Dave Weinberg’s Eagles Midseason Report Card
The Eagles were viewed as NFC East contenders before the season began.
Halfway through the regular season, their status hasn't changed, though it's only because the division is dreadful.
At 3-4-1, they are in first place in the division ahead of Washington (2-5), Dallas (2-6) and the New York Giants (1-7). And that's despite having a losing record at the midway point of the season for the first time since 2013.
Those Eagles were 3-5 after eight games, then went on a 7-1 tear behind rookie coach Chip Kelly and second-year quarterback Nick Foles. Foles started the streak in the ninth game, throwing for 406 yards and tying the NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a rout at Oakland.
It's hard to fathom this year's squad embarking on such a comeback. The team has been riddled with injuries, Carson Wentz is struggling, and their non-division schedule is daunting.
Still, they might win the division.
Quarterback: Wentz has regressed. He's shown flashes of the elite player who was a MVP candidate in 2017, but there have also been games where he's struggled mightily. He's completed just 58 percent of his passes and leads the league with 12 interceptions and 16 total turnovers. To be fair, he's playing behind a porous offensive line and has received little support, but top quarterbacks find a way to overcome those problems. Rookie Jalen Hurts has been mostly a gimmick player. GRADE: D.
Running back: Miles Sanders has been terrific when healthy, but has missed three games with a knee injury. He's still ranked 15th in rushing with 461 yards and is averaging a whopping 6.1 yards per carry. Sanders has also demonstrated home-run hitting ability with a pair of 74-yard runs. Boston Scott has been effective in limited duty. Corey Clement has been a non-factor. GRADE: C.
Wide receiver/tight end: This unit has been ravaged by injuries. At wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has yet to play this season, while DeSean Jackson and rookie Jalen Reagor have been sidelined for significant periods. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has been invisible. In their absence, Travis Fulgham has emerged as a budding star with 29 receptions for 435 yards and four touchdowns. Greg Ward has been reliable with a team-high 32 catches. At tight end, Zach Ertz has been a huge disappointment and is sidelined indefinitely with an ankle injury. Dallas Goedert is just returning after missing four games with an ankle injury. GRADE: C-minus.
Offensive line: Another unit that can't stay on the field. Their best player, right guard Brandon Brooks, is out for the entire season with a torn Achilles, as is left tackle Andre Dillard with a torn biceps. Right tackle Lane Johnson, left guard Issac Seumalo and left tackle Jason Peters have also been out for significant periods. Only center Jason Kelce has been reliable. He's surrounded by guys like Nate Herbig, Jordan Mailata and rookie Jack Driscoll. Guard Jamon Brown was terrible in his only start. GRADE: D-plus.
Defensive line: The Eagles are tied with Tampa Bay for the NFC lead in sacks with 28. End Brandon Graham has been their top performer with a team-high 7.5 sacks and is always around the football. Josh Sweat has started to emerge as a solid pass rusher. Derek Barnett has shown flashes. Tackle Fletcher Cox has been dominant at times, but has just 2.5 sacks while facing constant double-teams. GRADE: B.
Linebacker: Alex Singleton took over for injured Nathan Gerry and has been impressive. He has 29 tackles and scored on a 30-yard interception return against San Francisco that helped seal the game. Gerry leads the team with 57 tackles, but is nothing special. T.J. Edwards has made an impact as a run defender when he's not battling injuries. GRADE: C.
Secondary: Only Houston (1) and Green Bay (2) have fewer interceptions this season than the Eagles (3). Cornerback Darius Slay has been inconsistent. He's blanketed opposing receivers as expected, and has 32 tackles, but pass interference penalties have hurt him. Jalen Mills has alternated between cornerback and safety but hasn't been particularly effective at either spot. Cornerbacks Avonte Maddox and Cre'Von LeBlanc have also missed time with injuries. Safety Rodney McLeod scored on a fumble return against Dallas. He's tried to pick up the slack in leadership since Malcolm Jenkins left town. GRADE: C-minus.
Special teams: Place-kicker Jake Elliott is not automatic anymore. He's 8-for-12 on field goals, though in his defense three of misses were from 50 yards or longer. Punter Cameron Johnston has been their best defensive weapon. He's tied for second in the league with a 50.4-yard overall average and has 12 punts inside the 20-yard line. They haven't been able to find a punt returner since Darren Sproles retired. GRADE: C.
Coaching: Doug Pederson has been taking some heat. His play-calling has been questionable, as have some of his in game-decisions. He's tried two-point conversions at odd times with strange play calls. He was roundly criticized for playing for a tie against Cincinnati, though in hindsight that might be the factor that lands them in the playoffs. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is dealing with a slew of injuries once again. GRADE: D.
Offensive MVP: Fulgham
Defensive MVP: Graham
Special teams MVP: Johnston