By Dylan MacKinnon
The Eagles followed up their worst game of the year, with their best. Yes, it was vs the Lions, but many people were predicting the Eagles to lose to those lowly Lions. I find it hard to dismiss how they played just because it was vs a bad opponent when they themselves have for most of the year been that bad opponent. Does that mean they figured everything out? No. But it is at least progress. But who showed the most progress, and is there anyone even in the win that came away looking worse? Here is your stock report for the Eagles following the week 8 win.
Stock Up- Jonathan Gannon
I have called out Gannon almost every week for his vanilla defenses. But this week, I have to give him some praise. He actually got more aggressive. In the first 7 games, he called only 42 blitzes. Vs the Lions, he dialed up 10. It’s not a huge uptick, but it is a start. And big surprise, the extra pressure worked. The Eagles were highly successful when blitzing Jared Goff, and as a team, they had 6 sacks and 12 QB hits. He also called more aggressive coverages at times. even used a dime package at one point. It will be interesting to see how he schemes for a much better Chargers offense this week. Hopefully, he keeps up the aggression.
Stock Up- Nick Sirianni
He ran the ball! He ran the ball a lot. perhaps too much. But he did it. 46 run plays, including 37 from the running backs. It is a bit weird he waited for Mile Sanders to be out to do this, but hey, it worked. Granted going forward he can’t get away with running the ball this much, but he stuck to what was working vs the Lions, which is a good sign. The Eagles need to find balance and get both parts of the offense working. They play another bad rush defense this week in the Chargers. Hopefully, they do not abandon the run, but also find a way to get Jalen Hurts going in the passing game. But I will give Sirianni credit for sticking with what worked this week.
Stock Up- Landon Dickerson and the O Line
Dickerson has had a so-so rookie year. To his defense, he was coming in with very few practice reps, coming off a bad injury, and is a rookie. There was bound to be an adjustment period with all that working against him. But he showed up in a big way Sunday. Not only did he allow 0 QB pressures all game, but he was perhaps more impressive run blocking. He was creating holes for the RBs all game, pushing his blocking assignment off the line all game. Also worth mentioning are Nate Herbig, and Lane Johnson, who allowed 0 pressure all game. Jordan Mailata and Jack Driscoll allowed only 1 pressure each. The entire line deserves praise, but I am singling out Dickerson specifically as deserving extra praise. Dickerson has moved up to 5th in run block win rate among all guards according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Stock Up- Boston Scott and Jordan Howard
Both of these guys have barely played all year. Their performance vs the Lions begs the question as to why. Yea it was the Lions, but both impressed. They each found the end zone twice, and each averaged almost 5 yards a carry. What I love about Scott is he doesn’t waste movement. He quickly attacks the hole and is always moving forward. Meanwhile Howard showed some explosion I assumed he no longer had. At times last season, he looked cooked. But on Sunday he looked similar to the RB we saw earlier in his career with the Bears. Both guys impressed, and both should continue to get carries as long as Sanders is out.
Stock Up- Milton Williams
Milton had the most impressive game of his rookie season yet. And not just because of his 2nd quarter sack. He also had 4 tackles, including 2 for a loss. We have seen steady improvement from him all year. Now it is starting to pay off with production. The selection of Williams was controversial, especially with Eagles fans overreacting to a video of a single scout who was seemingly upset with the pick. But he is on his way to proving the Eagles were right to take him in the 3rd round.
One guy who I thought had his best game on Sunday? #Eagles rookie DT Milton Williams. Run game, pass game - didn't matter. Disruptive, productive - just a ton of fun to watch #FlyEaglesFly— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) November 1, 2021
Tune into #LACvsPHI | Nov. 7th at 4:05 PM on CBS pic.twitter.com/IBuq5LXwbn
Stock Up- Josh Sweat
Sweat had two sacks, and 4 pressures in 21 pass-rushing snaps on Sunday. We have heard for a while that Sweat was a breakout candidate and he is showing us why. His great play has not always shown up in the stat sheet. This is why sacks are not always the best metric to measure linemen by. Sweat has been a more productive pass rusher than the box score will show. He may only have 3 and a half sacks, but he has been pretty consistent at getting after the QB. Against the Lions, he finally made his mark in the box score too. Here he is blowing past, and running over, both the Tight End and RT.
Stock Up- Dallas Goedert
It has been two games since Zach Ertz was traded, and in both games, Goedert Eclipsed 70 yards. Stretch his production in the two games over the course of a season, and he would have 1,207 yards. Stretch it across the 8 games that have been played in the NFL so far, he would lead all Tight Ends in yards, granted some below him have had bye weeks. Goedert was called a top TE, and now that he gets to be the no 1 guy, he is proving he is capable of it. Goedert should continue to get a ton of targets, because he is perhaps the Eagles best player on offense.
Stock Up- Darius Slay and the Cornerbacks
Slay continues to earn his contract this year. His great play has gone under the radar with how much the defense has struggled, but week after week he has mostly shut down whomever he covered. This week he even found the end zone after Avonte Maddox forced a fumble. Slay, and most of the cornerback room, have done their job. Even despite Gannon often having them lined up way off who they are covering. They allowed only 46 yards to wide receivers this week. Granted the Lion’s WR room is barren, but still, that is impressive.
Darius Slay through 8 games:— Thomas R. Petersen (@thomasrp93) November 1, 2021
- 4th highest graded CB (78.6)
- Tied 4th in defensive stops (13)
- 4th lowest yards/rec (7.2)
- Allowed under 20 yards in 5 games
- Only Mike Evans has over 20 yards on him (27)#Eagles pic.twitter.com/H9mOFVl7oA
Stock Down- The Linebackers
Even in a blowout, the Linebackers still didn’t come away looking very good. They were again picked on by Tight ends, This week TJ Hockenson had 89 yards vs the Eagles’ tight ends. It continues a trend of the opposing Tight end having his way all game. The RBs also were somewhat effective in the passing game vs the Eagles linebackers. Of the 222 Lions passing yards, 176 were to Tight Ends and Running backs. Even TJ Edwards who flashed some kill in stopping the run, got picked on through the air. Eagles need to start taking the position seriously. I am not saying use a first round pick on a LB. But at least invest something in the position.
Stock Down- The WR Room
The Eagles haven’t had a 1000 yard WR since Jeremy Maclin in 2014. It looks like they go without one again. It looked like Devonta Smith was on pace to break that trend early, but he has vanished from the offense the last few weeks, all the WRS have. Eagles’ WRs had only 33 yards this week, 123 yards vs the Raiders, and 75 vs the Bucs. To be fair, it is not all on them. Smith and Watkins have been open at times. But they have an inaccurate QB and a coach who doesn’t do enough to scheme them open or make use of their skillsets. But some onus still needs to be on them. Smith and Watkins can do more to stand out. They have the talent to do more than they have.