Midseason Report

Posted: November 8th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 6 Comments »

Here we are at the halfway point of the 2020 season. The Eagles are in first place. Yay. The Eagles are 3-4-1. Ugh. It has been that kind of strange year.

Let’s talk about the players as individuals. Some guys are playing really well. Others are struggling, as the 3-4-1 record would tell you.


WR Travis Fulgham — A revelation. The Eagles have invested money and draft picks in trying to find a star receiver. Nothing. They picked up Fulgham off the street and he has been nothing short of outstanding. Fulgham has a good combination of size and speed. He has excellent hands. Fulgham is comfortable in traffic and can take big hits. Doesn’t go down easily. Red Zone weapon. Knows how to use his size. Good route runner. Able to set up DBs and then get separation. Good on downfield throws. Tracks the ball well and able to catch at full speed. This is not a lucky streak. This is not someone benefiting from great QB play. Fulgham is legit. He has a chance to be an excellent receiver for a long time.

DE Brandon Graham — Graham is so old that his original DC was Sean McDermott. Somehow, Graham is having his most productive season. He’s got 7 sacks, 2 FFs and 9 TFLs. Graham is still a good athlete, but he wins with a relentless motor and great leverage. I thought this might be his final season, but he looks like he’s got plenty left in the tank.

C Jason Kelce — Kelce is so old that he remembers when Riley Cooper had upside. Yikes. Kelce has played beside Matt Pryor, Nate Herbig, Jamon Brown, Isaac Seumalo and Sua Opeta…in the first half of 2020! That’s insane. Somehow Kelce continues to play at a high level. He’s had a few bad snaps and almost a disastrous penalty vs the Giants, but Kelce has mostly been outstanding. That is even more impressive when you consider the various players coming and going from the lineup.

DT Fletcher Cox — There have been issues with the Eagles D this year, but not the middle of the DL. Cox isn’t posting crazy numbers (2.5 sacks, 7 TFLs), but he remains a force. He can eat up blocks when doubled and make plays when he’s just got a single blocker. The Eagles are near the top of the league with 28 sacks in part due to Cox’s ability to push the pocket. One thing that really stands out is how hard he plays. Cox is a veteran star. He could easily take plays off. That doesn’t happen. He chases the ball like he’s a rookie out there trying to prove  himself. Love that kind of effort from a proven veteran.

CB Darius Slay — The Eagles traded for the veteran corner in hopes he would give them a true #1 CB to build their secondary around. Slay has not disappointed. He has been excellent in man coverage. He doesn’t have any INTs yet (the Eagles love his ball skills), but he’s limited star receivers from opposing teams. Slay was a bad tackler in the past, but has made real strides in that part of his game.

DE Josh Sweat — Potential finally turned into production. Sweat is no longer a breakout player to watch. He’s actually a good player. Sweat has 3 sacks, 2 FFs and 6 TFLs. He has played well vs the run and been disruptive as a pass rusher. Sweat has always been a gifted athlete. The technical side of his game finally caught up and he’s playing the best football of his life.

DT Malik Jackson — Jackson has been incredibly disruptive this season. He is tied for the team lead with 11 QB hits, despite missing a full game and parts of others. You can see why the Eagles were excited when they signed him a year ago. Jackson had a reputation as a mediocre run defender, but I think he’s done well vs the run this season.


S Rodney McLeod — McLeod is having arguably the best season of his career. He’s second on the team in tackles. He leads the team with 7 passes defensed. McLeod has recovered 2 fumbles, running one back for a score vs Dallas. He’s also picked off a pass. He’s generally tackled well. I think he is better in the box than playing deep.

QB Carson Wentz — Biggest disappointment of the season. Wentz has been playing “hero ball” too much this year and looks like a human turnover machine. From 2017 through 2019 Wentz started 30 games and threw 21 INTs. This year he has 12 picks in half a season. That is staggering. He’s also got 7 fumbles (some recovered). Beyond the turnovers, Wentz has been erratic with his accuracy and decision-making. He has taken a major step backward this season. Fixing him should be the priority for the final eight games and the offseason.

RB Miles Sanders — If anyone wondered if Sanders 2019 performance was a fluke, the answer is definitely “no”. He’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry and has shown big play ability. It is fair to question his durability, but when healthy, Sanders is a difference-maker. He was doing too much dancing early on, but is doing a better job of hitting the hole. The Eagles haven’t been able to get him involved with the passing game. Much of that is on Wentz either missing him or not seeing him.

S Will Parks — We’ve only seen Parks get two starts, but you can see his ability. He had a pair of impressive TFLs vs Dallas. Watch Parks tackle and compare that to Jalen Mills. Parks flies downhill and hits with real power. He is a physical defender. We haven’t seen enough of Parks in coverage to know that side of things.

S Jalen Mills — Up and down season. Mills is third on the team in tackles. He’s made some plays, but he’s still adjusting to playing safety and spending so much time in the box. Mills hasn’t made you think he’s the long term answer at SS. He does have some potential, but would need really good players around him.

DE Derek Barnett — Injuries have once again been an issue, but Barnett has only missed one full game. He has played well when on the field. Barnett has 3.5 sacks and is second on the team in QB hits (8). He’s added some new moves to his pass rush game and he’s been more disruptive off the edge.

TE Zach Ertz — Major disappointment. Ertz is still very talented, but something isn’t working this year. Remains a great route runner. Usually has good hands, but has had some drops. Something just isn’t clicking between Ertz and Wentz this year. It is possible that worries about his contract situation have affected his play. We know that situation has been on his mind since the summer. It will be interesting to see if Ertz plays better when he returns from injury.

LB Nate Gerry — Another disappointment. In the past, Gerry struggled as a tackler. He’s actually cleaned that up this year, but coverage is a major issue. The Eagles are getting lit up by TEs just about every week and Gerry is the primary issue. Some guys have beaten him because they are simply better (you can live with that), but there are too many times when Gerry is late getting into coverage because he’s slow to read a play correctly and know if run or pass. That would be okay for a rookie, but not an experienced starter. Making matters worse, Gerry has terrible instincts.

DT Javon Hargrave — The Eagles expected an impact DT. Hargrave has been anything but that. Injuries and learning a new system have hurt Hargrave. He hasn’t been shooting gaps and making plays. He hasn’t been particularly great vs the run. I did think Hargrave played his best game last week so maybe the light is comng on for him.

PK Jake Elliott — He is 8 of 12 this year. Each of those four misses has been costly. Really struggling from beyond 50. The Eagles need to challenge him. In an era when so many kickers are great, Elliott isn’t good enough at his current level.


OT Jordan Mailata — Finally got on the field and showed he can actually play. Has started at LT and RT. Good athlete with tremendous size. Looks natural in his kick slide. Pad level can still be an issue. Let’s rushers get under him and they can use Mailata’s size against him. Got burned by inside moves in the Dallas game. Still, very encouraging overall. There are clips in each game where you go “wow”. Looks like a future starter to me. At the very least, will be the Eagles swing tackle in 2021.

LB Alex Singleton — Due to time in the CFL, Singleton isn’t all that young. He is getting his first significant NFL playing time. Singleton has flashed. I don’t see him as a long term answer, but he’s played well the past few weeks. Good tackler. Good blitzer. Better in zone coverage than in man. Let him watch the QB and he’ll do a good job of playing the passing lanes. Singleton plays with a lot of emotion and that has brought a spark to the defense.

LB T.J. Edwards — Injuries cost Edward three games, but he’s played well when he is on the field. Strong, physical tackler. Smart, instinctive LB. Does a good job of using his hands to shed blockers. Limited athlete and that will keep him off the field in a lot of passing situations.

WR Jalen Reagor — Very promising rookie. Legit speed. Can get deep and make plays. Also dangerous on short throws. Good RAC ability. Get him the ball.

WR Greg Ward — Another player proving 2019 was no fluke, but in a good and bad way. Ward has a career high 32 catches and 3 TDs, but he’s averaging only 7.6 yards per catch. Limited playmaker. Usually sure-handed, but did have a key drop in the Dallas game. You love underdog types like Ward, but ideally you replace him with a better athlete and someone who is more of a playmaker.

WR John Hightower — The Eagles had to force Hightower into the lineup more than they probably would have liked to. He has shown legit NFL ability. Big time speed. Has multiple 50-yard receptions this year. Deep game needs a lot of work, though. Struggles to track the ball and then catch it while going full speed. Must improve as a blocker, on runs and screens. Needs to adjust to the physicality of the NFL. Off to a promising start.

OL Nate Herbig — Injuries forced Herbig to play and he really struggled early. Adjusted to the speed of the game and has now become an effective starter. Gets good push in the run game. Able to anchor in pass pro. Shows pretty good awareness on blitzes. Herbig could be a solid starter in the future. Has shown the ability to play both LG and RG. Lack of one spot has hurt his development, but increased his value to the team.

OL Matt Pryor — Pryor got to play late last year and I hoped he would build on that experience. Pryor has been a disappointment for me. He’s played RG and RT, so that versatility is appreciated, but he’s struggled at both spots. Slow off the ball. Erratic in pass pro. Should be really good as a run blocker due to his size and strength, but you just don’t see enough of that. Barring a major improvement, should only be brought back next year as a third stringer. His lack of development is frustrating. Herbig is already a better player and in less time.

WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside — Good blocker.

RB Boston Scott — I thought Scott was ready to be the team’s #2 RB. Things have not gone great this year. The primary problems are that Scott has had to play more than you would want and that he’s playing behind a makeshift OL.  If you can just mix him in, you’re fine. If you can give him a strong supporting cast, you’re fine. I think we’ve seen that ideally Scott would be your #3 RB. He has made some really impressive catches this year.

QB Jalen Hurts — Too many people obsess on Hurts draft position. Save that for criticism of Howie Roseman. Let’s focus on Hurts as a player. He’s been good as a gadget player. Hurts is 9-51 as a runner. When he’s on the field, he impacts the defense and has helped open things up for teammates. Hurts hasn’t been very effective in the Red Zone. I think that is more on the coaches than him. As a QB, Hurts is 2-2-27. Both throws were accurate. That’s obviously way too small a sample size to make any conclusions.


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