (18.8 average), three touchdowns, nine first downs, and a 158.3 passer rating. These were just Wentz’s numbers on third down. Wentz has been unreal in that area. He’s just so clutch in those moments. He sees the field so well and makes the right call. Or, if there’s nothing there, he can always just take off running and move the chains with his legs.
Wentz’s complete game stats: 21/30 (70%), 304 yards (10.1 average), 4 TD, 1 INT, 128.3 passer rating. He also rushed for 11 yards.
Wentz is clearly ahead of where he was at this time last year. He’s making that Year 1 to Year 2 leap that most NFL players make in their career. There’s progression and growth. His accuracy looks improved. He’s racking up all the Air Yards.
Wentz’s success is clearly a great thing for the Eagles’ outlook. It’s terrible news for all his unreasonable critics and doubters out there.
In fairness, Wentz was not perfect on Sunday. The interception he threw was really bad. Can’t turn the ball over in that situation. Even if the Eagles have to kick a field goal, they go up three possessions (17 points) and then get the ball back after the half. It wasn’t the appropriate time to force a tight throw. Wentz also terribly missed a wide open Ertz on third down in the red zone. Completely threw behind him and in the dirt.
In a way, there’s comfort to be had in these mistakes. Because for as good as Wentz played, there’s still room for him to be even better. And given his incredible work ethic and will to win, there’s confidence he’ll correct the things that went wrong moving forward.
Carson Wentz’s 4 passing TDs were the most by an Eagles QB in a single game since Nick Foles’ 7 TD game against Raiders.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 8, 2017
Wentz had the most third-down passing yards and yards per attempt by an Eagle since at least 1991.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 8, 2017
Carson Wentz is the only NFL QB to record multiple games with a perfect passer rating on third down this season. #Eagles— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 8, 2017
Carson Wentz '17 (4-1)— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 9, 2017
3rd Down: 37/52 (71.2%) 6 TDs, 1 INT, 137.8 QB rating
Red Zone: 14/23 7 TDs, 0 INTs, 111.6 QB Rating#FlyEaglesFly
3 - It’s time to really give Doug Pederson some credit
4th-and-8? No, 4 and 1. That’s the Eagles’ record right now and it’s time to give credit to the head coach.
The Eagles have been very well-prepared heading into games this season. Pederson has had his guys ready to go from the jump.
If you’re still not sold, look at these numbers:
The Eagles are tied with Falcons and Patriots for the most 20+ point performances (18) in the NFL since the start of the 2016 season.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 8, 2017
Eagles have scored 20+ points in 9 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 8, 2017
In addition to this consistency, players seem to enjoy playing for Doug. They’re having fun expressing themselves in their touchdown celebrations, which is something Pederson actually encouraged the guys to practice during training camp.
Doug’s done a good job. It’s still relatively early in the season, but the man at least deserves to be in the Coach of the Year conversation.
4 - Nelson Agholor looks like a new player
I always believed in you, Nelson. And now you’re proving me right.
OK, just kidding, I didn’t believe in him at all. But there was great reason not to. He was literally one of the worst wide receivers in the NFL over the past two seasons. And now Agholor is a guy who can do THIS:
Through five games, Agholor now has 16 receptions for 266 yards (16.6 average) and three touchdowns. He’s clearly on pace for his best season yet.
The Eagles’ 2015 first-round pick has been a great option for Wentz in the slot. He’s not the volume target that Jordan Matthews is, but he’s much more explosive. The Eagles really aren’t missing JMatt at all.
5 - Patrick Robinson has been such a pleasant surprise
Patrick Robinson looked awful in Eagles training camp. It wasn’t just me who thought this, either. A number of media types thought he was having the worst camp of any player. Even Robinson admitted he was really struggling.
But he’s really rebounded in a big way. And it’s not just because he’s playing in the position he’s best suited for: the nickel cornerback role. On Sunday against the Cardinals, the Eagles used Robinson on the outside a good amount. He was in position to make multiple interceptions. Unfortunately, he dropped them, but still ... he was pretty great in coverage.
Now’s a good time to remind you the Eagles signed him for the mere cost of $1 million. Tremendous bargain signing.
6 - Larry Fitzgerald isn’t an Eagles Killer anymore
Well, at least he wasn’t on Sunday. Fitz only had six receptions for 51 yards and zero touchdowns. Two catches and 20 yards came on the final drive of the game, which was pure garbage time production.
In his last two games against the Eagles, Fitzgerald only has nine receptions for 94 yards. Take out the garbage time numbers and it’s seven for 74. The 34-year-old is not the Eagles Killer he once was. I declare his reign over.
7 - Kenjon Barner is the unsung hero of this game
Back when the Eagles re-signed Barner, I was optimistic about his chances of contributing to the team’s return game.
Barner helps Eagles return game— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) September 27, 2017
2016 KR: 9 for 277, 30.8 avg
2016 preseason KR: 3 for 96, 32.0
2015 preseason PR: 13 for 223, 17.2, 2 TD
Barner rewarded my faith with three punt returns on Sunday for a total of 110 yards. His longest of the day went for 76. Barner might not be some exceptional talent but he has familiarity with Fipp’s scheme and he seems to have picked up a thing or two from his mentor, Darren Sproles.
But it wasn’t like Barner only contributed on his returns. He also had five carries for 23 yards (4.6 average) on the ground. And he drew a 16-yard pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles are fortunate that the Chargers cut Barner this summer. He’s a nice role-player to have.
8 - Another great game for the defensive line
The Eagles only had two sacks but they were pressuring Carson Palmer all game long. If the cornerbacks could catch, I’d be saying the line pressured Palmer into throwing multiple picks.
When it came to run defense, Graham was a monster. He had three tackles for loss. Curry and Jernigan also logged one each.
The Eagles held Arizona to 31 yards on the ground for a 2.2 average. If you take out J.J. Nelson’s 14-yard jet sweep, Cardinals running backs combined for a mere 17 yards on 13 carries (1.3 average).
9 - The secondary stepped up
I talked about Robinson’s performance earlier. He could’ve had like three interceptions if he had better hands. Jalen Mills also dropped a potential pick, though in fairness John Brown did a great job of playing defense and breaking it up.
I thought Malcolm Jenkins quietly played a very good game. He deserves credit for holding Fitzgerald to a meager performance.
No one will be mistaking the Eagles’ secondary for the best in the league anytime soon, but they played pretty well. Now imagine when Ronald Darby returns.
10 - The Lane Johnson injury looms large
Johnson suffered a head injury during the Eagles-Cardinals game and did not return to the game. Jeff McLane reports the injury is indeed a concussion. If that’s true, Johnson will have to pass through the NFL’s mandatory concussion protocol before he can suit up. He might not be ready in time for the Eagles’ Thursday night game against the Carolina Panthers. Even if he thinks he’s ready to play, it doesn’t matter. It’s not his call. He has to be cleared by an independent doctor.
The good news is that Halapoulivaati Vaitai seemed to play well in his absence. The bad news is he’s no Lane Johnson.
Stay tuned for more updates on Johnson’s situation as Pederson addresses reporters on Monday.
11 - The offensive line is still mashing people
You have to love the way this Eagles offensive line is performing. Wentz was only sacked once. According to PFF, the Eagles have the NFL’s best pass protection unit since Isaac Seumalo was benched.
Eagles O-line:— PFF PHI Eagles (@PFF_Philly) October 9, 2017
Pass Block Efficiency
Weeks 1-2: 79.0
NFL rank: 16
Weeks 3-5: 90.6
NFL rank: 1
The run game has obviously been awesome as well. Against a tough Cardinals run defense, Philly running backs gained 114 yards on 26 carries (4.4 average).
The only complaint I have about this offensive line is the dumb left guard rotation. It’s just so unnecessary. The Eagles’ offense was playing well on Sunday. They had three straight scoring drives with Stefen Wisniewski starting ... and then Chance Warmack took over and drives suddenly started to stall. The rotation is so forced and unnecessary.
A holding penalty on Warmack late in the game wiped out a rushing touchdown. The game was virtually over, but come on. Just get Chance out of there.
12 - LeGarrette Blount has been surprisingly good
Blount finished with 74 yards on 14 carries against the Cardinals. His longest run of the day was for 37. The offensive line deserves a ton of credit for opening a huge hole for him, but Blount is able to generate his own yards once he’s in the open field because people can’t tackle him very easily. It’s just really fun to watch defenders bounce off of him and he continues to keep his legs moving and pick up extra yards. It must be really demoralizing for a defense to have to go up against a player like that.
Crazy but true: LeSean McCoy hasn't scored this season and has fewer rushing yards (216) than Blount (249).— Patrickortreat Wall (@ByPatrickWall) October 9, 2017
LeGarrette Blount has 277 yards on 42 carries the past three weeks (6.60 YPC), and leads all RBs in PFF Elusive Rating.— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) October 8, 2017
13 - The Eagles gained a buffer in the NFC East
The Eagles now have two more wins than the second place team, the Washington Redskins, in the NFC East.
1 - Eagles | Overall: 4-1 | Conference: 3-0 | Division: 2-0
2 - Washington | Overall: 2-2 | Conference: 1-1 | Division: 0-1
3 - Cowboys | Overall: 2-3 | Conference: 1-2 | Division: 1-0
4 - Giants | Overall: 0-5 | Conference: 0-4 | Division: 0-2
That’s a nice little buffer to have, especially with the Eagles having a tough road game against the 4-1 Carolina Panthers coming up on Thursday night.
Right now, it’s hard not to feel pretty good about this Eagles team. They’re 4-1 and they haven’t even hit their ceiling yet. Wentz is still developing. Cox and Darby will be returning from injury at some point. Sidney Jones might be on the way as well.
Beating the Panthers would be incredible. That’d put the Eagles at 5-1 with 10 days to prepare for a Josh Norman-less Washington team in Week 7. Winning in Carolina won’t be easy, but you can’t say the Eagles don’t have a shot. The Birds are a good football team.
Subject: Eagles vs. Cardinals snap count analysis: Patrick Robinson plays well in increased role
Playing time tracker.
Alshon Jeffery played the most snaps of any wide receiver but only had three receptions for 31 yards.
The Eagles are still doing their rotation at left guard. Just like last week, this was roughly 60% Stefen Wisniewski and 40% Chance Warmack.
With Wendell Smallwood out, LeGarrette Blount played the most snaps of any Eagles running back. Corey Clement’s playing time just by 10% from last week. Kenjon Barner played a quarter of the Eagles’ snaps in his first offensive action with the team this year.
Trey Burton and Marcus Johnson didn’t play much but they made some worthwhile contributions. Burton had two receptions for six yards and a touchdown. Johnson had a six yard reception that moved the chains in the red zone.
Patrick Robinson’s playing time increased from 56% in Week 4 to 77% in this game. The Eagles were using him more often on the outside, which meant less playing time for Rasul Douglas. The third-round rookie corner only played 33% of the snaps after playing 100% in Week 4. The Cardinals have a lot of speed at wide receiver and Douglas isn’t the fastest guy so it seems like this was a matchup based decision. Robinson obviously played very well against Arizona. The Eagles rotating their corners isn’t a new thing. They often did this with Leodis McKelvin and Jalen Mills last season.
Corey Graham returned from missing two games and played 67% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps. This allowed Jenkins to move down to the slot to man up against Larry Fitzgerald. Jenkins held Fitzgerald to three catches for 31 yards prior to the Arizona’s final drive, when he had two receptions for 20 yards in garbage time.
K Jake Elliott - 13 - 46%
P Donnie Jones - 9 - 32%
LS Rick Lovato - 9 - 32%
LB Joe Walker - 6 - 21%
Elliott hasn’t missed a kick since nailing that 61-yarder against the Giants. He’ll likely never miss again.
DID NOT PLAY
The following player(s) were active but did not play: Nick Foles.
Subject: Ruben Amaro Jr. As The Next Phillies Manager?
Subject: The Eagles-Browns trade for Carson Wentz keeps looking better
1 win since passing on Wentz at 2
On Sunday the Browns benched DeShone Kizer for Kevin Hogan. If Hogan starts next week (or whenever he eventually starts), he will be the fifth different starter for the Browns since the start of last season, two of whom have been Browns draft picks. The Browns are 1-20 since deciding to pass on Carson Wentz.
Neither their means nor their ends have been justified.
Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta, who never worked in football prior to being hired as Cleveland’s front office #2, justified passing on Wentz because they were convinced he would never be even a top 20 quarterback:
I think the hardest part, and where we have to stay the most disciplined, as much as you want a player, you can't invent him if he doesn't exist. In a given year, there may be two or three NFL-ready quarterbacks at the college level. In another year, there literally may be zero. There just may be not be anybody in that year who's good enough to be a top 20 quarterback in the NFL.
Even though you have a desperate need for one, you have to resist the temptation of taking that guy just because you have a need if you don't believe he's one of those 20 guys at the end of the day. I think that's the hardest part, just maintaining your discipline because you have the need. That's what we did this year.
DePodesta’s overall point is fair: teams reach for QBs nearly every year and drafting a position high just because you need someone is a terrible strategy.
But Cleveland’s front office, the third iteration in the five full seasons that Jimmy Haslam has owned the Browns, doesn’t have the luxury of taking the view from 40,000 feet. They specifically passed on Wentz on 2016 because they didn’t think he would be any good, and on Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in 2017 because they thought they weren’t good value. Trubisky makes his debut tonight, Mahomes looked terrific in the preseason but as the backup on the only undefeated team in the league is going to have to wait his turn, while Watson is looking like the next big thing. Meanwhile the quarterbacks the Browns did take because they were “good value” have both been benched: despite a decent season in 2016, Cody Kessler lost his job in the offseason to Kizer, who has now lost his job to Hogan.
The argument that the Browns were right to pass on a QB high and focus on building up the team around the position first, as Browns legal counsel turned Executive Vice President of Football Operations explains, has always been weak.
High-value draft picks in the first couple rounds are tremendously valuable. We have a long way to go to get our roster where it needs to be. We understand that and so this is a great opportunity to add a player and add another player next year that we hope, again, will be another impact player for us. So it's really for us a two-for-one and where we're coming from on our roster that's valuable.
The Browns roster is no doubt terrible, but that’s in part to having a carousel of terrible quarterbacks.
-The Browns offense in 2016, sans QB, was just as untalented as the Eagles, who had the worst skill position players in the league. The Browns offensive line wasn’t as good as the Eagles, but it wasn’t a liability either. And Wentz’s mobility is a big asset. The Eagles supporting cast was at best on par with the Browns in 2016, and that clearly didn’t ruin Wentz.
-They still drafted a QB in 2016, and gave him 8 starts. If you were so worried about the supporting cast getting a QB killed, you’d completely punt on one in the draft and have a depth chart of veterans to get you through the season, like the Jets are doing this year. They didn’t. The Browns felt they would be smarter than everyone else and take Cody Kessler in the 3rd round. If you want to be really reactionary, they graded Cody Kessler higher than Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott. Kessler has spent the 2017 season inactive.
-Talent changes hands often in the NFL. The Eagles have four new starters on offense this year, as many as the Browns. Tanking in the NFL can work, but there’s little need to do it for multiple years when there is a QB staring you in the face. Upgrades to help out your young QB on a bad team are readily available in free agency, especially when you have as much cap space as the Browns.
And then there is the return in the trade to consider. The Eagles supposedly “gave up the farm” or “mortgaged the future” when they traded for Wentz, which ignores that without a QB there is no future for an NFL team. In the trade for Wentz and subsequent trades of some of those picks, the Browns received Corey Coleman, Shon Coleman, Cody Kessler, Derrick Kindred, Spencer Drango, Ricardo Lewis, and Jordan Payton in 2016, and Jabrill Peppers and DeShone Kizer in 2017, and have a 1st (from Houston for Deshaun Watson) and 2nd (from Philadelphia) in 2018. Both the Colemans, Kindred, and Peppers are starters. Kessler and Kizer have been benched, Payton is out of the league. The rest are situational players at best. It’s not quite the opposite of the Hershel Walker trade, but it’s not too far off. The Browns got a mud farm and a reverse mortgage, the Eagles and Texans got the future. The Browns process has always been broken. They visit Watson and the Texans on Sunday to further drive home the point.
At least they’ll be in position to pass on another quarterback in the draft again. Well, maybe not Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta. History says they’ll be fired by then, and it will be justified.
Subject: Bird Droppings: Bombs Away
Subject: Lane Johnson Injury: Eagles preparing to play without starting right tackle
Well, this sucks.
Lane Johnson suffered a concussion during the Eagles’ Week 5 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. It seems unlikely he’ll suit up for Philadelphia’s Week 6 game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football.
“Right now he’s in the [NFL’s mandatory concussion] protocol,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed on Monday. “And so I’ll get more information this afternoon when the players come in and meet with the doctors. But that’s where he’s at coming out of the football game.”
Since Johnson suffered a concussion, he must be independently cleared before he can return to action. Here’s what Pederson had to say when asked if it’s even possible for Johnson to be cleared in time for Thursday’s game:
“It’s tough, based on the protocol and what the players have to go through. So, again, I’ll find out more this afternoon. But it’s hard … on a short week.”
So are the Eagles preparing to play with Johnson?
“Going forward, kind of have to. Again, on a short week like this, players will be in today and we’ve got to work today, obviously, and this afternoon and this evening. I have to plan that way, going into this game.”
As Eagles fans are well aware, Johnson is such a critical part of the team’s success. He’s a force at right tackle. According to Pro Football Focus, he’s only allowed five pressures in 193 total pass block snaps. That rate ranks third best in the NFL among offensive tackles.
The Eagles are 9-2 in their last 11 games when Johnson has played. They are 2-8 in the last 10 games he’s missed.
With Johnson out, the Eagles are expected to start Halapoulivaati Vaitai in his place. The man they call Big V has made six career starts and played in 11 total games since being selected by Philadelphia in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Vaitai got off to a rough start as a rookie but then he started to settle in a little. The team is high on him; they use Big V as an extra blocker in some special situations.
Vaitai had to fill in for Johnson for the second half of the Eagles-Cardinals game. Pederson was encouraged by what he saw:
“Big V came in and started the third quarter. We went down and got the points right away. Played good. Played solid. He’s one that, the more he plays, the better he gets, obviously. Even on a short week, for him, not getting a ton of reps at tackle, to come in off the bench like he does, it’s just a tribute to the way he prepares himself and the way he battles and gets better every time he gets out there.”
According to PFF, Vaitai didn’t allow a single pressure (sack, hit, or hurry) in pass protection. That’s good.
Vaitai is typically the Eagles’ top backup at either tackle position. So with him starting instead, it’s going to be Isaac Seumalo as the swing tackle this week.
Seumalo opened the season as the team’s starting left guard before getting benched in Week 3. The Eagles have kept him as a healthy scratch since Week 4 but now he’ll likely be active again. Seumalo has some college experience at tackle and also made one start there against the Ravens in 2016.
Johnson missing this game is a tough blow for the Eagles since the 4-1 Panthers seem to be hitting their stride. It’s going to be difficult to go down to Carolina and get a win.
The good news is that the Eagles will have 10 days off before they play the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. One would think Johnson will be back in time for that NFC East matchup.
Johnson might’ve even been ready to play this week if the game was on Sunday. Just another reminder that Thursday Night Football sucks.
Subject: Odell Beckham Injury: Giants wide receiver officially out for season
Tough year for the G-Men.
Odell Beckham Jr. will not suit up again this year. Ben McAdoo confirmed the New York Giants’ star wide receiver is out for the season after suffering a fractured ankle injury in Week 5. Beckham is set to have surgery this week.
The Beckham injury is a major blow to a Giants team that was already among the league’s worst teams. New York is 0-5 through their first five games of the 2017 NFL season. It’ll be hard to win many more games this year without the team’s best player.
There’s a long-term angle to the Beckham injury as well. This situation complicates his future with the team regarding his contract desires. For a more detailed breakdown, check out this post from SB Nation.
Making matters tougher on the Giants this season is that a number of their other receivers got hurt during their loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Dwayne Harris, like Beckham, suffered a season-ending injury. Sterling Shepard is expected to miss a few weeks with an ankle injury and Brandon Marshall could miss some time with an ankle sprain.
The Giants are serious contenders for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The only other two winless teams are the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns. The 49ers have played some close games, though, so it might just come down to the Browns and the G-Men.
New York desperately needs, well, a lot of things, but an heir to long-time franchise quarterback Eli Manning, who turns 37 in January, is certainly near the top of the list. The 2018 draft class is expected to potentially feature some intriguing quarterback prospects, such as Sam Darnold (if he leaves school).
At this point, the Philadelphia Eagles should be hoping the Giants win some meaningless games in order to hurt their draft position. But if the worst case scenario involves getting to see the Giants lose a lot more games, that’s not so awful in the short-term.
The Eagles defeated the Giants in Week 3 this season; shoutout to Jake Elliott for his 61-yard game-winning field goal. The two teams will meet again in Week 15 on Dec. 17 at MetLife Stadium.
Subject: The Eagles Defense and an Appetite for Destruction
Subject: Eagles-Cardinals PFF Grades: Carson Wentz somehow not among Philadelphia
Best and worst of the Eagles-Cardinals game.
Pro Football Focus releases the top five graded players from each team after every single NFL game. Here’s what PFF had to say about the Philadelphia Eagles following their Week 5 win against the Arizona Cardinals.
CB Patrick Robinson, 91.5 overall grade
DE Timmy Jernigan, 87.2 overall grade
DE Vinny Curry, 85.6 overall grade
LB Jordan Hicks, 85.5 overall grade
S Malcolm Jenkins, 83.5 overall grade
Hmmmmmm ... I feel like someone is missing from that list! You know, that guy who threw four touchdowns and had a 128.3 passer rating on Sunday?
So Wentz didn’t make the top five, but PFF included a blurb on him in their game review.
QB Carson Wentz, 79.0 overall grade
A near flawless display from Wentz, with the only blot on his copy book a couple of errant throws on the final drive of the first half that saw him first have an interception dropped, before turning it over on the next play. But in the grand scheme of things, minor gripes, and Wentz (who was ably protected, with pressure on just 10-of-35 drop backs), was able to make a number of big plays that the Cardinals never recovered from. He ended the day with just five completions over 10 yards in the air, but his lofted pass to Nelson Agholor demonstrated just how devastating he is when moving the ball downfield.
PFF’s write-up is less critical than the grade might make it seem. With that said, it’s confusing how the grade ends up being what is when you compare it to other quarterbacks.
PFF reserves the right to adjust their grades after watching All-22 and going through a more thorough review process. In the meantime, though, Wentz’s grade just doesn’t seem to match up with what we all saw on the field.
I’m not saying PFF is inherently biased against Wentz, because they’ve been generous to him when I thought they should’ve been harsher (Week 3 review), but this latest grade is a head-scratcher. Wentz wasn’t completely flawless against the Cards but the good so clearly outweighed the bad.
Robinson has now finished in the top five in every week this season except one. He’s been pretty good.
Just imagined what this grade would be if Robinson could catch? Carson Palmer kept testing Robinson, and the former Saint and Charger had no problem passing it. He was thrown at nine times, broke up three balls and surrendered just 80 yards (with the majority of those in garbage time). Just imagine what this grade would be if Robinson could catch? Carson Palmer kept testing Robinson, and the former Saint and Charger had no problem passing it. He was thrown at nine times, broke up three balls and surrendered just 80 yards (with the majority of those in garbage time).
This review didn’t even mention his field goal block, which ensured a 14-point lead for the Eagles heading into halftime.
But indeed, Robinson’s performance would’ve been even better if was able to hold on to at least one of the three interceptions he dropped.
Despite that, Robinson is now PFF’s No. 1 graded cornerback in the entire NFL. That’s pretty crazy. He’s definitely not the best corner in the NFL, obviously, but he’s played pretty well. Kudos to him.
As I wrote about last week, the man with the gold teeth has been having a great season.
No Fletcher Cox, no problem. Jernigan was particularly disruptive in the first half where no body on the Cardinals interior could handle him. He finished with two tackles for a loss and was constantly disruptive.
Jernigan ranks eighth out of 124 interior defenders this season. He’s been very good in run defense and he’s also able to generate pressure from the interior as well. He might even be more productive when Cox returns. The two of them combine to form a formidable pair of defensive tackles.
They gotta find a way to re-sign this guy.
Curry had four solo tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, and one QB hit in Sunday’s game. He did a good job of regularly getting pressure on Carson Palmer. This is to be expected since he was going up against a second team left tackle and a third team left guard. Still, he took care of business.
Curry ranks 22nd out of 104 edge rushers this season. He’s generated 13 pressures in 118 pass rush snaps. More surprisingly, he ranks sixth in run stop percentage. That was an area to be considered Curry’s weakness but he’s shown progress there.
Hicks has quietly had a quiet season — for his standards, at least. He didn’t have a particularly splashy day against the Cardinals (four tackles, three solo) but somehow he ended up in the top five.
I wrote about Jenkins’ performance earlier today:
Corey Graham returned from missing two games and played 67% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps. This allowed Jenkins to move down to the slot to man up against Larry Fitzgerald. Jenkins held Fitzgerald to three catches for 31 yards prior to the Arizona’s final drive, when he had two receptions for 20 yards in garbage time.
Jenkins also had a part in Robinson’s field goal block.
Shot 15 - Malcolm Jenkins helps set up Pat Robinson's FGB. Wing can't lay a finger on PRob because of Malcolm's effort. Big hit on KO too! pic.twitter.com/35Dx2xNBLS— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) October 9, 2017
During his press conference last week, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was extremely effusive of Jenkins.
I still think that when we get to full strength, that's something that we can benefit from is him playing down because he is good in some of those matchups. With a 3-1 start and everything that's gone on, I think Malcolm's play has sort of flown below the radar. He doesn't have interceptions or sacks and things like that, but he's played consistent football. Early on, talking about some of our positions where we're striving to get consistency, you can scratch Malcolm off of that list. He's played very consistently and he's also had to handle a lot of different situations from, losing his running mate at safety next to him, plugging another guy in, and plugging another guy in. There hasn't -- he's taken a lot on himself to stay productive and I think he's playing at a higher level than I've ever seen him play, and that says an awful lot because he's been a good player in this league for a long time.
Eagles starting right tackle Lane Johnson earned a mention in PFF’s recap.
Another good performance from Johnson who turned his 33 snaps into the highest grade on the offensive line. The problem of course was the head injury that saw him leave the game and meant Halapoulivaati Vaitai entered the game. If Johnson is to miss time then Vatai is a guy we’ll be seeing more of, so it was heartening for Eagles fans to see his performance go largely unnoticed (in a good way). He ended the day with no hurries allowed and a 71.7 grade.
Johnson ranks third among offensive tackles in pass protection this season. He ranks tied for fourth out of 69 tackles graded by PFF this season. (Jason Peters, meanwhile, is second.)
Subject: UPDATE: Joel Embiid Has Signed a Five-Year, $148 Million Extension
Subject: T.J. McConnell Continues To Be The Man
Subject: Vikings vs. Bears: How to watch Monday Night Football, game info, live streaming, odds, more
Watch MNF here.
The Vikings are 2-2. They looked pretty good in Week 1 before Sam Bradford missed the next three games with a knee injury. Now Bradford is back. I’m more interested in seeing how Sammy Sleeves fares after this game than he does during it. Is that knee gonna be a long-term issue? (Probably.)
The Bears are 1-3. They benched Mike Glennon so Mitchell Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, is starting for them now. Chicago has played decently at home this year so maybe they can not get blown out.
The Eagles will play the Bears later this season in Week 12.
Find everything you need to know about tonight's game below.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears TV Schedule
Game time: 8:30 PM EST
Date: Monday, October 9
Announcers: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
Location: Soldier Field | Chicago, Illinois
Online Streaming: WatchESPN
Minnesota Vikings -4.5 (-105)
Chicago Bears +4.5 (-115)
Open thread: discuss Monday night’s game in the comments below.
Subject: New Shirts Available
Subject: Eagles release
Update on the Eagles’ injury situation.
The Philadelphia Eagles released their first injury report on Monday in advance of their Week 6 game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night. Note that the Eagles held a walkthrough today. This practice report is an estimation.
Three players did not practice: starting cornerback Ronald Darby, starting right tackle Lane Johnson, and running back Wendell Smallwood. Darby could be a week or so away from returning. Johnson suffered a concussion and is unlikely to play on Thursday. Smallwood not practicing on Monday doesn’t seem like a good sign for his playing chances. The Eagles will likely be relying on the trio of LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement, and Kenjon Barner yet again.
Four players were limited: starting defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, defensive tackle Beau Allen, defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao, and defensive end Chris Long. It seems like a positive sign that Cox was limited considering he’s been out since getting hurt in Week 3. Maybe he has a chance to play in this week’s game. The Eagles’ defense could sure use him.
Four players were full participants in practice: starting safety Rodney McLeod, starting linebacker Jordan Hicks, safety Corey Graham, and safety Jaylen Watkins. No concerns here. It’s a little interesting how Watkins fully participated all last week but was listed questionable and did not play in Week 5. Maybe he’ll be back this week.
Philadelphia Eagles Injury Report (Monday)
Did Not Participate
CB Ronald Darby (ankle)
OT Lane Johnson (concussion)
RB Wendell Smallwood (knee)
DT Fletcher Cox (calf)
DT Beau Allen (foot)
DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist)
DE Chris Long (foot)
S Rodney McLeod (hamstring)
LB Jordan Hicks (ankle)
S Corey Graham (hamstring)
S Jaylen Watkins (hamstring)
Carolina Panthers Injury Report (Monday)
Same deal as the Eagles: the Panthers released an “estimated” injury report on Monday. A lot of Panthers players were missing from the practice.
Did Not Participate
DE Mario Addison (knee)
S Kurt Coleman (knee)
Demetrious Cox (ankle)
WR Devin Funchess (knee)
C Ryan Kalil (neck)
OT Matt Kalil (ankle)
C Tyler Larsen (shoulder)
DE Julius Peppers (shoulder)
RB Jonathan Stewart ankle)
CB Daryl Worley (ankle)
QB Cam Newton (shoulder)
Subject: Sam Bradford benched: Hobbled Vikings quarterback replaced by Case Keenum
Sammy Sleeves isn’t looking so swell.
Bradford’s benching wasn’t unrelated to injury; the oft-injured passer just did not look functional on the field. He was sacked five times in the first half, including once where he held the ball too long in his own end zone for a safety. Bradford exited the game 5 of 11 for 36 yards (3.3 average) and a 53.6 passer rating.
The Vikings started Bradford on Monday night for the first time since he started experiencing pain in his knee in Week 2. Bradford played really well in Week 1 but he missed the Vikings’ next three games before returning in Chicago.
It’ll never not be crazy to think about how the Philadelphia Eagles got a 2017 first-round pick (which became Derek Barnett) ... AND a 2018 fourth-round selection in exchange for Bradford. Incredible job by Howie Roseman on that one.
The Vikings’ ceiling is obviously limited with Keenum. The journeyman passer is 10-17 as a starter. Minnesota’s misfortune is Philadelphia’s gain for two main reasons: 1) the Vikings losing makes the fourth-round pick they owe the Eagles better and 2) it makes the Vikings less of a threat in the NFC playoff picture.
As for Sammy Sleeves, it sucks for him that he can’t stay healthy. It might be time for him to seriously consider retirement, which he reportedly did in the past.
Subject: NFL Power Rankings 2017: Week 6 Edition
Ranking all 32 NFL Teams.
Week 5 of the 2017 NFL regular season schedule is in the books. Now it's time to see where all 32 teams rank. For reference purposes, here is a link to last week's NFL Power Rankings.
BLG's WEEK 6 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 - Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 1) - Still the only remaining undefeated team in the National Football League. Andy Reid is heckuva coach.
Aaron Rodgers looked like Carson Wentz on that drive.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 8, 2017
3 - Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 8) - The Eagles are 4-1 and their only loss has come against the NFL’s sole remaining undefeated team. And that game was in Kansas City and the Chiefs had the benefit of extra rest. Philadelphia owns the best point differential in the NFC. Carson Wentz is playing well. The defensive line is preventing the secondary from being as bad as it could be. Dave Fipp’s special teams unit is still great. The Eagles are a legitimately good team. It’s just a matter of how good. Big test this week in Carolina.
5 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 15) - Cam Newton struggled early this season but he’s really hitting a groove now that he’s further removed from his shoulder injury. The Panthers are looking closer to their 2015 selves than their 2016 selves.
7 - Detroit Lions (LW: 2) - The Lions scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to try to stage a comeback but it wasn’t enough.
9 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 11) - Seattle’s defense is looking good again.
10 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 4) - What are you doing, Steelers? Big Ben typically plays so well at home. Five interceptions? Geez.
11 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 5) - Buffalo needed more out of the offense in Cincy. They didn’t get it.
12 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 9) - The Rams aren’t quite ready to take control of the NFC West just yet.
13 - Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 21) - The Jags continue to screw up my power rankings. One week they’re impressive, the next week they’re not. And then they are again. Make up your mind, Jacksonville. Five interceptions against Ben Roethlisberger seems pretty good, though.
15 - Houston Texans (LW: 12) - The good news is Deshaun Watson continues to impress. The bad news is the Texans have lost J.J. Watt for the season. That really sucks, man. Watt did such an awesome job raising MILLIONS of dollars for Hurricane Harvey relief.
16 - Minnesota Vikings (LW: 18) - Sam Bradford, who is clearly not healthy, looked awful and got benched for Case Keenum. Minnesota’s ceiling is limited with him but at least he’s functional, unlike Sammy Sleeves.
17 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 13) - Despite some generous calls from the refs, the Cowboys choked away the lead they took late in the game. The Dallas defense has some serious issues; they’ve allowed the fourth most points in the NFL.
Throw this GIF into the hall of fame pic.twitter.com/R6CVba6e3j— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) October 8, 2017
18 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 23) - Baltimore bounced back from a bad loss in Week 4. Going up against E.J. Manuel made life easier on them.
19 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 19) - Bye week. Now they get the Lions at home.
20 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 25) - Cincy has really rebounded since firing their offensive coordinator after Week 2. Nice win over a Bills team that has been playing well.
21 - New York Jets (LW: 24) - The Jets have won three games! If they somehow beat the Patriots, they’ll be first in the AFC East. Madness!
22 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 16) - For the most part, Jameis Winston looked pretty awful on Thursday night. Dirk Koetter wasn’t much better. They were facing an awful defense and only managed 14 points. At least they have a new kicker, which will obviously solve everything now.
23 - Oakland Raiders (LW: 17) - The Raiders have now lost three in a row. Derek Carr could be returning this week, so that’s good for them. They should be able to rebound against the Chargers. But Carr’s back injury is still something to monitor ... those things tend to linger.
25 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 20) - Tennessee is hopeless without Marcus Mariota. They better hope he’s ready to play next Monday night.
26 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 28) - The Bolts are on the board with a win. All it took was facing the second worst team in the NFL.
27 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 22) - The oldest team in the NFL is showing their age. The Cardinals got absolutely dominated in all three phases on Sunday in Philadelphia. Just not a good team.
29 - Chicago Bears (LW: 26) - The Mitchell Trubisky era is off to a poor start. He looked overwhelmed in his first NFL action. The moment was clearly too big for him. In other news, the Bears ran this cool two-point conversion play:
30 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 29) - Another close game for the 49ers. That’s encouraging, but they’ve still yet to win a game this season.
31 - New York Giants (LW: 30) - The 0-5 Giants are a mess. Odell Beckham Jr. is done for the season. Brandon Marshall is done for the season. They’re down to Roger Lewis, Tavarres King, and “Travis Rudolph” at wide receiver. Seriously, those are the only three healthy receivers on their roster right now. New York is a serious contender for the No. 1 pick. Remember when people were picking the G-Men to win the division?
The Browns are 1-20 since deciding to pass on Carson Wentz: https://t.co/ytwTsrf1Zu— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 9, 2017
Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: Eastern Standard Time is a beautiful thing
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*Oh sweet, sweet Eastern Time Zone hockey. You’ve been missed. It’s been far too long. We’ve got the reigning Western Conference champs the Nashville Predators tonight at the blissfully reasonable time of 8PM. Here’s what the Flyers need to do to pick up a win. [Flyers]
*If you’re a subscriber to The Athletic, Corey Pronman’s latest is a deep-dive into what scouts think of Morgan Frost’s skating abilities. Good stuff. [The Athletic]
*And even if you are not a subscriber (which you should be, it’s cool), you can still read Charlie’s very cool breakdown of advanced stats and how to use them. [The Athletic]
*The Flyers acquired another goalie for the Phantoms yesterday. Which seems like bad news for Anthony Stolarz’s future. [Phantoms]
*Let’s check in on the kids, shall we? [NBC Sports Philly]
*The Flyers had a pretty good start to the season so far and a big reason for that has been their third period dominance. We have conditioning to thank for that. [Courier-Post]
*And finally, let’s take a look around the league with DGB. He’s probably the best tour guide. [Sportsnet]
Subject: Eagles News: Malcolm Jenkins responds to Jerry Jones
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/10/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Malcolm Jenkins: I'd hold anthem demonstration even if team's owner forbid it - NBC Sports Philadelphia
"Well, my first reaction is that I'm grateful that Jeffrey Lurie not only did not express those kinds of feelings but has proactively been in the community and has reached out to try and hear about the issues that we are actually demonstrating to draw attention to," Jenkins told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn. "If [Lurie] were to put out such a statement I'd continue my demonstration because my demonstration is in no way disrespectful to our flag, our country or our service members. Neither is anybody in the league who is kneeling. I think we've made that very clear that what we are demonstrating about has nothing to do with the flag but everything to do with social injustice, racial inequality and the things that, you know, Jerry Jones and other owners who are making statements have yet to address.
Eagles-Cardinals Final Score: 13 things we learned from Philadelphia’s win over Arizona - BGN
Wentz is clearly ahead of where he was at this time last year. He’s making that Year 1 to Year 2 leap that most NFL players make in their career. There’s progression and growth. His accuracy looks improved. He’s racking up all the Air Yards. Wentz’s success is clearly a great thing for the Eagles’ outlook. It’s terrible news for all his unreasonable critics and doubters out there.
Eagles Finally Play A Complete Game - BGNRadio.com
John Barchard, James Seltzer, and Vince Quinn break down a dominant Eagles 34-7 victory over the Cardinals. The guys discuss Carson Wentz nailing some deep balls, the importance of having offensive weapons around him, another stellar showing from the defensive line, and much more.
Eagle Eye: A Statement Game For Carson Wentz - PE.com
Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals was a complete team victory, with all three sides of the ball making huge plays in the game. I'm going to look at the defense tomorrow, and I’ll jump on special teams later in this piece, but let’s not bury the lead. This was a statement game for quarterback Carson Wentz. I thought he had one of his best performances as an Eagle last week against the Chargers, and he followed that up with a great outing on Sunday that included four touchdown throws, making him the youngest quarterback since Donovan McNabb to throw for four scores in a game. Let’s take a look at those plays and see how they happened.
Carson Wentz was outstanding on third down, with gifs and stuff: Part II - PhillyVoice
As we noted earlier this morning in Part I of this gif post, in the Philadelphia Eagles' win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Carson Wentz was outstanding on third down throughout the entire day, going 11 of 12 for 225 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs. Because of the size of the gif files, we broke this post into two parts. Go read Part I of this series before you continue forward.
The Hard Way - Iggles Blitz
he Eagles are 4-1 and atop the NFC East. They are tied for the best record in the NFC. They have the best point differential in the NFC. What makes this so impressive is that the Eagles aren’t having some magical season. Think about the Pro Bowl for a second. No runner or wide receiver is up for Pro Bowl consideration. Zach Ertz definitely is. Carson Wentz might be, but has tough competition with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Cam Newton. Any of the offensive linemen could make it. That is one area where the Eagles are loaded.
Uncanny resemblance: Eagles, Chiefs ride same formula to top - ESPN
Doug Pederson was called “Skinny Andy” by some veteran players when he first took over as Philadelphia Eagles coach because of how closely his operation resembled that of his mentor, Andy Reid. “I’m a big believer that you don’t change just to change," said Pederson, who played under Reid and was on his coaching staff both in Philly and Kansas City, including two years as the Chiefs offensive coordinator before landing his current gig. "It’s got to benefit the team, and it’s got to help you win games.”
Despite outside skepticism, Eagles players credit Doug Pederson for instilling ‘fighter’s mentality' - The Athletic
Similar to McLeod, Brandon Graham indicated that Pederson’s message is spreading throughout the Eagles locker room. “He don’t panic,” Graham said. “He’s just a guy that’s all about, ‘Keep chopping, keep chopping.’ It’s the National Football League. Everybody’s good but it’s all about who’s going to keep straining, who has that grit that you want that’s going to keep on going and fighting especially when things get rough.”
The deep ball finally opens the Eagles offense, shows its versatility - Inquirer
One week, the Eagles rely on their running game. The next week, they use a deep passing game for the big plays. The versatility of the Eagles offense has been apparent through five weeks this season. This offense is starting to look like what the team’s decision-makers envisioned when they put the roster together. The success of the deep ball in Sunday’s 34-7 win showed a dimension that wasn’t a big-enough part of the offense during the first month of the season. It changes the entire offense when the Eagles can connect on those plays. They can play different styles, adjusting to the matchup. That’s what coach Doug Pederson wants. “It’s huge,” Pederson said of the deep balls.
How a Philadelphia Eagles blitz pickup led to Nelson Agholor's most electrifying play - PennLive
Center Jason Kelce admits he struggled last season, and he found himself mired in trade rumors this spring and summer. But the two-time Pro Bowler has gotten off to a strong start this fall, and Wentz said his ability to block two Cardinals rushers on the third-quarter bomb to Agholor was a key component of Sunday's most electrifying play. "If you guys go back and watch it, Jason Kelce made an unbelievable play," Wentz said. "He ended up blocking two guys, so I shouldn't have had the time to get that one off, but he made an unbelievable play."
Eagles T Lane Johnson in concussion protocol - PFF
Johnson currently ranks third among all tackles with an 86.2 overall grade. He ranks third with an 86.0 pass blocking grade while ranking seventh with an 80.6 run blocking grade. Johnson ranked third among tackles with an 89.4 overall grade last season.
Cardinals GM Steve Keim calls loss to Eagles the worst since NFC Championship rout - AZ Central
How bad was the Cardinals’ 34-7 loss on Sunday to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field? According to General Manager Steve Keim, it might have been the team’s worst loss “in all three phases since the NFC Championship game two years ago.” That’s when the Cardinals got crushed by the Carolina Panthers, 49-15. “It was disappointing in a lot of different ways,” Keim said of Arizona’s most recent loss during his weekly appearance Monday with Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “Starting off defensively, I mean the third-down conversions that they made, third and 19, obviously that can’t happen. Poor tackling. Simple coverage basics that you’re taught. Playing the sticks. Playing aggressive in coverage. Not giving up first downs as easily as we did. It’s really frustrating.
The Panthers Are Beginning to Look Like Real Contenders Once Again - The Ringer
Carolina isn’t the same team that went to the Super Bowl in 2015, but with an impressive win over Detroit, it’s clear the squad has the kind of offensive and defensive balance that few teams feature.
Brandon Marshall Third Giants’ Wide Receiver Lost For Season - Big Blue View
Brandon Marshall announced late Monday night on Instagram that he will have ankle surgery Tuesday and miss the rest of the season. Marshall joins Odell Beckham Jr. and Dwayne Harris, who have already been placed on injured reserve, as Giants wide receivers who are now out for the year.
Jerry Jones comments on national anthem, ESPN suspends reporter for Twitter reaction - Blogging The Boys
Last night, after the Cowboys lost to the Packers, Jerry Jones commented on the recent controversy surrounding players protesting during the playing of the national anthem. After the Cowboys seemed to find a middle ground previously by kneeling as a team before the anthem then standing with arms locked for the actual playing of the anthem, Jones made clear that any protests during the song would not be tolerated.
Odell Beckham Jr.’s ankle injury clouds his future with the Giants - SB Nation
The Giants will likely be hesitant to give Beckham the mega contract he wants.
Social Media Information:
BGN Facebook Page: Click here to like our page
BGN Twitter: Follow @BleedingGreen
BGN Radio Twitter: Follow @BGN_Radio
BGN Radio Facebook: Click here to like our page
BGN Radio Patreon: Support the show!
BGN Manager: Brandon Lee Gowton: Follow @BrandonGowton