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Is there anything in football more divisive than Pro Football Focus grades?
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Is there anything in football more divisive than Pro Football Focus grades?

No? Good. Fact is www.authenticsphiladelphiaeagles.com , you either hate them or love them, but I do believe that they serve as a solid guide and are necessary to their business model.With that in mind, let’s see who PFF has as the top 5 graded players on the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles halfway through the season.(you can learn more about the PFF grading system here)Fletcher Cox – 92.4 (2nd, IDL)Cox is putting together his best season in his quest for hardware and is the Eagles’ most consistent performer week-to-week. His 49 pressures rank 2nd among all defenders and he’s on pace for 8 sacks on the season, a large number for an interior defender.He’s doing this while constantly receiving extra attention and center slides that free up his running mates to inflict damage on enemy quarterbacks. For example, in the Atlanta Falcons Week 1 game I charted his 46 pass rushes and found that he received a double or meaningful contact from a second blocker on 59% of those snaps.He’s also been a force in the middle on the Eagles’ 4th ranked run defense.Outside of Aaron Donald, no defensive lineman is putting together the complete season Cox has to this point.Brandon Graham - 90.3 (3rd, EDGE)Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the sack number (1.5) isn’t reflecting how well Brandon Graham is playing. Graham has accumulated 24 pressures, second on the team to Cox, and ranks 15th in PFF’s pass rush productivity metric for edge defenders. That said, there’s a discussion to be had about if the lack of finishes from Graham is due to a lack of juice caused by his long recovery from an ankle injury suffered last year.Putting that aside, he’s still been impactful in all areas of the game. A dog against the run and a match-up problem when kicked inside against the pass, Graham has a complete, steady game and is capable from rushing the passer and stopping the run from all alignments.As an aside, is it actually a good thing for the Eagles that Graham’s sack numbers aren’t reflecting his level of play? It could come into play when Howie Roseman sits down with Graham at the negotiation table. Just a thought.Carson Wentz - 83.9 (9th, QB)We can bicker about his ranking, but here’s what matters: Wentz is back and he is the same franchise quarterback that he was before his injury. After knocking off some rust in a tight contest against the Indianapolis Colts, Wentz’s terrific play since returning has quieted the lazy off-season media talk that he might be the next Robert Griffin III.His trademark escapability has remained a key part of his game and remains a plus for him despite the occasional slips into unnecessary hero ball. His ability to extend plays has led to some key plays for the Eagles and even garnered the praise of Jacksonville Jaguars’ lineman Calais Campbell.Wentz has thrown for multiple touchdowns in 5 straight games while only throwing 2 interceptions this season. He’s completing 70.7% of his passes, a feat made only more impressive considering his yards per attempt are up from last year (7.5 > 7.9). A lot of this has to do with his excellent ability to place balls in tight windows which has been aided by the return of Alshon Jeffery.As fans Philadelphia Eagles T-Shirt , we have an anxiety-filled second half of the season ahead of us, but having Wentz for that stretch and beyond makes things a little easier. Warts and all, there’s not many quarterbacks in the league that can play at his level.Jason Kelce - 81.0 (1st, C)There wasn’t a better center in the league last year than Jason Kelce and the same can be said for this year. To be clear, Kelce hasn’t been as dominant as last year, but his current standing among centers reflects how magnificent he was in 2017. He hasn’t shown up on any injury reports, but he has worn a brace on his knee and there’s been talk of him getting extra rest during the week to ensure he’s as close to 100% as possible on game day.Injury or not, he’s the catalyst for the Eagles’ offense and allows them to be so diverse in their schemes. His work in space is elite and he consistently gets to the second level of the defense to seal off linebackers.He’s also been stout as a pass protector. Kelce is a much needed anchor in the middle of a line that has surrendered far too many sacks this year. His 99.3 pass blocking efficiency ranks 3rd among all centers and he’s allowed 0 sacks and only 5 pressures on the year.Kelce always had an excellent all-around game, but in the last two years he’s avoided the drive-crippling penalties and snap blunders that plagued his game in the past. This has allowed him to showcase the full range of his game without a frustrating shadow looming over it. Plus, he will live forever in Eagles’ and NFL lore for the greatest Super Bowl parade speech of all-time.Lane Johnson - 77.9 (9th, T)I’ll admit, I was surprised when I saw how high Lane Johnson ranked despite mine and Benjamin Solak’s protestations that he wasn’t nearly as bad as some were making him out to be earlier in the season. There’s no question that he has been beat clean more than we are accustomed to seeing, but Wentz’s ball security issues and some bad luck also exacerbated those plays and blew them up to be more than what they were.That’s an opinion, one you may disagree with, and that’s fine. I’ll concede he definitely wasn’t playing at the level we expected, but the rumblings about benching him was a bridge too far. [Image: nike_eagles_316.jpg]
We also can’t ignore his contributions in the run game, which bolster his grade.What I think we can all agree on is that Johnson returning as soon as possible from his MCL sprain is critical to this offensive line. Jason Peters has struggled and will be on the injury report for every remaining week this year. That fact, coupled with Johnson’s injury, is going to lead to some weird configurations along a thin offensive line that could prove disastrous.After surrendering 19 pressures and 4 sacks in the first four games of the season Philadelphia Eagles Hats , Johnson rebounded and spent the next four games allowing only 7 pressures and 1 sack. This was done while battling through a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 5. It’s not often you see a struggling player turn his season around while hobbled, but the talk around Johnson has shifted from one of concern about his play, to one of concern about him not playing.The Best of the RestWith the off-season injury to Timmy Jernigan and in-season injury of Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett (77.7) has proven to be a key addition and an absolute terror. Alshon Jeffery’s return (76.7) has been crucial for an offense that lacked outside weapons to start the season. The 33-year old Chris Long (76.5) continues to play at a high level and his contributions will be even more important moving forward.14 thoughts on the Eagles heading into their Week 2 game against the Buccaneers On to Week 2 and a date in Tampa against a Buccaneers team that stole the show in New Orleans, outscoring the Saints 48-40 and scoring a titanic upset victory. After a three-day weekend off for the players, it’s back to work time for a team that has a great opportunity to bank some victories in these unpredictable days of September. I’m glad the Bucs played as well as they did in New Orleans. They deserve major respect after that game.Some thoughts on the matchup and on the Eagles after the 18-12 win over Atlanta last Thursday 鈥his is a great test for the Eagles’ pass defense. Tampa Bay has wide receivers Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin along with tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. That is as impressive a receiving corps as there is in the NFL. Tampa Bay runs the ball poorly and has an average offensive line. Jackson, by the way, left late in Sunday’s game with a concussion, so that bears watching this week (as does a shoulder injury suffered by cornerback Vernon Hargreaves). It’s going to be 90 degrees, high humidity and nasty. Depth along the defensive line and throughout the defense will be tested. But the Eagles have to like the matchup against a one-dimensional offense that they now can study on tape.Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns against New Orleans and added a running touchdown. He’s run for more than 2,000 yards in his 14-year NFL career. He’s a solid quarterback. But he’s also prone to turnovers, which is where having a few extra days to prepare helps Jim Schwartz and his defense that welcomes linebacker Nigel Bradham back after his one-game suspension.Speaking of this defense, what’s striking is the overall speed. Familiarity in the scheme and great communication shows up when you watch this group. Ronald Darby can run with the fastest receivers down the field. Jalen Mills is playing with more confidence and has better technique. Sidney Jones has a chance to be a real stud in the nickel. The safeties are excellent.Derek Barnett must play with more discipline than he showed on Thursday night. He was called twice for defensive offside, and both times his penalties negated Eagles sacks on third down.Would the Eagles find a way to activate rookie defensive end Josh Sweat on Sunday, just to have another fresh set of legs available in the heat?The offense labored for much of the night against Atlanta and the challenge is to make the passing game more explosive. The Eagles need to win more matchups on the outside with Mike Wallace and Nelson Agholor. It’s a tricky, hold-on-until-help-arrives situation for the passing game. Alshon Jeffery will make a difference, but he’s not ready yet. Agholor is great inside and good on the outside, but he had no yards after the catch against an outstanding Atlanta offense last week. DeAndre Carter has some juice as an inside receiver Philadelphia Eagles Hoodie , but no experience. We might see some of Shelton Gibson on Sunday to get more speed on the field.Love that Doug Pederson sticks with the running game. Makes a difference. The Eagles had 8 carries and 57 yards in the fourth quarter against Atlanta. Pederson knows his personnel, knows he has a road-grading offensive line and that he is three-deep in the backfield. The running game is off to a solid start, with more to come once the Eagles get the passing game in gear.Good for punter Cameron Johnston, who has come such a long way since the spring and early summer when he was so inconsistent in practice. He changed field position on Thursday night.How does it work with Beau Allen and Vinny Curry, former Eagles now with the Bucs? Does the fact that they have a sense of what’s happening with the Eagles help the Bucs more, or does it help the Eagles more knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each player? Tampa Bay’s pass defense was horrible against New Orleans and if Hargreaves and/or Brent Grimes (groin injury, did not play at New Orleans) is out, it’s going to be even harder for the Bucs to keep up.No lingering injuries to report from Thursday. Jason Kelce is banged up a bit but he’s OK and Jason Peters, who left the field after the Ajayi touchdown provided the winning points, is fine. Peters is so great and so valuable you just keep your fingers crossed with him every day.Dallas Goedert is the real deal. Don’t worry. The Eagles will use more two-tight end personnel packages and get Goedert and Zach Ertz – who did not play his best game on Thursday – very much more involved in the passing game.Corey Clement is the most underrated player on this team. He is a complete running back who, I’ll say here, will be capable of being the lead running back in this offense by November. I think he’s that good. How many more tricks can Doug Pederson pull out of his bag? He’s got the Philly Special/Philly Philly thing going full flight and I think he will call some version of that down the road. He’s got Nelson Agholor lined up as a running back. He has overloaded offensive line formations. Fourth down is always a 50/50 proposition on going for it or punting. What’s next? Would he do some Wildcat? Some Jet Sweep stuff with Agholor and/or Carter? A double reverse? A halfback throwing a pass?Finally, the wide receiver position clearly is being challenged as the Eagles signed three new ones, headlined by Braxton Miller, to the team’s practice squad. You are going to see Howie Roseman study that position both on this roster and on the other 31 rosters much as he did last year with running back, which led to the trade to acquire Ajayi. The Eagles have offensive line depth and some draft picks in the future as trade currency, should they choose to use it.This feature is a weekly piece on BleedingGreenNation.com titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.
01-26-2019 04:51 AM
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