Subject: Eagles-Broncos PFF Grades: Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham among Philly
Best and worst from the Eagles’ Week 9 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 9 win over the Denver Broncos.
C Jason Kelce, 90.5 overall grade
DI Fletcher Cox, 88.8 overall grade
Edge Brandon Graham, 87.8 overall grade
S Malcolm Jenkins, 86.5 overall grade
LB Mychal Kendricks, 83.6 overall grade
This isn’t the first time this season Carson Wentz has been oddly absent from the top five. Wentz went 15/27 for 199 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 118.7 passer rating against the league’s best defense. He essentially did all of this in just three quarters played.
Shot 8 - A couple of dimes from Wentz. First one came in 2-minute drill. Makes throws like this on a weekly basis, believe it or not! pic.twitter.com/nmM13Kum84— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) November 6, 2017
I don’t know how that’s not top five worthy, but let’s get to the top performers listed here.
PFF has been very high on Kelce this year. He’s their No. 1 overall center. Kelce’s had some issues in pass protection, according to them, but he’s been a strong run blocker. Kelce helped pave the way for the 197 rushing yards the Eagles put up on a Denver defense that was only allowing 72.9 per game heading into Sunday. Kelce could be headed to the Pro Bowl again this season.
The Man Dog was a beast on Sunday. And it’s not like he just dominated some scrub.
Fletcher Cox had the exact opposite game of Brandon Graham, while he was good in the run game, he absolutely tore into the interior of the Broncos offensive line to record 1 hit and 7 hurries on just 25 pass-rush plays for an insane 24.0 pass-rushing productivity score. What more, he did this against Ronald Leary, who had not given up more than one pressure in a game this season. Leary gave up 6 pressures against Cox.
The frustrating part is that Cox would’ve had even more pressures if he didn’t miss three days of voluntary OTA practices in the spring. (Just joking.)
For real, though, Cox has been great. He has 32 total pressures (five sacks, seven hits, 20 hurries) in 215 pass rush snaps played. That ranks as the second best pressure rate among interior defenders in the NFL.
The Eagles’ defense has been successful when it comes to stopping the run and rushing the passer. Cox is a big part of that.
Here’s what PFF had to say about one of their most favorite players.
In a game which was dominated by the defensive line of the Eagles, Brandon Graham actually had his fewest pressures since Week 3 with just 2 hurries, however, he still was able to be dominant in the run game, recording 5 tackles, all 5 being for stops in the run game. He was a menace, especially when the Broncos tried to use a tight end to block him.
Yeah, I’d say using a tight end to block Graham is a huge mistake.
This is one of my favorite plays by Graham in this game. He totally knew what was coming and started moving to make the tackle before the ball was even snapped.
Usually BG makes the chase downs unblocked. The broncos try him with a tight end and it goes about how you'd expect. pic.twitter.com/VO1RjFgwPV— Tyler Jackson (@TjackRH) November 6, 2017
Graham is a very big part of why the Eagles have the best run defense in the NFL. He ranks as PFF’s second overall edge rusher this season. He’s 10th in pressure rate and second overall in run stop percentage (stops constitute a "loss" for the offense.)
Jenkins finished the game with three tackles (two solo), two passes defensed, and one quarterback hit. The veteran safety is such a key player in the Eagles’ defense. Philadelphia has been using him in a linebacker role in some looks since Jordan Hicks has gone down.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has a lot of praise for Jenkins last week.
Q. S Malcolm Jenkins has played so many roles for you guys. Just what he does in that dime look where you go with three safeties, how are his responsibilities different than what he normally does?
JIM SCHWARTZ: He’s played that spot in all our coverages anyway. It’s just a different personnel group. He’s played safety for us, well-documented; he’s played nickel for us, well-documented; and he’s played the dime and he’s played sort of a linebacker-type role, so he’s a do-it-all player. He’s good in the box. He’s good in the deep part of the field. He’s a very valuable guy to have and he gives you a lot of flexibility to be able to handle things that come up within a season, within a game plan and in the course of a game.
Q. How rare is that versatility?
JIM SCHWARTZ: Well, it’s something that we value. That corner-safety flexibility, No. 1, but one thing we don’t talk a lot about is that safety-linebacker flexibility, sort of an old-school NFL. It’s pretty rare to find guys that can do all three. Malcolm is one of them.
Kendricks had four tackles (two solo), two passes defensed, and one quarterback hit in this game. Would you believe that he ranks 13th out of 108 linebackers this season? Because he does. Kendricks ranks second among 4-3 outside linebackers in pressure rate (7 pressures in 30 pass rush snaps), seventh in run stop percentage, and 14th in coverage. Really strong year for him.
First up, the Jay Train, who rushed for 77 yards and one touchdown on just eight carries.
Ajayi was handed the ball eight times in his Eagles debut, but the small workload didn’t prevent him from making an impact. He had a 46 yard touchdown run, and averaged 3.4 yards after contact on his seven other runs. It’s early, but it looks like he’s going to make the most out of running behind a better offensive line in Philadelphia.
Ajayi ranks eighth in “Elusive Rating” this year (LeGarrette Blount ranks first), which boils down a runner's success beyond the point of being helped by his blockers. Ajayi has forced 24 missed/broken tackles on 152 total touches. Here’s just one example. Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall (No. 54) doesn’t stand a chance.
Ajayi gives an already explosive offense ANOTHER weapon to work with. Crazy.
Switching gears, here’s what PFF had to say about Alshon.
Jeffery had maybe his best game of the season, picking up 84 yards on six catches, including two touchdowns against Aqib Talib. He did drop one pass though, and was called for holding downfield on a long run by Corey Clement.
There are definitely some miscues that Jeffery needs to clean up, but it’s encouraging how Wentz and him seem to be getting on same page. Jeffery did a great job of selling the fake on his first touchdown.
No Eagles on this list. Just wanted to include this write-up on Brock Osweiler.
Brock Osweiler had a chance to revive his career after his struggles in the past 18 months. However against the fierce pass-rush of the Eagles, Osweiler failed to get the Broncos offense going. He only threw two interceptions but had many more turnover worthy plays and when he was pressured (22 of 41 dropbacks) he completed just 42.1 percent of his passes.
I’m also including Pro Football Focus in the dishonorable section on this list. I already touched on the Wentz thing, but their grade for Von Miller makes no sense.
Edge Von Miller, 92.3 overall grade
Miller had five total pressures, including a forced fumble on a sack on 27 pass-rushes, and was one of two Broncos defenders with multiple pressures. He was even better against the run, where he had six run-defense stops, tied for the most in a single game this season among edge defenders.
PFF had Miller as the top overall graded player from this game. That’s silly.
First of all, his strip-sack came on a play where he was probably offside.
And then there’s the fact that Doug Pederson essentially schemed him out of the game. Really good film breakdown from BGN alumnus Jimmy Kempski here.
On Sunday, the Eagles had a plan for Miller, and they executed it brilliantly.
In the stat sheet, Miller appeared to have a great day. He had 8 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and a sack/fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Miller was indeed good against the run, however, those stats are wildly deceiving, as Miller was a complete non-factor as a pass rusher until the game was completely out of hand and the Eagles had already put in their third-string RT.
Doug Pederson, Frank Reich, and the Eagles' offensive brain trust used a variety of ways to slow Miller down.
This a good example of why PFF is far from perfect. I think they do some interesting stuff, but this is a situation where important context went missing.
Subject: Meek Mill Is Going to Jail
Subject: How great is Ivan Provorov?
The gang uses this downtime in the schedule to gush, a lot, about our very own Russian Machine
With four days between games, Steph, Charlie and Bill discuss the current plague of injuries hitting the Flyers locker room, and gush over Ivan Provorov's superhuman effort for a short-handed squad over the last several games. Bill asks if the Broad Street Bullies are tough enough, Charlie predicts Sean Couturier's production for the rest of the season and Steph will stand for no slander of her Swedish Muffin, even if only by omission.
Subject: Doug Pederson Used Kansas City Game Film to Shred the Broncos
Subject: Two Dipshits Dig In on The Eagles
Subject: Sean Couturier
It’s all coming together for the sixth-year pro offensively.
Just 24-years-old, the former QMJHL star with the Drummondville Voltigeurs is now in his sixth NHL season and enjoying a breakout performance on the ice—offensively that is.
Since breaking the Flyers’ opening night roster way back in 2011 as a 19-year-old, Couturier has been a rock defensively for the club as evidence by his career 40.9% offensive zone start percentage. He’s finished in the top 10 in Selke Trophy voting—given annually to the forward who demonstrates the most still in the defensive component of the game—twice since entering the league (2013-14, 2015-16).
But though he spent the better part of his first five seasons as a shutdown center for the Flyers, it wasn’t just because Couturier excelled in his own end instinctively, it was also because the Flyers had a glut of centers in the organization that clouded things.
In his rookie year of 2011-12, there was Claude Giroux, Daniel Briere, Maxime Talbot, Brayden Schenn and Couturier all vying for center ice time. Though everyone save for Giroux could split some action on the wing, it wasn’t like the rookie from the QMJHL was going to get top-six minutes and ample offensive opportunities. He finished the year with 27 points (13G, 14A) while starting 60% of his shifts in the defensive zone.
After two years and middling success with young guys like Schenn and Couturier spending time at center, the Flyers went out and signed Vincent Lecavalier to a large deal in free agency to be their No. 2 center behind Giroux, or so they hoped. Instead, the former Tampa Bay star flamed out, scoring just 58 points in 133 games in a Flyers uniform in parts of two seasons.
Perhaps the bigger issue with the failed Lecavalier era was that the veteran stole potentially valuable ice time away from guys like Schenn, Couturier and then Scott Laughton in all situations. The experiment failed and could have delayed the development of those young centers as offensive opportunity went to the veteran over the youngsters.
It’s no surprise that the following year sans Lecavalier showed the beginning of the rise of Couturier.
In 2015-16, Couturier saw his offensive zone starts climb from to 43.4% from 40.1% and post a career-high with a 52.4% Corsi For (about 4% better than his career rate to that point). His possession numbers weren’t a fluke, either, as evidence by his 2.1% Corsi For relative to his teammates. He tied his career-high with 39 points (11G, 28A) and was a plus player for the fourth time in five years.
But with 34 points (14G, 20A) it didn’t turn out that way, not at least in terms of putting up the production of the legitimate #2 center that the Flyers desperately needed.
While he didn’t break the 40-point barrier and venture into that top-six caliber center stage in terms of points last season, Couturier posted a career-high 54.5% Corsi For and nearly doubled his Corsi For% relative. Though the goals and assists weren’t there, the corner was already turned. He just needed more opportunity.
With depth down the middle thanks to No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick, Scott Laughton’s strong AHL play a year ago, and the acquisition of veteran Valtteri Filppula, the Flyers suddenly had another glut of centers heading into this season.
That’s when an experiment in camp saw Claude Giroux moved to the wing of…you guessed it: Sean Couturier. Jake Voracek would occupy the other wing to form the Flyers’ new-look top line. Though there were some growing pains in the preseason (Looking at you, G) the trio was dangerous offensively from the get-go and the experiment moved from infancy stages to full-blown reality.
Though 15 games the line has amassed 53 points (20G, 33A) to form one of the NHL’s top scoring lines. Couturier has been the beneficiary of playing with top skilled passers, notching nine goals already, just six away from his career-high of 15. That’s a cool 49-goal pace if you’re scoring at home. He’s also up to a career-best 45.7% offensive zone start percentage and a 53% Corsi For percentage.
Sure his shooting percentage (19.6%) will likely come down, but he’s getting the best chances he’s ever had in his young career playing with a pair of all-stars, and at the end of the day one of them has to shoot the puck right?
Sean Couturier is having a career-year offensively for the Flyers—and while its taken six years—the potential was always there and it’s all happening now right in front of our eyes.
Subject: Taking Down PFF
Subject: Two Eagles players nominated for weekly awards you can vote on
A pair of Philadelphia Eagles players have been nominated for two of the NFL’s weekly awards that you can vote on thanks to their performances against the Denver Broncos in Week 9. The players: Corey Clement and Carson Wentz.
Clement has been nominated for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week. The undrafted rookie running back ran for 51 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos’ second-ranked run defense. Clement also caught a screen pass for a 15-yard receiving touchdown.
You can [click here] to vote for Clement. He’s probably not going to win since Alvin Kamara is also on the ballot. The Saints running back had 152 total yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns on Sunday.
Still, it’s pretty cool to see Clement getting some recognition for his performance. He’s been a nice undrafted rookie free agent pickup by the Eagles’ personnel department.
Wentz is one five players nominated for the Castrol EDGE Clutch Performers of the Week award.
Wentz had a strong outing against the Broncos with 199 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 118.7 passer rating.
With that said, I’m not really sure why Wentz’s performance is in this category. There wasn’t anything “clutch” about it. He barely even played in the fourth quarter in a game the Eagles won 51-23.
Subject: Philadelphia Eagles bring back hard-hitting safety to practice squad
In case you don’t remember who that is, allow me to remind you.
The Eagles originally signed Sullivan, who attended Division II Shepherd University, following the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent the entire summer with Philadelphia before getting injured in the Eagles’ final preseason game. Sullivan was placed on injured reserve being before waived with an injury settlement.
It’s cool to see Sullivan is back with the Eagles. I thought he showed some promise in training camp. Everyone will obviously remember him for the big hits, but I thought he showed some nice coverage skills in practice as well.
The Eagles aren’t lacking immediate depth at the safety position. It could be a long-term need, though. Corey Graham, who turns 33 this summer, is currently signed to a one-year deal. Jaylen Watkins will be a free agent after this season. Special teams captain Chris Maragos is currently injured and turns 31 in January.
In order to make room for Sullivan on the practice squad, the Eagles released linebacker Don Cherry. The Villanova alumnus re-signed with Philly two weeks ago but he’s gone again.
UPDATED LOOK AT THE 2017 EAGLES PRACTICE SQUAD
S Tre Sullivan
CB DeVante Bausby
C/G Josh Andrews
TE Billy Brown
Subject: Eagles are now favored to win the Super Bowl and Carson Wentz has the best NFL MVP odds
You’re not dreaming.
The Philadelphia Eagles now have the best odds of winning the 2018 Super Bowl.
Carson Wentz is now the favorite to win NFL MVP.
Is this real life?
Yes. Yes, it is.
Check out the latest Super Bowl odds from Bovada.
Philadelphia Eagles: 4/1
New England Patriots: 9/2
Pittsburgh Steelers: 15/2
Kansas City Chiefs: 11/1
Seattle Seahawks: 12/1
Los Angeles Rams: 14/1
New Orleans Saints: 14/1
Dallas Cowboys: 16/1
Minnesota Vikings: 16/1
Carolina Panthers: 22/1
Jacksonville Jaguars: 25/1
Atlanta Falcons: 28/1
Detroit Lions: 28/1
Tennessee Titans: 28/1
Oakland Raiders: 33/1
Washington Redskins: 50/1
Buffalo Bills: 66/1
Green Bay Packers: 66/1
Arizona Cardinals: 100/1
Baltimore Ravens: 100/1
Cincinnati Bengals: 100/1
Denver Broncos: 100/1
Houston Texans: 100/1
Los Angeles Chargers: 100/1
Chicago Bears: 150/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 200/1
Miami Dolphins: 250/1
Indianapolis Colts: 300/1
New York Jets: 300/1
New York Giants: 1000/1
Cleveland Browns: Off the Board
San Francisco 49ers: Off the Board
Also check out the latest NFL MVP odds below.
Carson Wentz: 1/1
Tom Brady: 21/10
Alex Smith: 8/1
Drew Brees: 14/1
Russell Wilson: 14/1
Le’Veon Bell: 28/1
Dak Prescott: 28/1
Jared Goff: 33/1
Matthew Stafford: 33/1
Kareem Hunt: 100/1
Deshaun Watson: Off the Board
It’s just so crazy to think all of this is real. No one expected the Eagles to be this good this fast.
I know some people get turned off by the hype machine. But I don’t know what you expect at this point. The Eagles legitimately look like the best team in the NFL. They’re pulverizing their opponents. Wentz isn’t doing anything fluky; he’s the legitimately awesome prospect the Eagles made a big effort to acquire.
With seven games remaining in the Eagles’ season, there’s obviously still a lot that change. But you have to feel good about this team’s chances. The Eagles are on the path to a No. 1 seed. If they can lock up home field advantage, they would only need two home wins to make it to the big game.
What a time to be alive.
Subject: Reports: A Plane Belonging To Roy Halladay Has Crashed in The Gulf of Mexico
Subject: Roy Halladay 1977-2017
Subject: Here Is a Live Stream of the Press Conference
Subject: Roy Halladay Killed in Plane Crash Over Gulf of Mexico
Subject: The Phillies Have Released a Statement on Roy Halladay
Subject: Baseball Community and Others Mourn Roy Halladay
Subject: A Few Words
Subject: Carlos Ruiz on Roy Halladay
Subject: Ruben Amaro Recounts How Roy Halladay Would Text Him and Apologize For Poor Outings
Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: This break has been nice, eh?
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*How’s everyone enjoying this little mini-break from the Flyers? Getting extra sleeping? Watching some shows? Well, we’ve come to the last day of our freedom. Spend it reading about how awesome Sean Couturier is. [BSH]
*The Flyers are aiming to score more off of the rush going forward. This would be nice. [Courier-Post]
*Mike Recchi, who people like for some reason, will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. His old pal Rick Tocchet had some words to say about him. [NHL.com]
*The Flyers have used their time off to let some members of the Air Force play hockey with their favorite NHLers, which is pretty cool. [Philly.com]
*The Colorado-Nashville-Ottawa trade that happened this weekend was super fun, and not a thing we see very often in this league anymore. DGB brings us a few notable moves from the golden era of the three-way trade. [Sportsnet]