The Eagles are 2-0 after eight up-and-down quarters in the first two weeks of the season. This team is not the squad you saw last year. Whether it's LeSean McCoy struggling to find holes on the run or the Eagles kicker not missing major field goals, the squad just has a different feeling this year. The team is even winning without Nick Foles or the secondary playing top notch. It seems like we don't know the team yet, even after the resilient 30-27 win over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday night.
I drew the ire from several Eagles fans for criticizing Foles, despite a positive stat line against the Jaguars. Rest assured, I didn't think he looked great on Monday night either. He made some quality throws and also had some major drops, but still didn't look like the Foles we badly want to see.
The work of Darren Sproles and two second half turnovers saved the Eagles in this one. The Saints are 0-2 but the Eagles are 2-0 with big plays from Sproles and safety Malcolm Jenkins. Oh, and someone woke the beast known as Fletcher Cox (more on that later). This team has proven that they will not quit, even with Casey Matthews in the lineup...
Cody Parkey: He missed a 38-yard field goal early on but rebounded in a big way by going 3-of-4 with a game-winning strike. In three seasons in Philadelphia, Alex Henery's biggest accomplishment was making a 51-yard field. Parkey has hit one of those and a game winner in just two games.
Fletcher Cox: The guy was everywhere on Monday night and forced a crucial fumble which led to a touchdown in the second half. Cox has heard the criticism but has been sensational over the last two games. Either Eagles writers woke the beast or he just stayed dormant until the regular season. Either way, Eagles fans aren't complaining.
Former Saints: For the second week in a row we are grouping Sproles and Jenkins together. Sproles had four carries for 26 rushing yards and a touchdown to go along with a whopping seven catches for 152 yards (including a massive 57-yard play). Jenkins had the game-saving interception in the redzone that led to the game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter. Both players have been fantastic additions.
Even Connor Barwin (who had a solid game) acknowledged the generosity of New Orleans:
Shout out to the Saints! #FlyEaglesFly— Connor Barwin (@ConnorBarwin98) September 16, 2014
Zach Ertz: This guy is just awesome. It gets to the point where you're annoyed that he isn't in at all times. He had four catches for 86 yards but his big catch came on the game-winning drive. He just continues to impress and is a matchup nightmare.
Dennis Kelly: I felt Kelly played pretty well at left guard. He got in front on screens and got push on runs. He also didn't allow a sack which was a positive sign despite the less-than-stellar competition.
Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and Jason Peters: Despite having replacements around them, they did their jobs very well and were fantastic in blocking for Sproles on screens and runs. They really showed little issue with the new men around them. They also didn't allow a sack.
Mychal Kendricks: Until he was injured in the second half, Kendricks was everywhere. I have been impressed with his improved run-stopping ability and he has made quite a few plays over the last two weeks. Hopefully his injury won't keep him out for too long, if at all.
Jeremy Maclin: He had a pair of drops and his lack of awareness and/or fight on a downfield pass led to a turnover. That said, he was easily the only receiver outside of Ertz that really had a positive impact. He's had back-to-back big touchdowns in both games and that has been huge. He's back, but hopefully he will continue to play well when it matters.
Chris Maragos: He had at least two stops on special teams on Monday. The guy is a stud even when he's getting held by Colt Anderson...
ESPN coverage: Really? You're going to bring up a "no call" on Brandon Boykin when the Colts blatantly held defensive linemen throughout the game? Mike Tirico has become so over-exposed that his calls are just boring and predictable and Jon Gruden has nothing interesting to say unless he is working on game film.
Casey Matthews: Wow. You can see why the Eagles were trying out linebackers last week. They eventually benched Matthews (and rightfully so) for Emmanuel Acho, who is a way better linebacker. I think you'll see the Eagles make a move this week if Kendricks is out.
Riley Cooper and Brent Celek: These two had some bad drops. Both could have had touchdowns to their credit but instead literally dropped the ball. Celek has been solid in blocking but I am not impressed with either as receivers thus far. They need to get back to making big plays.
Jordan Matthews: He has dropped passes and that was the worry coming out of school. He is fine at getting open but you have to secure the ball.
Eagles Cornerbacks: Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher didn't have positive nights. Fletcher dropped an easy interception that could have saved a touchdown, while Williams again gave up yardage. Luckily, they were able to rebound late but I thought their performances were mostly poor.
He is so polarizing that it is hard to not bring him up, even though I didn't think he was particularly fantastic or terrible. I know it is easy to love the stat sheet, but if I never looked at the box score I would have thought Andrew Luck outplayed him by a mile. Foles was good enough, he wasn't bad or good, he was okay. I think there are reasons to be concerned and reasons to be excited.
On the concerned side, he has looked up-and-down against two mediocre defenses. He has also turned the ball over four times in just two games and has seemingly missed open receivers with consistency. On the flip side, he has made important plays when it has mattered down the stretch (perfect throw to Ertz on game-winning drive). He has also been able to handle early adversity and not let it impact his performance moving forward. Also, the Eagles have been able win games despite his and McCoy's struggles (3.7 YPC).