By Chip Keagy, AATSN Co-Host
Watch Chips and Dish every Monday at 9pm
Signature win. The Eagles came out and DOMINATED the first half of football. The second half was not so much. While the Eagles are now in playoff contention squarely, some of the old issues reared their ugly heads. Here's the grade book for an incomplete game victory.
Coaching Staff: B-
Had the Eagles played a complete game, this would be an A easily. The Eagles allowed this Saints team to get back in the game when they were utterly defeated going into the half. The defense was back to their soft coverage and playing way off the ball after the beginning of the game attacking relentlessly. They have to clean up their penalties once again as well. As the Eagles begin their playoff push, the coaches have to insist on a 60 minute effort each and every week.
Jalen Hurts the passer was just ok. He was JUST above 50% completion and had no INTS or TDs. He game managed them to a win as a passer. He also underthrew multiple wide open receivers a few time and held the ball entirely too long frequently. HOWEVER, his rushing was out of this world. Jalen Hurts has done enough to AT LEAST get the opportunity to lead this team next year. Nobody in the draft is better than him. Jalen Hurts has to work on getting through his progressions quicker and making the correct read on the zone options. He slid at or behind the line way too many times which means it was not the correct assessment of the defense. But Jalen Hurts the ATHLETE won this game for the Eagles today.
Running Backs: B+
Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders are an exceptionally formidable 1-2 punch. In his return, Sanders rushed for almost 100 yards but his fumble inside the Eagles own 15 yard line was inexcusable once. The fact that it almost happened a 2nd time would've put all momentum squarely into the Saint's advantage. The Eagles offensive identity is the run game. This group will continue to be vital to the success of this team.
Wide Receivers: C-
Outside of Devonta Smith making the most of his opportunities and JJAW having his only catch of the year, this group wasn't good. No catches for Watkins and Jalen Reagor losing a yard on his only catch can't happen. At this point, I would prefer Gainwell suits and plays in the slot of Reagor in the return game and the passing game. Since the Eagles are so committed to the run, the WRs have to make the most of their chances when they get them.
Tight Ends: B+
Dallas Goedert was the leading receiver but had a BAD drop on a catch able ball. He signed a big TE1 level contract but didn't play at that tier today. Need more of an output from him on a weekly basis. Heck, Adam Trautman was more effective today...
Offensive Line: A-
They rushed for over 200 yards again! Can't question how effective this group is with that statistic alone. Kelce and Mailata had HUGE blocks today that were highlight worthy against a very tough front 4. Mailata also had a play where he stood around and his QB took a hit. Driscoll struggled today as well. This group allowed 3 sacks on Hurts and a bunch more hits. The long term effectiveness of QB1 means the OL has to keep him upright a little better.
Defensive Line: C-
The offensive line for the Saints was a bunch of rookies and nobodies. The QB was the 3rd string option. The RB was the backup. The defensive line should've feasted today. Instead, the defensive line got no sacks and allowed Siemian to look good in the 2nd half and Ingram to look good all game. The ONLY redeeming factor for the DLine was that Fletcher Cox caused a fumble.
TJ Edwards had an incredible game today including a fumble recovery and an INT. The rest of the Linebackers...not so much. They allowed an old Mark Ingram to run all over them and a no-name TE in Adam Trautman who was ONLY good at blocking before today to look great today. This is the pattern of the linebackers for the Eagles. It's also something that has to get fixed.
DARIUS SLAY earns an A+. The rest of them earned a C+...combined they get the score they did. After Slay left the game, Trevor Siemian looked incredible. Threw it wherever he wanted to and finished with a good stat line. The soft coverage became a problem once again. And Steven Nelson got beat by a guy named "Lil'Jordan"...Slay who is in conversation for DPOY needs to come back healthy and quickly.
Special Teams: B
Jake Elliot has been really tremendous this year. Perfect on the day and did everything he was asked. Sippos kicked well but had to boot from his own endzone a few times. Jalen Reagor is ineffective in the return game. It has to stop because he is actually hurting the team being back there.
OVERALL GRADE: B-
The Eagles did not put forth a full game effort. But they got the win and put up a 40 spot against a good defensive team. They are now in the playoff conversation which is something a few weeks ago nobody was saying.