Pro Football Focus releases the top five graded players from each team after every single NFL game. Here’s what PFF had to say about the Philadelphia Eagles following their Week 1 win against the Washington Redskins.
Edge Brandon Graham, 90.2 overall grade
TE Zach Ertz, 85.3 overall grade
DI Fletcher Cox, 84.2 overall grade
WR Nelson Agholor, 82.7 overall grade
CB Patrick Robinson, 82.3 overall grade
Graham was a beast against Washington. The Eagles’ starting defensive end racked up six total pressures (two sacks, four hurries) in 36 passing snaps. Graham’s game-clinching strip-sack on Kirk Cousins was very clutch. He helped the Eagles put away a team that they haven’t been able to beat since 2014.
The play everyone will remember is the fumble which sealed the game for the Eagles, where he was in Cousins’ face as he released the ball regardless if the referees got the call right. But that was just part of the story as he was a force throughout the game recording two sacks and four hurries.
Graham had a really strong season in 2016. It looks like he’s on pace to follow that up with another big year. The fact that he’s turning his pressures into sacks is a good sign. Graham is already nearly a third of the way to last year’s sack total: 6.5.
Ertz led the Birds in receiving against Washington. He finished the game with eight receptions and 93 yards for 11.6 yards per reception. Six of Ertz’s catches resulted in first downs for Philadelphia. PFF gave Ertz the best receiving grade of any tight end in Week 1.
Ertz might not be that dynamic athlete who generates a lot of yards after the catch, but he’s clearly good at getting open and moving the chains. He’s a nice security blanket for Wentz. I don’t think the Eagles will really miss Jordan Matthews much with Ertz now featured in a similar role.
First 62 career games:— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) September 10, 2017
Zach Ertz: 255 catches, 2,933 yards
Tony Gonzalez: 256 catches, 2,955 yards
Jason Witten: 248 catches, 2,776 yards
Zach Ertz in his last 16 games: 95 catches, 1,061 yards— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) September 11, 2017
(I’m still quietly thinking to myself Ertz will get off to a hot start this year only to cool off later in the season — the exact opposite of what’s happened in past seasons. It’s too ironic not to happen. Hopefully I’m wrong about that.)
The “man dog” feasted on Washington’s defense. Cox generated five total presures in 34 passing snaps: one sack, one quarterback hit, and three hurries. Not to mention he had a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a defensive touchdown, and a good big guy touchdown celebration.
Cox currently ranks fourth best out of all interior players in terms of PFF’s pass rush productivity stat.
After the end of last season, I certainly wouldn’t have expected to be seeing Agholor’s name in a post like this. Yet here we are!
Agholor went off for a career-high 86 yards and one touchdown on eight receptions against Washington. He looked confident and competent out there. Maybe all that offseason hype wasn’t just a mirage. It’ll be easier to believe if he can string together more performances like this one.
Agholor currently ranks second in PFF’s signature “WR rating” statistic, which shows the quarterback rating when a receiver is thrown at. In other words, Carson Wentz’s passer rating when targeting Agholor is 149.3.
Patrick Robinson! One of the worst players in training camp ended up being one of Philadelphia’s top graded players in Week 1. The veteran corner was targeted six times but only allowed three catches for 22 yards. He also had four solo tackles.
It’s hard to have a lot of confidence in Robinson playing well on the outside with Ronald Darby out. He’s ideally more of a slot guy. The good news is it sounds like Doug Pederson recognizes Robinson’s limitations.
Those guys are always going to give you problems. They are tough to defend, speed guys, quick, shifty guys. As we look at it, if Rasul [Douglas] is in there, if Jalen [Mills] is in there, [Jaylen] Watkins is in there, try to keep Patrick Robinson possibly at the nickel spot as much as we can -- I think it's beneficial for guys to learn one spot, and he's been comfortable in there.
Can he get you out of a game at corner? Yes, he can. He did it yesterday a little bit. And then, you know, with the three safeties that we have, obviously we know Malcolm [Jenkins] can play nickel and then Corey Graham comes in the game.
Yeah, it's going to be one of those situations where it's going to take all hands on deck these next few weeks to really get the job done.
PFF gaves props to Carson Wentz.
Wentz enjoyed an efficient start to the 2017 season without wowing overall in the season opener. He missed only 5-of-29 attempts short of 20 yards, showing good accuracy in the intermediate range in particular. The second-year starter also looked spectacular at times escaping pressure. On the other hand, he took a number of risks downfield, fortunately seeing a number of potential interceptions dropped. Combined with some issues throwing the ball laterally around the line of scrimmage (including a disastrous lateral recovered by Washington), it is obvious there are a number of areas where Wentz can still improve.
Pretty accurate assessment. Wentz needs to clean up some of those underthrows/overthrows that can potentially intercepted. Wentz currently ranks 12th out of the quarterbacks graded by PFF so far.
Jalen Mills was also highlighted. The second-year corner was targeted a whopping 15 times. That shows Washington really wanted to pick on him coming into this game. He did give up 10 catches for 108 yards, which isn’t awesome, but at least he didn’t allow any huge plays. Plus he had that critical red-zone interception. And this pass breakup:
Forget the INT, this was Jalen Mills' best play yesterday. 1-on-1 vs. Pryor, gets his head turned around and high points the ball. pic.twitter.com/ELuGb9W1SS— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroCSN) September 11, 2017
Starting left guard Isaac Seumalo did not grade out well by PFF’s standards.
Although adequate in pass protection (one hit & two hurries allowed on 46 dropbacks), he looks ill-suited to executing the Eagles’ running scheme. On one series of plays with Philadelphia trying to run down the clock, Seumalo missed the same assignment three times in a row, allowing Washington’s linebackers to consistently penetrate.
Yikes. The Eagles’ run game is really a work in progress right now, and that’s putting it nicely.