Grades Are In: Complete Report Card for the Philadelphia Eagles
With pressure to live up to the hype of being the so-called "Dream Team", even though the term in still being perpetuated by media, the Eagles proved they can be an elite team, especially since they did not play their best game and still blew out a reasonably good opponent.
That being said, here are the grades for the Eagles:
When you look at Vick's final passing stat line, 14-32 for 187 yards, it doesn't look pretty, but Vick outplayed what his numbers looked like. He ran for almost a 100 yards and for the most part made the correct decisions with the football.
Vick was uncomfortable in the pocket early on because the offensive line missed assignments and struggled to keep with the opposition, but gradually made good throws in the pocket and on the run.
Could he have been more accurate? Sure, completing 44% is horrid, but with the fact that he was running for his life and had to make tough throws hurt his final statistics. A few drops by his receivers didn't help Vick's cause.
If the offensive line can get it together and have some continuity, then Vick can have a MVP type season. Some of the throws he can make are incredible, especially on the run.
Running Backs: A-
The Eagles running backs ran for 139 yards on 21 carries (6.62 YPA), and proved it can be dependable.
The stat line is a bit deceiving because of LeSean McCoy's 49 yard touchdown run, but ultimately McCoy did what the Eagles want him to do.
Its tough for backs to produce better numbers when they do not get consistent touches.
McCoy is starting to fully understand blitz pickup, even though he still needs work.
Ronnie Brown and Dion Lewis did not see much playing time and will probably only carry four to ten times per game for the rest of the year.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: B+
DeSean Jackson was clearly Vick's favorite target, as he was looked for on 12 occasions.
Jackson finished the game with 6 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, but should have had even better numbers considering he dropped a few passes, one that could have gone for an 80 yard touchdown.
Other than Jackson, no other receiver or tight end really stepped up.
Jeremy Maclin still needs more gametime before he gets back to the speed of the NFL and Steve Smith did not see one play of action.
Offensive Line: C+
The line struggled considerably in the first quarter and it was a mirror of last year's offensive line.
The rookie Jason Kelce especially struggled with pointing out the pressure to help Vick, but as the game went on, he improved as well as the entire offensive line.
Howard Mudd must have really fired up the line after the first few dismal possessions.
They gave up one sack to Chris Long, but the other two were blitzes, where there was an open man. On the Quintin Mikell blitz, a play action was called and Mikell came from the blindside spot, essentially giving Vick almost no chance to throw a ball.
With continuity, the line can be solid enough to protect Vick.
Defensive Line: A
There may not be one position group as strong as the defensive line. With immense pressure from the outside, Sam Bradford had an awful performance.
He averaged 6.3 yards per throw and had to settle for mostly underneath routes. With the elite cornerbacks, Bradford couldn't test the defense deep, especially with Babin, Cole, Jenkins, etc. coming for him.
Babin had two sacks, and the line forced five sacks altogether. The ends are especially fresh with the amount of rotating with Darryl Tapp, who had a strip sack, and Juqua Parker, who recorded his second career touchdown.
Under Washburn, this defensive line may be the best in the league.
As for the run support, the Eagles obviously struggled, but I'm pinning the blame on the linebackers not on Mike Patterson nor Cullen Jenkins.
The linebackers showed they were solid in coverage, but as for run defense, the group was dismal.
In my previous article, I predicted the Eagles would struggle against the run and that Casey Matthews would especially be the main reason why. I think its safe to say I was correct.
Matthews, and the rest of the linebackers, overpursued and couldn't get off blocks. Matthews is key to stopping the run as the defensive tackles main roles are to occupy blockers.
The Rams rushing attack gouged the Eagles for 154 yards, 91 through Carnell Williams, who has no explosiveness whatsoever.
If the Eagles plan on stopping Michael Turner, Matthews better get his act together.
As for Moise Fokou, he struggled mightily as well. He was considered probably the Eagles best run supporting linebacker, but he did not look comfortable playing the weakside.
The Eagles pass rush and great cover corners overwhelmed Bradford, forcing him to go for his checkdowns, rather than test the outside of the defense.
Though Nnamdi Asomugha was called for a bogus pass interference call, he proved why he is a top two shutdown corner in the league. His play and solidness will result in a huge year for Asante Samuel, who also had a great game.
Samuel did get beat on a double move, but he played with intensity and could end up recording ten plus interceptions. He should have had a pick yesterday, but one bound right off his hands.
As for the safeties, both played reasonably well. Were they spectacular? No, but the Eagles don't need them to play at a spectacular level, just at a level that won't be detrimental to the team. Page is starting to lock down his strong safety job, as he had a couple big hits and was solid in coverage.
Special Teams: B+
Alex Henery calmed his nerves hitting all four extra points and a thirty-four yard field goal. The only thing that could hold him back is his confidence; but he is only going to get more confident with solid performances like yesterday against the Rams.
On the kickoffs, Henery has a powerful leg, but I was expecting more touchbacks.
Chas Henry, the rookie punter, had a 36.3 yard average, but did not have any punts inside the 20 yard line.
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