The Eagles disappointed … again … in a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. While the rookies were hardly most at fault for the sorry performance, they certainly could be doing better to help out.
DeVonta Smith: B
Against the Raiders, it was hard not to be frustrated by and for DeVonta Smith. On one hand, DeVonta Smith has been dropping a not-inconsequential amount of passes. This is no doubt hard to stomach from a guy the Eagles need to be their number one receiver. On the other hand, he is also dealing with low-quality targets. Either on badly thrown passes, poorly drawn up plays and usually a combination of both. Even in a game that felt disappointing for Smith, he still caught five passes, including a very impressive grab on the sideline.
It is all there for DeVonta Smith. That much is clear. Every week, we get a glimpse of what a special player he can be. Even if he hasn’t set the league on fire yet, he has already surpassed Jalen Reagor’s yardage output from last year in seven games and is on pace to come near a 1,000 yard season as a rookie.
As for the drops, it is certainly something Smith needs to improve on. The other side of it is when he is getting a handful of targets a game, a lot of which are in low-percentage situations, you’re bound to get drops. The key for Smith going forward needs to be maximizing his touches. That’s not just on him, though. The team needs to get the ball to him more down the field instead of using him constantly for slants in RPOs and other gimmicky-low ceiling opportunities.
Landon Dickerson: C
Landon Dickerson has set a low bar for himself this season, so it doesn’t mean much to say this was his better game in a while. Even so, Dickerson looked a bit more comfortable as a run blocker and more stout against the Raiders pass rush.
But Dickerson still has yet to show any signs of being a dominant player that the Eagles hope he becomes. Even more frustrating is the silly penalty mistakes that he, and the rest of the team, have been prone to.
Dickerson played an alright game, but the team is still waiting for him to show the cerebral, physical player that he was at Alabama.
Milton Williams: D
It is hard to feel good about basically any defensive player from yesterday, but Milton Williams failing to make a meaningful contribution for another week is incredibly disheartening. Williams left early with an injury and only saw about a quarter of the snaps on defense, but he was practically invisible.
The Eagles desperately need a spark on their defense. From any position. It isn’t that the rookie is inconsistent, which would be easier to rationalize, it is that Milton Williams has shown nothing at all in terms of being a dynamic defender.
Zech McPhearson: N/A
The rookie cornerback only get snaps on special teams, which is fine. Maybe a game where the opposing quarterback only had three incompletions will inspire the defensive coordinator to try some new lineups in the secondary.
Kenneth Gainwell: B-
After a few weeks where it seemed like the Eagles forgot about Kenneth Gainwell, they finally got him involved again in both facets of his game. Gainwell showed a lot of juice on his few carries and caught the only meaningful touchdown of the game for the Eagles on their opening drive. Though, he did have a costly fumble that helped extend the Raiders lead going into halftime.
Gainwell is already one of the more reliably good players in the offense. He can do a lot of good things from wherever he lines up, which is a lot more than some of his teammates can say. With Miles Sanders out for an unforeseen amount of time, it is possible we see a lot more of Gainwell in the coming weeks.
Marlon Tuipulotu: N/A
Despite being inactive, Marlon Tuipulotu contributed about as much as any other Eagles defender.
Tarron Jackson: N/A
Jackson has seen a few snaps on defense but nothing meaningful. Could get more chances in the coming weeks considering how poorly those in front of him have played.
Patrick Johnson: N/A
Patrick Johnson has disappeared from the defensive line up. After a promising preseason and some solid play early in the year, he has been fully usurped by Genard Avery and Ryan Kerrigan. It makes little sense considering how lackadaisical they have played.
Jack Stoll: C
With Zach Ertz gone, Jack Stoll is comfortably the number two tight end behind Dallas Goedert. However, the Eagles opted to move away from two tight end looks against the Raiders, so Stoll was only on the field for a bit. He looked solid and competent as a blocker, but has yet to show anything beyond that.