Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Steelers
The Philadelphia Eagles improved to 2-0 this preseason thanks to another outstanding effort by the Philly defense. The Eagles pitched a shutout and have now forced nine turnovers so far this preseason.
With half of the preseason in the past, here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades.
Jim Schwartz - It should be a lot of fun watching this defense play this season. Schwartz' defense plays aggressive. At times, they will give up some yards, but they fly around and eventually make plays. His defense generates pressure up front leading to rushed throws and interceptions. Twice the Eagles gave up drives deep into their own territory before intercepting the ball in the endzone. The defense appears to be on the same page and moving in the right direction as the regular season gets closer.
Nolan Carroll - Carroll had himself a great game. He was hip-for-hip with his assigned receiver creating no room to complete a pass. Carroll also jumped a route and intercepted one returning it 38 yards for a touchdown. He finished the game with two tackles to go along with a pass deflection and the pick-six.
Paul Turner - Turner continues to produce. He gets open and catches the ball. Turner had the best catch of the night when he reached out with his left hand and made a one-handed grab for a first down. The Eagles later scored a touchdown on that drive. Turner should be moving up the depth chart after two solid games. He finished this one with three receptions for 44 yards.
Cody Parkey - Parkey was given a golden opportunity to show this coaching staff what he can do with Caleb Sturgis getting knocked out of the game in one of the weirdest ways possible. Parkey booted several kickoffs through the endzone. He also drilled a 40-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half.
Defensive Line - Once again the defensive line did its job. The starters were able to get continued pressure on Steelers Quarterback Landry Jones. They crashed the pocket forcing rushed throws or were able to hit him as he was throwing. That pressure led directly to interceptions. Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin, Bennie Logan, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and the rest of the line did their jobs. You can see how excited these guys are to know they can live without a leash and just go after the quarterback. They should be a lot of fun to watch this year.
Sam Bradford - Bradford played the entire first half. He and the starting offense got off to a rough start but finally began moving the ball later in the half. Bradford called a couple of successful audibles. He and Brent Celek were not on the same page on one route where Celek sat down in a zone and Bradford led him expecting the route to continue. Overall, it was not a bad performance for Bradford who completed 14 of 19 passes for 115 yards.
Chase Daniel - Daniel had a much better game than he did a week ago. He looked very comfortable in the pocket and delivered some nice passes. Daniel led the team on two pretty long drives including a 15 play touchdown drive covering 87 yards. His timing with the receivers looked to be much better allowing the team the opportunity to move the chains. Daniel completed 10 of 16 passes for 82 yards.
Aaron Grymes - Grymes had his ups and downs in this game. He was a little loose at times with his coverage and then there were moments when his coverage was great. One of those moments was on a fade route where he ran the route better than the receiver and made an amazing diving catch for the interception in the endzone.
Ryan Mathews - Mathews looked to hit the hole pretty quickly in this game. When he saw a hole, he took it. For the most part, he got in there and moved the pile forward. Mathews did not play very many series in this game so his action was limited. He finished the day with five carries for 18 yards.
Kenjon Barner - Barner continues to get a lot of opportunities. He was the leading rusher in the game with six carries for 41 yards and a touchdown. Barner also added one reception for four yards. His best run of the night showed great patience for the hole to open and when it did he slid through it and emerged for a 14-yard gain. Barner is also getting all of the opportunities to return punts.
Malcolm Jenkins - Jenkins showed that he will once again occasionally drift down towards the line of scrimmage before the snap. He made some nice tackles. The best play of the night for Jenkins came on a pass into the endzone that was batted away by Leodis McKelvin and intercepted by Jenkins.
Leodis McKelvin - We are starting to see more of what McKelvin can bring to this defense. He showed solid coverage to make a nice stop short of the sticks on third down early in the game. McKelvin also delivered a big hit on a receiver right after he caught the ball. But his best play came when he was defending a fade route and batted the ball in the air leading to an interception by Malcolm Jenkins. McKelvin finished the game with a pass deflection and three tackles.
Nelson Agholor - Agholor had a better game than he did a week ago. He started out with a solid block on a screen play. Agholor also made a fantastic catch to climb the ladder and snag a high pass for a first down. The inconsistency showed on the very next play when he dropped a pass that was thrown behind him. It is an improvement, but he must continue to make positive strides. Agholor caught two passes for 30 yards.
Marcus Smith - Smith would love to forget his first two years in Philadelphia under Chip Kelly. The first-round pick was essentially forgotten and was unable to gain positive attention for himself in that system. After missing the preseason opener, Smith showed he might be able to contribute in this defense. He looked to have a pretty quick first-step off the line of scrimmage and generated a push to help collapse the pocket a couple of times. Smith finished the game with four tackles, one sack, two tackles for a loss and one quarterback hit.
Jaylen Watkins - Watkins followed up a pretty good game last week with another. His coverage continues to be decent. Watkins tends to be around the ball and managed to haul in an interception off a wobbly pass by Landry Jones.
Doug Pederson - I thought Pederson did a decent job of managing this game. I like how he took a shot at the endzone with 11 seconds remaining in the first half and one timeout before settling for a field goal. Pederson's play-calling was conservative, especially at the beginning of the game. However, I did not expect anything less, especially since the Eagles will see the Steelers again in five weeks.
Dorian Green-Beckham - It is hard to give a guy who just arrived on the team via a trade earlier in the week, but he had a couple of opportunities to make a catch and failed. His first appearance in the game featured a fade route that was poorly thrown by Chase Daniel and Green-Beckham hardly had a play on the ball. He did wind up dropping a pass a little later in the game. Surely his comfort with his new teammates and with this system will grow the longer he is here.
Caleb Sturgis - In a kicking competition that has been pretty even, he committed the major mistake by taking a ball off the head in pre-game warmups and suffering a concussion. That gave Cody Parkey all the kicking opportunities and forced Sturgis into the concussion protocol program.