Extra Points: Dave Weinberg’s Eagles midseason grades
So far, so good. - Sunday’s 28-23 victory over the Cowboys left the Eagles as the most successful team in the NFL heading into their Bye Week.
An unexpected loss to the New York Jets earlier this season remains the lone blemish on their otherwise flawless complexion. At 8-1, they own the best record in the league. A daunting schedule awaits them after their break, but as of now, the Eagles are among the favorites to make it back to the Super Bowl for a second straight season.
This marks the seventh time the Birds have started 8-1. In the previous six seasons – 1949, 1960, 1980, 2004, 2017, 2022 – the Eagles either won a championship (1949, 1960, 2017) or lost in the Super Bowl.
At the very least, they’ve eased the pain Philly sports fans were feeling after the Phillies’ collapse in the National League Championship Series.
Jalen Hurts got off to a bit of a shaky start (only three touchdown passes in the first three games) but has since regained his status as one of the league’s top quarterbacks. He’s thrown eight interceptions already compared six all of last season, but has countered with 15 TD passes and has utilized the “Brotherly Shove” to rush for Seven TDs. GRADE: A-minus.
D’Andre Swift is clearly the team’s top running back in terms of talent. He ranks third in the NFL in rushing with 614 yards and averages 4.6 yards per carry. He would lead the league if he wasn’t forced to share time with Kenneth Gainwell and sometimes Boston Scott. Rashaad Penny has been a non-factor for some odd reason. GRADE: B
They are still considered the top offensive line in the league. Ageless Center Jason Kelce (he actually turned 36 this past Sunday) and Right Tackle Lane Johnson are among the best at their respective positions. Left Tackle Jordan Mailata has been dominant in almost every game. Guard Landon Dickerson has been bothered by penalties. Injuries have affected the rotation at Right Guard, with Cam Jurgen, Sua Opeta, and Rookie Tyler Steen all seeing action this seaosn. GRADE: A
Wide receiver/tight end
This is the reason the Eagles are 8-1. Wide receiver A.J. Brown has been a beast; He set an NFL record with six straight games with at least 125 receiving yards. He leads the NFC with 67 receptions for 1,005 yards and Six Touchdown Receptions. Devonta Smith has also been a big threat with 42 receptions for 553 yards and four TDs. Tight End Dallas Goedert was off to a solid start before suffering a fractured forearm against the Cowboys. GRADE: A.
This unit has played very well. Edge rusher Haason Reddick got off to a slow start due to a broken hand but now is tied for third in the NFC with 7.5 sacks. Defensive End Josh Sweat is next with 6.5 sacks. Rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter is off to a great start with 4 sacks. Veteran tackle Fletcher Cox has played well too while DE Brandon Graham had sacks on back-to-back plays against the Cowboys. GRADE: B
They’ve struggled with consistency at this position, aside from Reddick, who is technically considered a linebacker who functions as a pass rusher. Zach Cunningham has been the best of the rest. He ranks second on the team with 54 tackles. Nicholas Morrow has 3 sacks. Nakobe Dean was hurt early, and started earning back a bigger playing role, before suffering another rinjury. GRADE: C
The worst part of the defense as opposing offenses have lit them up. Cornerback Darius Slay has been OK, but James Bradberry has struggled. Rookie Sidney Brown has shown promise as the slot corner in place of injured Avonte Maddox. Safety Reed Blackenship leads the team with 55 tackles. The Eagles have to hope newly acquired Kevin Byard can help. GRADE: D.
Place-kicker Jake Elliott is enjoying another terrific season. He’s hit on 18-of-20 field goals, including a 61-yarder against the Vikings. Punt returner Britain Covey is second in the NFC with a 14-yard Punt Return average. Punter Braden Mann has averaged 48.1 yards per attempt since replacing Arryn Siposs. GRADE: B-plus
Nick Sirianni has the team believing in itself. New offensive coordinator Brian Johnson had a rocky start but has found his groove. The Eagles are second in the NFL in scoring at 28 points per game. Defensive coordinator Sean Desai is doing a good job for the most part. They lead the league in rushing defense, allowing 65.5 yards per game, and top the NFC with 30 sacks. GRADE: B.
Offensive MVP: AJ Brown
Defensive MVP: Haason Reddick
Special teams MVP: Jake Elliott
13 Jersey Girls Cheering for the 2023 Philadelphia Eagles
Gallery Credit: Heather DeLuca