Wednesday Morning QB: 10 Thoughts on the Eagles’ All-22
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Here are my 10 weekly takeaways after watching the All-22 of the Eagles’ impressive season-opening win over the Cleveland Browns:
-Carson Wentz is one of the more pro-ready quarterbacks to enter the NFL in recent years and it has to do with autonomy and intangibles than anything else.
Yes, the skill set is impressive but so is Jared Goff’s and he is nowhere near ready. Don’t underestimate the advantage of playing in more of a pro-style offense at North Dakota State, which trumps the competition level aspect of it. Wentz is very comfortable handling things at the line of scrimmage and understands progressions better than spread QBs entering the league, even the ones from big-time conferences like the Pac-12.
-It might be time to accept the fact that there is some give-and-take with Jason Kelce at this point. He remains perhaps the most mobile center in football but he’s also going to get beat up at times in the phone booth by bigger and stronger defensive tackles. On Sunday, that was second-year man Danny Shelton.
-Jordan Matthews doesn’t struggle catching the football but tends to lose focus at times and that’s where the drops come from. If he can figure out how the great receivers keep their heads in the game no matter what, he’s going to take the next step even though his ceiling is somewhat limited by pedestrian speed. In fact, the Eagles starting receivers (Matthews and Nelson Agholor) may be the slowest WR tandem in football.
-Agholor played his best game as a professional and even got off press coverage on the TD catch but as long as Dorial Green-Beckham shows the work ethic and willingness to learn the offense, he will start getting more and more playing time because he’s skill set is far more impressive.
-Allen Barbre is turning into quite the late-bloomer. The 32-year-old left guard has slowly turned into a very capable player and is excelled in the run game Sunday, easily the Eagles’ best in that phase, ahead of the bigger name linemates Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks and Kelce.
-As amazing as it sounds, the 5-foot-6 Darren Sproles remains heads and shoulders above any other Eagles back when it comes to pass protection. The 33-year-old stoned Browns’ blitzers on more than one occasion.
-Mychal Kendricks was limited to 19 snaps after losing the nickel job to the much-less athletic Nigel Bradham, meaning he’s relegated to being a part-time player now in the same week his younger brother was the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week. The difference is that Bradham is a far more instinctive player, a sound tackler, perhaps the Eagles’ best on Sunday, and is obviously better-versed in Jim Schwartz’s scheme.
-Schwartz’s rotation up front worked in Week 1 as the Philadelphia pass rush picked up in the second half. Having the lead and being able to pin their ears back also helped but the plan is a sound one in today’s NFL game.
-Nolan Carroll is usually in solid position but his balls skills need work and 50-50 balls are a problem, something that could be daunting on Monday night with the king-sized Alshon Jeffery on the docket.
-Rodney McLeod has big-time range on the back end, among the best in football. but will also have trouble with bigger receivers at times because he doesn’t possess great length.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen