Grading the Game: Week 1 @ATL
By: Chip Keagy, AATSN Co-host
Watch Chip on Chips and Dish every Monday night at 9pm
A new season means it is time to break out the gradebook again! The Eagles have a whole lot of new surrounding the organization and it was all on display Sunday afternoon in Atlanta. Philadelphia took care of business and demolished a rebuilding Falcons team. How did each position group stack up? Lets begin today's class!
Coaching Staff: B
Nick Sirianni was brand new and had a ton of doubters about whether or not he could do the job. Yet, Coach didn't let anything deter him from his consistent message of competition and brotherhood. Sirianni's offense put up 30 points for the first time in a very long time. They beat up on a weaker opponent and didn't let up at all. Sirianni made excellent use of his timeouts and was about as steady as can be. Gannon's defense did not allow a touchdown and showed how strong the front 4 can be. The two things preventing this from being even higher were the penalties and the poor play calling when they did decide to go for it on 4th down. Gainwell wasn't the option there and in a closer game, this was a mistake. I believe that Sirianni and company will get it cleaned up.
Jalen Hurts was sensational. Threw for close to 300 yards and rushed for another 60. 3 TDs and nothing that even closely resembled a dangerous throw. Another guy who was told all off-season that he couldn't and he showed up and proved that he COULD. He does still struggle with arm strength (underthrown ball to Ertz that could've been an easy TD) but he can improve there. Needs to work on finding that second and even third read but an excellent job by QB1.
Running Backs: B
When given their opportunities, Sanders and Gainwell did a decent job. Both backs averaged over 4 yards per carry and Gainwell even scored his first career TD. Sanders caught a few balls out of the backfield and showed that he is due for a breakout season. Still, there were times when they didn't hit the holes quick enough and that is something that needs fixing.
Wide Receivers: B
15 catches combined between Smith, Reagor, and Watkins for 143 yards and 2 TDs. A respectable number. But it was HOW it was done. Watkins showing his quickness in space, Reagor showing absolute burners on a TD run and Smith being as sure handed as it comes. This group is young and impressive. Yet the dead weight in room is glaring in JJAW (blocking good, no catches bad) and Ward Jr (barely on the field today). Those that mattered today, played very well.
Tight Ends: B
76 yards on 6 combined catches with a TD. Dallas Goedert played very well and showed that he is willing to lay it all on the line for that next contract. Zach Ertz made a great catch on a terribly underthrown ball. This duo is going to be troublesome for defenses as the season goes on. They were solid today.
Offensive Line: B-
They manhandled the Falcons defensive front all day. Jordan Mailata buried a guy on Reagor's touchdown and got all of Philadelphia pumped for his new contract. Lane Johnson did not have a good day between penalties and getting beat on some quick end rushes. This group got called for a lot of penalties as well so they must improve in that regard.
Defensive Line: B
Up until the 4th quarter, this group was underwhelming. They were getting beat by Mike Davis and over pursuing. Then as the game went on, the Falcons line got tired and Hargrave destroyed Matt Ryan multiple times. Brandon Graham had a monster hit on Mike Davis and this group showed how strong they are.
Wilson (7 tackles) and Singleton (5 tackles) led a group that played pretty well but struggled in the first half to stop a very subpar Falcon run game. Then they woke up and Atlanta became incapable of moving the ball at all. This is a much improved effort by a glaring weakness from last season.
This group held a very dangerous Matt Ryan to under 175 yards passing. They may not have gotten the turnovers they wanted but there was also no real threat of getting beat at any point today. Steven Nelson and Darius Slay played very well as did K'Von Wallace who had to come in for the injured Marcus Epps. Anthony Harris had a good game as well, helping keep the presumed dangerous Kyle Pitts to 4 catches for 31 yards. Another weak group from a year ago who played with a chip on their shoulder today.
Special Teams: A
Nothing fancy in the return game and Jake Elliot was good enough with his few tries. This group gets its major props because of Arryn Siposs. He had an incredible game and averaged over 47 yards per punt. Out of his 4 kicks, 3 of them were pinned inside the 20. It was nice to see a punter take such a focus on his craft again!
OVERALL GRADE: A
Got to cut down on penalties and get turnovers. It has been 1 game against a bad Atlanta team. Yet this team did what you are supposed to do to bad squads. Beat them up and never give them a chance. It was enjoyable to watch Eagles football again and I think we will be ready for the 49ers next week!