Philadelphia Eagles Film Study: Grading the Offensive Line After Week 4

Bob CunninghamSenior Analyst IOctober 4, 2012

Philadelphia Eagles Film Study: Grading the Offensive Line After Week 4

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    Welcome back for another week of breaking down the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line.

    Like every other week, I sat down and reviewed every offensive snap multiple times from both the All-22 and end zone cameras in order to determine a grade for each offensive lineman based on how they performed during each individual play.

    Grades were given, grades were calculated, and a final conclusion was reached.

    This week won't feature the up-and-down grades of Week 3, but there was no true standout, either.

    Given the choice, I'll take down-the-line consistency over one standout and four other guys falling on their face any time.

    Getting back to winning wasn't half bad, either.

How the Grading System Works

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    For the very worst of plays—a penalty committed, sack given up or any awful play in general—a grade of "minus-1" will be earned.

    For a blown assignment, lack of effort and things of that nature, a grade of "zero" will be earned.

    For a successfully executed block, a grade of "one" will be earned.

    A grade of "two" can be earned for a pancake block or an extraordinary effort.

    It's important to note that the extremes will be reserved only for special circumstances, and the majority of the grades given will be "zero" or "one."

    Once the game is over, the points are added up and divided by the total number of plays, thus giving us the overall grade.

    For reference, the grades break down like this:

    100-95 is excellent.

    94-90 is good.

    89-85 is decent.

    84-80 is shaky.

    79-75 is bad.

    74-70 is bench-worthy.

    69 or below is worthy of walking papers.


    All up to speed? Great, let's continue.

LT Demetress Bell

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    Grade: 82 percent (Shaky)

    In my "Winners and Losers" article, published immediately after Sunday night's game, I proclaimed Bell a "loser" and had some harsh words for his play.

    As it turns out, I may have been a little too harsh.

    But just a little.

    Bell started slowly with 71 and 75 percent in the first two quarters, while allowing Michael Vick to be hurried twice and LeSean McCoy to get dropped for a loss. He was, however, able to rebound with 80 and 95 percent in the third and fourth, respectively

    On the Eagles' game-winning drive, Bell was a wall and absolutely flawless.

    There's a ton of room for improvement from Bell, and I still believe he should head back to the bench once King Dunlap returns, but he is steadily improving, at least.

LG Evan Mathis

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    Grade: 88 percent (Decent)

    The most encouraging sign from Mathis' performance was the way he got better as the game went on. He's managed to really slip up late in past weeks, especially in the fourth quarter, so it was good to see him change that trend.

    To show what I'm talking about, from the first to fourth quarter Mathis graded out at a 71, 81, 87 and 100 percent.

    Yes, he turned in a perfect fourth quarter.

    Mathis still missed his assignments or was just beaten a bit too often but had only two negative plays, and both came in the first half.

C Dallas Reynolds

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    Grade: 80 percent (Shaky)

    It was no secret Reynolds was going to take his lumps this season, and his inexperience is obviously going to contribute to turning in a low grade, but there's a lot of reasons for optimism.

    For example, a lot of Reynolds' poor plays came from blocking the wrong man or heading in the wrong direction rather than simply getting beat. That's to be expected from a guy who got thrown into the fire with no prior experience.

    For the game, Reynolds was charged with three negative plays when he allowed McCoy to get dropped behind the line twice and let Vick get hit once.

    Howard Mudd, Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg, Michael Vick and even Jason Kelce would be wise to spend a lot of time with Reynolds this week and work on getting his assignments down. Reynolds was charged with a whopping five missed assignments in the fourth quarter and could have derailed the Eagles' game-winning drive if the four guys beside him had slipped up at all.

RG Danny Watkins

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    Grade: 85 percent (Decent)

    For the first time this year, Watkins graded outside the 90s.

    So it was a disappointing day for Watkins, but it's all correctable. And let's not forget, Week 4 marks Watkins' 16th game played, meaning he officially has one full season under his belt.

    And with that little experience, he's already the Eagles' best lineman (with Jason Peters out, of course).

    Watkins got beat a couple times and was obviously confused by what the Giants defense was doing in another couple instances. That confusion led to blocking the wrong man or just missing his block entirely.

    Still, Watkins had only two negative plays all game long.

    But the best news of all was saved for the end: Watkins is officially the first lineman this season to record a legitimate pancake block. It's a bit sad it took until Week 4, but at least it finally happened, and I'm not the least bit surprised Watkins was the guy to get there first.

    If he would be just a bit more aggressive about finishing his blocks like he did on that one play, Watkins could take the next step needed to become a Pro Bowl guard.

RT Todd Herremans

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    Grade: 78 percent (Bad)

    I just don't know what to do with Herremans anymore. The flashes of talent are enough to make me understand why Andy Reid keeps him around, but he whiffs so often it's getting really hard to make excuses for him.

    For the second time already this season, Herremans has graded out as having a bad day. Back in Week 1, his grade qualified him as a candidate to hit the bench.

    And just to show that those flashes really do exist, he earned a 91 in Week 2.

    Herremans was charged with causing McCoy to get tackled in the backfield three times, got Vick hurried twice and had one penalty.

    On the bright side, Herremans did earn that elusive "two" when he made a great effort play while the Eagles were backed up in their own end zone.

    Herremans blocked his man just long enough to push him down to Watkins, then came off and was able to block a blitzing defensive back who was already five yards in the backfield. It was an excellent show of effort and athleticism from Herremans that makes his shortcomings all the more baffling.