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Philadelphia Eagles

Stat pace for the Eagles at the halfway point

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

8 games into the season, the Eagles are officially at the halfway mark of the 2018 NFL season. How are the starters playing from a stat standpoint?

Let’s check out the notable 16 game pace for the offense and defense on the stat sheet.

Offense 

Oct 28 2018; London, United Kingdom; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) makes a run during the third quarter of the NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

QB Carson Wentz: 70% completion percentage 3,576 YDS 26 TD 4 INT

It didn’t seem possible that Wentz could improve from his record-breaking 2017 performance but he has. Wentz has made the same jaw-dropping plays with his arm and legs but he has improved dramatically with his accuracy.

Wentz is currently completing 70% of his throws while still averaging eight yards per attempt. He is averaging 273.7 passing yards a game and if he keeps this up with a second-half run of wins, he might be thrown into the MVP conversation.

Oct 28, 2018; London, United Kingdom; Philadelphia Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood (28) carries the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third quarter during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

RB Wendell Smallwood: 120 carries 514 YDS 2 TD 4.3 YPC

RB Corey Clement: 100 carries 334 YDS 4 TD 3.3 YPC 

RB Josh Adams: 40 carries 214 YDS 0 TD 5.4 YPC  

QB Cason Wentz: 42 carries 178 yards 0 TD 

Rushing Total: 1,706 YDS 12 TD 4.1 YPC

The final stats also come from injured running backs like Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles, as well as carries from wide receivers. The main takeaway here is this backfield will continue to be a committee-type approach.

Crazy turnaround for Smallwood who went from an inactive player down the stretch last year to the lead ball carrier this year with over 100 carries.

Clement has been a disappointment so far but hopefully, he can exceed these numbers and get that 3.3 YPC number up significantly. He was expected to be a big part of the offense this year.

Expect Josh Adams to increase his yardage projection but it will be hard to sustain the 5.4 YPC he has currently. Adams has run the ball really well when he is given the opportunity. Expect the rookie to be a big part of the backfield in the final eight games.

Sep 30, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) and Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) celebrate after a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

TE Zach Ertz: 122 REC 1,288 YDS 6 TD 

WR Nelson Agholor: 82 REC 744 YDS 2 TD 

WR Alshon Jeffery: 58 REC 682 YDS 8 TD 

WR Jordan Matthews: 20 REC 400 YDS 2 TD 

TE Dallas Goedert: 36 REC 376 YDS 6 TD 

RB Wendell Smallwood: 30 REC 286 YDS 4 TD 

Some promising numbers here. Zach Ertz is on pace to crush the all-time receptions record for a season that was set by future HOF TE Jason Witten. He is also close to breaking Rob Gronkowski’s single-season yardage mark if he can surpass 1,300 yards. He has put up WR1 numbers which is mind-blowing. Ertz has been the best TE in football this year.

Jeffery, Ertz, and Dallas Goedert have been red-zone nightmares this year, on pace to combine for 20 touchdowns.

Nelson Agholor’s 82 receptions would be 14 more than last year’s 68 but his yardage would be down by 24. A lot of that has to do with his usage and now that Golden Tate has been added to the mix, expect Agholor to get more shots down the field which should get him close to the 800-yard mark.

Sep 6, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce (62) prepares to snap the ball against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line

7th in pass blocking efficiency 

5th in run blocking efficiency

The offensive line was a huge liability in pass protection over the first five weeks of the season but ever since the Vikings loss, it has looked like the Eagles line of old.

Starting Issac Seaumalo at left guard has worked out pretty well but the line will need to overcome Lane Johnson’s MCL injury for the next few games, while Jason Peters continues to play through multiple injuries including a torn bicep.

 

Defense

Oct 21, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs away from Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) during the fourth quarter during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line

DT Fletcher Cox: 50 TKL 8 Sacks 28 QB Hits 62 Hurries 

DE Michael Bennett: 32 TKL 7 Sacks 24 QB Hits 40 Hurries  

DE Brandon Graham: 44 TKL 3 Sacks 8 QB Hits 64 Hurries 

DE Chris Long: 26 TKL 6 Sacks 18 QB Hits 34 Hurries 

The defensive line is still a top unit against the run and pass.

Fletcher Cox is playing like a DPOY candidate, on pace for 8 sacks and over 60 QB hurries. Unreal with all the double teams he gets.

Michael Bennett has had one of the most underrated seasons of any Eagle, constantly getting to the QB. If some brutal penalties weren’t called against Bennett this year, his numbers would be even higher.

Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham (53) celebrates after a sack against the New York Giants during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers 

LB Jordan Hicks: 142 Tackles 6 Sacks 4 TFL 8 PD 

LB Nigel Bradham 82 Tackes 4 Sacks 4 PD 

Bradham and Hicks continue to be one of the best LB combos in the NFL. They are on pace for 10 sacks combined as Jim Schwartz as dialed up more blitzes this year, allowing the two athletic LBs to get after the quarterback.

Oct 21, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) deflects a pass intended for Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith (11) in the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Secondary

S Malcolm Jenkins: 84 TKL 4 TFL 12 PD 2 FF 2  REC 0 INT 

CB Jalen Mills: 84 TKL 2 TFL 18 PD 0 INT 

CB Ronald Darby: 76 TKL 2 TFL 24 PD 2 INT 

S Avonte Maddox: 38 TKL 2 TFL 2 PD 2 INT 2 FF 

CB Sidney Jones: 34 TKL 4 TFL 2 PD 

CB Rasul Douglas: 4 TKL 4 PD 2 INT 

Jim Schwartz wants his corners to be able to tackle but it isn’t a good sign when the starting outside corners combine for over 150 tackles. It is a strong suit of Mills but the high tackle numbers come as a direct result of the soft coverage the Eagles used throughout the first half of the season.

Malcolm Jenkins continues to be a Swiss-Army knife for this Eagles defense.

Rasul Douglas hasn’t played a lot in 2018 but when he has, he makes plays when the defense needs him.

Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox have been the unsung heros of the secondary. Both have played positions that they sparingly played in college with Maddox moving to safety to replace Rodney McLeod, and Sidney Jones moving inside to replace Patrick Robinson in the slot. Both have stepped up in those areas this year.

Need. More. Turnovers.

Sep 30, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott (4) is congratulated by Philadelphia Eagles punter Cameron Johnston (1) after a field goal to end the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams 

K Jake Elliott: 12-16 FG, 4-4 20-29, 7-8 30-39, 1-2 40-49, 0-2 50+, 18-18 XP 

P Cameron Johnston: Long of 68 YDS 49.9 AVG 43.7 NET IN20 11 

Elliott has been up and down this season. He has struggled with longer kicks that last year he had no issue making but his short yardage kicking has been a lot better.

Johnston has been a great surprise for the Eagles in replacing Donnie Jones.

 

Louie, an Eagles, and NFL enthusiast all his life has finally found his home to share his thousands of takes on the Philadelphia Eagles with Locked on Eagles. Louie also works in Buffalo sports radio as a producer for WGR Sports Radio 550 the official home of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, in addition to working as the Sports Director for 91.3 FM WBNY Buffalo. He may be far from the nest, but Louie bleeds green just like the rest of Eagles Nation. Fly Eagles Fly.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Wentz vs Star Quarterbacks

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

In just three seasons, Carson Wentz has gone from a young, promising future star to an actual star in the NFL.

Most objective NFL fans (not looking at you Cowboy fans) would go through their top 10 QB list and have Wentz there.

NFL players have the same belief as they voted Wentz the #3 overall player on the 2017 NFL Top 100 list.

As the Eagles head to New Orleans to take on the 8-1 Saints, Wentz is set to take on another star QB, and future hall of famer in Drew Brees.

In three seasons, how has Wentz fared against opposing star quarterbacks?

2016

Week 3 Eagles vs Steelers: Wentz vs Ben Roethlisberger

Result: Eagles win 

Wentz statline: 23/31 301 YDS 2 TD 0 INT

Roethlisberger statline: 24/44 257 YDS 0 TD 1 INT

 

Week 10 Eagles vs Falcons: Wentz vs Matt Ryan 

Result: Eagles win

Wentz statline: 25/36 231 YDS 0 TD 0 INT

Ryan statline: 18/33 267 1 TD 1 INT

 

Week 11 Eagles vs Seahawks: Wentz vs Russell Wilson

Result: Eagles lose

Wentz statline: 23/45 218 YDS 2 TD 2 INT

Wilson statline: 18/31 272 YDS 1 TD 0 INT

 

Week 12 Eagles vs Packers: Wentz vs Aaron Rodgers 

Result: Eagles lose 

Wentz statline: 24/36 254 YDS 0 TD 1 Rushing TD 1 INT

Rodgers statline: 30/39 313 YDS 2 TD 0 INT

 

2017 

Week 4 Eagles vs Chargers: Wentz vs Philip Rivers 

Result: Eagles win 

Wentz statline: 17/31 242 YDS 1 TD 0 INT

Rivers statline: 22/38 347 YDS 2 TD 0 INT

 

Week 6 Eagles vs Panthers: Wentz vs Cam Newton 

Result: Eagles win 

Wentz statline: 16/30 222 YDS 3 TD 0 INT

Newton statline: 28/52 239 YDS 1 TD 3 INT

 

Week 13 Eagles vs Seahawks: Wentz vs Russell Wilson 

Result: Eagles lose

Wentz statline: 29/45 348 YDS 1 TD 1 INT

Wilson statline: 20/31 227 YDS 3 TD 0 INT

 

Week 14 Eagles vs Rams: Wentz vs Jared Goff 

Result: Eagles win 

Wentz statline: 23/41 291 YDS 4 TD 1 INT

Goff statline: 16/26 199 YDS 2 TD 0 INT

 

2018

Week 3 Eagles vs Colts: Wentz vs Andrew Luck

Result: Eagles win 

Wentz statline: 25/37 255 YDS 1 TD 1 INT

Luck statline: 25/40 164 YDS 1 TD 0 INT

 

Week 7 Eagles vs Panthers: Wentz vs Cam Newton 

Result: Eagles lose

Wentz statline: 30/37 310 YDS 2 TD 0 INT

Newton statline: 25/39 269 YDS 2 TD 0 INT

 

Total record: 6-4

Wentz total statline: 2,672 YDS 16 TD 6 INT

Opposing star QB total statline: 2,554 YDS 15 TD 5 INT

Overall not a bad resume for Wentz against other star QBs. A winning record, more yards and touchdowns. The Eagles defense plays a big part in the opposing signal caller’s numbers but even in 2016 when Wentz had virtually no help on offense, he has played up to the level of competition from the star quarterback on the other side of the field.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Turning the season around with snow?

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

On this Friday edition of Locked on Eagles, Louie dives into how perhaps a day of practice in the snow can spark the Eagles second half run.

Is not playing loose enough a problem for the Eagles? What match-ups are key against the Saints?

All that, thoughts from Locked on Saints Host Ross Jackson, and more!

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Philadelphia Eagles

An honest evaluation of Rasul Douglas

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Step aside Jalen Mills. Rasul Douglas is the new public enemy #1 on Eagles Twitter.

All season long Eagles fans have called for Douglas to get playing time as starting corners Mills and Ronald Darby have played up and down all season.

The #FreeSul campaign got their wish on Sunday Night as Douglas started on the outside against the Cowboys.

The results did not totally destroy the brand….but it certainly didn’t help it.

To the film room we go.

The good:

Douglas didn’t have a good game by any stretch of the imagination. But he also didn’t play bad enough to believe he is the next Bradley Fletcher like some have him set to be.

On this play Douglas does a good job of staying with Cooper in the end zone, keeping him close to the sideline. Good leverage and he put himself in a position to make a play on the ball if it came his way.

Douglas has been strong in the red zone this year.

When Douglas plays up, he has more success when jamming at the line. It allows him to use his length and stop receivers from opening him up. Here, Douglas does a good job of bumping the receiver who stumbles and can’t gain any separation.

Gallup couldn’t create any separation from Douglas who once again does a nice job tying up the receiver.

Douglas didn’t have a great day when it comes to tackling but a lot of that came from hesitation and getting caught in the wrong spots. On this play Douglas reads Prescott going to the out route at the 50 and closes in to make a great open field tackle. When he wants to be, Douglas can be a very forceful tackler for a CB.

More examples of that tackling ability when Douglas takes the right angle and shoots to the ball.

Douglas shows a lot of patience against Amari Cooper on this play. Cooper tries to turn Douglas inside but Douglas doesn’t bite and runs toe to toe down the sideline, keeping Cooper on the outside with little room to work with.

 

The bad: 

Despite showing some positive signs, Douglas didn’t instill confidence in fans that he could replace Darby who most likely won’t be in Philadelphia after this season.

There were too many plays were Cooper manipulated Douglas’s hips to go wherever he wanted them to.

In a previous play shown Douglas did a good job not quickly biting on Coopers first step. This play was a different story as Cooper turned Douglas outside and then cut inside into the end zone. Luckily Dak Prescott isn’t Carson Wentz or this might be a touchdown.

Two more examples of Cooper beating Douglas with a good sell on his first cut. Cooper once again gets Douglas to commit outside with his hips while making another move inside. It is tougher for Douglas to get caught in these situations as he doesn’t have the quick footwork and hip movement to recover as well as someone like Sidney Jones or Avonte Maddox.

This was a brutal play for Douglas. On this screen, Douglas has a responsibility to protect the outside. Instead, he stays inside and has no shot of getting back to his spot with blockers already set up. Truthfully it looked like Douglas had cinder blocks attached to his feet. He didn’t move his feet and was badly out of position. Gotta fly to the ball.

Blame should go to Douglas for his play, but Jim Schwartz shouldn’t get a pass either. A coaches job is to put his players in the best position to succeed. Douglas isn’t the most athletic corner and he needs reps to grow his patience and route recognition.

Schwartz knowing that, should have allowed Douglas to get his hands on receivers at the line so he could better position himself to make plays on the ball and stay with receivers.

The way Douglas was getting turned inside-out with these first steps, Schwartz should have adjusted his gameplan. Instead, Dallas moves the chains on a crucial drive late in the game because Douglas gets put on ice skates.

Once the NCAA leader in interceptions, Douglas has a knack for making plays on the ball when he is in the right position.

The coaches have to do a better job of getting him in positions to make those kinds of plays in man coverage which West Virginia rarley used with Douglas.

Against excellent route runners like Amari Cooper (and Michael Thomas coming up), his weaknesses can be exposed.

When he was able to get his hands on Cooper or play off in man or zone, he was much more effective.  That should have been the game plan all night long.

With Darby out for the season after tearing his ACL, Douglas is going to get 7 crucial games to prove he can be a starter in 2019.

It wasn’t a great first step against Dallas but it wasn’t a catastrophic performance that has sealed Douglas’s fate.

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