Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Panthers
The Philadelphia Eagles tried to do what five other teams failed to do and that is knock off the Carolina Panthers. The Eagles once again got out to a slow start and could not overcome an early deficit in a 27-16 loss in Charlotte.
The offense must do some soul searching during the Eagles upcoming bye week. The defense is doing its job and the offense cannot turn turnovers into touchdowns. There are too many dropped passes and Sam Bradford is holding onto the ball way too long.
Time for the week seven edition of Grayson's Grades:
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins continues to be a great fit in this defense. His corner skills at safety allow him to maximize his value. Jenkins made an absolutely spectacular diving interception right before halftime. He only made two tackles, but added a solid pass deflection in the game as well. Jenkins definitely leads by example and his play in the secondary seems to be getting contagious.
Nolan Carroll - Carroll continues to do an outstanding job on the corner. He covers man-to-man very well. Carroll picked off a Cam Newton pass in the first half immediately after Bradford had turned it over. Carroll led the team with nine tackles and added a pass deflection on top of his first half interception.
Byron Maxwell - This was arguably Maxwell's best game as an Eagle. He made a great interception off a deflection in the third quarter and tacked on a solid return. Maxwell's coverage overall appeared to be better as well. However, he looks to struggle on crossing routes and is slow to react on those resulting in some big completions for the opponent. He continues to be improving and is looking more and more comfortable with his responsibilities in this defense. Maxwell finished with five tackles and two pass deflections.
Matt Tobin - Tobin was pressed into action at left tackle behind the injured Jason Peters. Those are some literal and figurative big shoes to fill. All in all, I thought Tobin did a pretty good job of filling in. He was not perfect, but he also did not get to practice that position much at all during the week.
Mychal Kendricks - Kendricks returned to the lineup for the first time in several weeks. He looked good flying around and was in on many plays. He finished second on the team with eight tackles. Kendricks' athleticism at the linebacker position should have helped with keeping Cam Newton in check. The Eagles allowed a 100 yard rusher for the first time this season. Jonathan Stewart carried the ball 24 times for 125 yards. In fact, the Eagles gave up 204 yards rushing to the Panthers.
Jason Kelce - Kelce struggled with his blocking at times in this game. He missed some blocks He also got a costly holding penalty called against him. Normally Kelce is a rock on this offensive line, but he has struggled at times the past few games.
Zach Ertz - Ertz is typically so reliable for this team. He has outstanding hands, but he dropped 3 passes. Ertz was targeted eight times, but only caught 5 of those passes for 63 yards. I have often wondered why the Eagles don't try to involve him more consistently. He seems to be a bit of an afterthought at times.
Miles Austin - Austin seemed to provide a spark in this game. When everyone else on this team was dropping passes, he was catching them. He looked very reliable until late in the game. The Eagles were facing a fourth down with less than 2 minutes remaining and a pass went off Austin's hands and incomplete. That was a big drop. Austin caught four passes for 52 yards.
Sam Bradford - I heard a lot of apologists bailing out Bradford after this game. Yes, his receivers dropped passes. Some of those were not perfect throws by Bradford, but they should have been caught. My biggest problem with Bradford in this game was that he held onto the ball entirely way too long. It led to sacks and tipped passes by the Panthers. Once Jason Peters went out due to injury in the first half, Bradford should have put it in his mind to get rid of the ball at the end of his dropbacks. Bradford completed 26 of 46 passes for 205 yards and one interception.
Chip Kelly - I questioned a lot of calls by Kelly in this game. I did not like the screen pass to Josh Huff on 3rd and 9. It went nowhere. I thought that might have been four down territory. I didn't like kicking the 50 yard field goal that Sturgis missed. I don't think you can go to that 50+ yard field goal attempt more than once in a game and expect to nail it. I also disagreed with Kelly on his strategy to not go deep at all in this game. At the very least, it might draw a penalty or result in a great catch. I refer to the old saying, better to have tried and lost than not tried at all.
Defensive Line - The defensive line is one of the biggest strengths on this team. The Eagles have been one of the best at stopping the run. That was not the case in this game. They allowed 204 yards rushing to the Panthers. They also did not make Cam Newton too uncomfortable in the pocket, which was one of the keys to victory over the Panthers last season.
Jordan Matthews - Matthews is dropping passes at an alarming rate. He was targeted seven times and caught just three of those passes for 14 yards. Early in the game, Bradford threw a pass behind Matthews, but he got his hands on it and tipped it resulting in an interception. That particular pass needs to be better, but Matthews should be able to pull that in also. Matthews was expected to soar this year following a very successful rookie season. However, he is stuck in a sophomore slump and has to work his way out of it.
Josh Huff - Huff also dropped a big pass. He was hit in the hands with the ball in the back of the endzone and could not come down with it. Huff was targeted five times and only caught two oft those fine passes for five yards.
Riley Cooper - Cooper has done a great job of stretching the defense in previous weeks, but not even one pass was targeted for him in this game. He was virtually invisible this week. That is not entirely his fault. It clearly looked like Chip Kelly wanted to move the ball down the field by taking the underneath passing routes. That all but eliminates Cooper from too many opportunities.