time2rock Posted November 13, 2022 Share Posted November 13, 2022 Eagles report cards through the first half of the season: Defense edition BY JIMMY KEMPSKI PhillyVoice Staff BILL STREICHER/USA TODAY SPORTS Javon Hargrave is good. The Philadelphia Eagles came into the 2022 season with raised expectations, which they have exceeded, and then some. Through the first half-ish part of the season (the NFL season is at its midway point; the Eagles have played 8 of 17 games), the team has a perfect 8-0 record, and are very clearly Super Bowl favorites in the NFC. On Thursday, we handed out individual grades to the offensive players. Here we'll cover the defense. To note, a month or so ago we handed out individual grades at the (sort of) quarter mark of the season. We'll leave those up, and add to them with our second quarter grades. DE Brandon Graham • First quarter of the season: Graham has 12 tackles, a forced fumble, and 3 sacks, 2.5 of which came against his old friend Carson Wentz. His recovery from a torn Achilles at 34 years of age has been remarkable, as he has appeared as strong and as spry as ever. The Eagles are limiting Graham's playing time, presumably to keep him fresh, as he has not yet played 30 or more snaps in any game so far. Still, he has been productive despite a more cautious role. Grade: A • Second quarter of the season: BG has 4 tackles (2 for loss), no sacks, and only 1 QB hit in his last four games, though he has been hampered by a hamstring injury. He's only playing 24.5 snaps per game, so a lack of huge production makes sense, but certainly he has not played as well over the last month as he did the first four games of the season. Grade: C+ • GPA: 3.15 DT Fletcher Cox • First quarter of the season: Cox isn't the elite player he once was, but he has also been a lot better than the guy who seemed to be in clear decline in 2021. He has 9 tackles, 3 sacks, and a forced fumble. Like Graham, Cox is playing a smaller percentage of snaps than he has been accustomed to over the years, and he appears to be fresh. Many (self included) heavily criticized the decision to bring Cox back at $14 million on a one-year deal this season, but so far he has been worth it. Grade: A • Second quarter of the season: Like Graham, Cox has 0 sacks and only 1 QB hit over the last four games. He is no longer playing to the level of his salary. Grade: C • GPA: 3.0 DT Javon Hargrave • First quarter of the season: Hargrave has 6 tackles, 1 sack, and a pair of fumble recoveries. His stats maybe aren't super impressive so far, but he has been disruptive on the interior, and his ability to push the pocket has allowed teammates to clean up. Grade: B • Second quarter of the season: Luckily for the Eagles, Hargrave has been extremely productive over the last four games when Graham and Cox have been quiet. He has 15 tackles (2 for loss), 5 sacks, and a forced fumble in his last two games. Grade: A+ • GPA: 3.5 DE Josh Sweat • First quarter of the season: Sweat has 13 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 8 QB hits. He has taken another step forward this season after making the Pro Bowl in 2021. He can win with either speed or power. Grade: A- • Second quarter of the season: Sweat has no sacks over the last four games. He does at least have 10 tackles, 3 QB hits, and he has some quick wins to his credit on pass plays in which the quarterback simply got the ball out quickly, which hasn't helped his production. Still, it would obviously be preferable for Sweat to have produced more than 2.5 sacks after the first 8 games. Grade: C+ • GPA: 3.0 DT Jordan Davis • First quarter of the season: Davis is averaging just 21 snaps per game, in a run down role. He has 8 tackles and a batted pass. The flashes of excellence are there, and it'll be interesting to see how his role grows as the season progresses. Grade: B • Second quarter of the season: I think Davis' absence has shown his value as a run stuffer in the middle of the defense. The Eagles got gashed by rookie Dameon Pierce right up the gut last Thursday night with Davis out. Grade: B+ • GPA: 3.15 DT Milton Williams • First quarter of the season: Williams was perceived as a player who had a chance to make a big leap in his second NFL season, but he has been a rare defensive lineman who hasn't yet popped in the first four games. He has 5 tackles and 1 QB hit. Grade: C • Second quarter of the season: Williams got on the board in the sack column against the Steelers, and he also had a batted pass in that game. However, I think we're still waiting for him to flash more than he has in his second season. He had actually done more in his rookie year by this point in the season. Grade: C+ • GPA: 2.1 DT Marlon Tuipulotu • First quarter of the season: Tuipulotu made one of the more important plays of the season Week 1, when he dusted the Lions' RG, and hit Jared Goff as he was throwing. That led to a Kyzir White deflection that was picked off by James Bradberry and returned for a touchdown. 5 tackles, and that 1 QB hit in a rotational role. Last season, when the first unit got tired and had to come off the field, it usually meant that the opposing offense was going to score. This year, not so much. The Eagles have incredible depth, and Tuipulotu is part of that. Grade: B- • Second quarter of the season: Like Williams, Tui got on the board in the sack column against the Steelers. His performance against the run against Houston was disappointing in Davis' absence. Grade: C- • GPA: 2.2 DE Robert Quinn • First quarter of the season: N/A. Grade: N/A • Second quarter of the season: Quinn had a very quiet first 7 games of the season with the Bears (8 tackles, 1 sack) before joining the Eagles near the trade deadline. In two games with the Eagles, he does not yet have a tackle, though he has only played a total of 27 snaps. We'll give him an incomplete grade for now, but the expectation should be for Quinn to begin producing, beginning on Monday night, especially as a half-year rental who cost a fourth-round pick. Grade: Inc. • GPA: SAM Haason Reddick • First quarter of the season: Reddick was the Eagles' biggest free agent signing, and he has been a star the last two games against the Commanders and Jaguars. On the season, he has 12 tackles, 3.5 sacks, a league-leading 3 forced fumbles, and 2 recoveries. Offensively, the upgrade from Jalen Reagor to A.J. Brown has been enormous. The upgrade from Genard Avery to Reddick has had a similar impact on the defense. Grade: A+ • Second quarter of the season: Reddick's 2 sacks and 5 QB hits over the last four games give him 5.5 sacks and 8 QB hits on the season. He continues to be the Eagles' best edge rusher. Grade: B+ • GPA: 3.65 SAM Patrick Johnson • First quarter of the season: Johnson has seen his role grow this season, after barely playing at all as a rookie. He has gotten 52 snaps through 4 games, and his motor has run hot. He only has 2 tackles, but he also has 2 QB hits and a forced fumble in limited action. Grade: B • Second quarter of the season: 1 tackle in 113 snaps (55 on defense, 58 on special teams) the last four games. That's not exactly ideal production, but as a backup player, he also hasn't made any obviously bad plays. Grade: C • GPA: 2.5 LB T.J. Edwards • First quarter of the season: Edwards has become a stud MIKE linebacker, and quiet leader on defense, wearing the "green dot" helmet. He leads the team with 33 tackles, and has also chipped in a pair of sacks and 4 QB hits. He's a smart, physical presence in the middle of the Eagles' defense who is simply always around the football. Grade: A+ • Second quarter of the season: Edwards has 41 tackles and 3 pass breakups the last four games. One of his pass breakups directly led to one of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson's interceptions. Edwards has really turned into a highly reliable linebacker and leader in the middle of the defense. Grade: A- • GPA: 3.85 LB Kyzir White • First quarter of the season: White is going to break the string of failed free agent linebacker signings, as he has shown legitimate zone coverage chops, as well as the ability to run sideline to sideline against the run. He is second on the team with 23 tackles, and he has also broken up 3 passes. Grade: B • Second quarter of the season: White has 32 tackles, 1 pass breakup over the last four games. He has mostly been a good tackler (3 missed tackles on the season), and in coverage. Solid player, no big splash plays yet. Grade: B- • GPA: 5.7 CB Darius Slay • First quarter of the season: Slay had one of the best Eagles cornerback performances in recent memory, when he blanketed Justin Jefferson Week 2 against the Vikings. In that game, he had 2 INTs, and 5 (!) pass breakups. On the season, pro-football-reference.com has him down for 7 completed passes on 24 targets, which is sort of unheard of in the NFL. He has been a star. Grade: A+ • Second quarter of the season: Opposing quarterbacks just aren't finding much success when they throw Slay's way. According to pro-football-reference.com, he has allowed 19 completions on 41 targets (46.3%) for 186 yards (4.5 YPA), 1 TD, and 3 INTs, for an opposing passer rating of 37.2 Grade: A • GPA: 4.0 CB James Bradberry • First quarter of the season: Bradberry is a smart, savvy veteran who simply knows how to play the position. He has 10 tackles, 2 INTs (one of which was a pick-six), and 4 pass breakups. He has had a few missed tackles, but you'll live with that given his ability in coverage. This is the best CB2 the Eagles have had since Sheldon Brown. Grade: A- • Second quarter of the season: The results have been similar to Slay's when Bradberry has been targeted. He has allowed 23 completions on 55 attempts (41.8%) for 207 yards (3.8 YPA), 1 TD, and 3 INTs. He did get roasted on a double move against the Texans that should have been a TD with a better pass, but he made up for that play with a game-sealing INT. Grade: A- • GPA: 3.7 CB Avonte Maddox • First quarter of the season: Maddox has 16 tackles, 1 highlight reel INT, and 2 pass breakups, but I think my favorite play of his this season is when he stuffed a Commanders TE at the goal line on a shovel pass. He was giving up about 70 pounds to the tight end, and he just stoned him cold. Grade: B+ • Second quarter of the season: Maddox has batted injuries of late. He had a strong game against the Steelers (6 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR). Grade: B • GPA: 3.15 S Marcus Epps • First quarter of the season: Epps has quietly done his job on the back end, as he is third on the team with 22 tackles. He seems to always be in the right place. I would imagine splash plays are on the horizon. Grade: B • Second quarter of the season: Epps has had a season similar to that of White, in that he has just been a solid but unspectacular player so far. He's due for a splash play. Grade: B- • GPA: 2.85 S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson • First quarter of the season: If there's one player in the secondary who seems to be out of position on occasion, it Gardner-Johnson, who is trying to learn a defense on the fly, playing a position (free safety) that he didn't play a ton of in New Orleans. There could be some growing pains here for a bit. Grade: C • Second quarter of the season: CJGJ crushed it in the second quarter of the season. 25 tackles (2 for loss), 1 sack, and 5 INTs, making him the NFL leader in INTs. Grade: A+ • GPA: 3.0 CB Zech McPhearson • First quarter of the season: McPhearson's biggest contribution this season was his recovery of a Lions surprise onside kick, but he has also been asked to fill in for an injured Slay in two games, and has held down the fort. Grade: B • Second quarter of the season: McPhearson didn't play any snaps at all in the regular defense in the last four games, so we'll give him an incomplete, but I do think this is noteworthy, from Eagles PR: Grade: Inc. • GPA: 3.0 https://www.phillyvoice.com/eagles-report-cards-through-first-half-season-defense-edition-2022/ Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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