Our Eagles grades by position halfway through the 2021 season

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Our Eagles grades by position halfway through the season originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles have had their ups and downs through the first eight games of the season but have a 3-5 record after their blowout win in Detroit.

The grades have also improved since we looked at them after one quarter of the season, when the Eagles had a 1-3 record.

The NFL has gone to a 17-game schedule this season which means the year is no longer divisible by two but it would be pretty stupid for me to wait until halftime of the Chargers game to give you the updated report card.

All the midterm grades are averaged from the individual game grades in the first eight weeks of the season.

Here’s where the Eagles stand after eight games:

Quarterback

Grades by week: A, C-, D, A-, C+, D-, D+, B

Halfway through his first season as a starter, Jalen Hurts has had his ups and downs. In the stat sheet, he has completed 61.3% of his passes for 1,819 yards with 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He’s also the Eagles’ leading rusher with 432 yards and 5 touchdowns. His ability on the ground can’t be overlooked but he still needs to find more consistency and accuracy through the air. He also has to make better decisions when it comes to standing tall in the pocket vs. escaping. The Eagles wanted to use this season to evaluate Hurts and that evaluation process isn’t over yet.

Grade: C+

Running back

Grades by week: A, C-, Incomplete, C+, C-, B, C+, A+

Miles Sanders is actually averaging a very healthy 4.8 yards per carry this season but the best game from the backs came with him out last week in Detroit. Boston Scott and Jordan Howard got their first significant playing time of the season and were great. Kenny Gainwell’s biggest contributions have been in the passing game because of his smooth hands. (That incomplete grade counted as a C when I averaged them out.)

Grade: B-

Tight end

Grades by week: A, D, B-, A, D+, C-, B+, A

In the time since we did the quarterly grades, the Eagles traded away Zach Ertz and in the two games since, Dallas Goedert has been great. He has back-to-back 70-yard games and it’s very clear that he’s a No. 1 tight end in this league. The coaching staff should (and likely will) continue to game plan to get the ball to No. 88. In seven games this season, Goedert has 24 catches for 358 yards and 2 touchdowns, but I’d expect big numbers the rest of the way.

Grade: B-

Receiver

Grades by week: A, C-, D, B-, C, C-, C, C-

DeVonta Smith is the Eagles’ leading receiver with 33 catches and 421 yards. He’s slightly behind the pace needed to break DeSean Jackson’s rookie record. Smith has been good but has been great in spurts. He needs to find more consistency. After him, Quez Watkins had 20 catches for 366 yards (18.3), but they’re not getting much from Jalen Reagor. Last year’s first-round pick is having a disappointing second NFL season with 20 catches for just 165 yards.

Grade: C

Offensive line

Grades by week: B, B, D, B+, C, C-, D-, A

The offensive line has had some ups and downs this year with several different combinations. But now they have Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson back and Landon Dickerson seems to be improving. In the last game, they were able to run block more and it helped a lot.

Grade: C+

Defensive line

Grades by week: A-, B-, D+, D-, A, C-, F, A+

Javon Hargrave hasn’t had a sack in three games but the Eagles got contributions last week from several different sources, including Josh Sweat, who had one of the best games of his career. The Eagles’ defense really needs this front to dominate the way they did in Detroit. Some of that means that Jonathan Gannon has to let them attack, but they have to make the plays that are there for them. Halfway through the season, Hargrave has 6.0 sacks, followed by Sweat (3.5), Hassan Ridgeway (2.0 and Derek Barnett, Fletcher Cox, Milton Williams, Tarron Jackson (all with 1.0 each).

Grade: C+

Linebacker

Grades by week: B, C-, F, F, C-, D, F, A

The Eagles have really mixed and matched at the linebacker spots through the first games. It came full circle when they released Eric Wilson this week; Wilson started in Week 1 and played 85% of their defensive snaps. Alex Singleton leads the team in tackles by a wide margin but hasn’t been as solid as he was a year ago. Their best ‘backers right now might be T.J. Edwards and Davion Taylor.

Grade: D+

Secondary

Grades by week: B+, B-, D-, F, A, C, C-, A

For a lot of this season, the Eagles have run a very passive Cover 2 scheme, which means they have given up a ton of yards, almost by design. But this group has actually been pretty good. Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox are playing at very high levels and Steven Nelson has been a solid player at CB2. They have dealt with injuries at the safety position but Rodney McLeod is starting to look better the further he gets from his ACL rehab. Slay leads the group with 2 interceptions, while Maddox, Nelson and Anthony Harris each have 1.

Grade: C+

Special teams

Grades by week: A, D, C, C+, A, D, C, A

The Eagles haven’t gotten a ton from their return men this year but their coverage units have, for the most part, been pretty good. Jake Elliott has made 10 of 12 field goals and is perfect (19 for 19) on extra points. Punter Arryn Siposs has an average of 46.1, which ranks 19th in the league and he’s downed eight inside the 20.

Grade: B-

Coaching

Grades by week: A, D, F, D, C-, D, D-, A+

The Eagles’ coaches have come under fire plenty in the first half of the season. No, it’s not a surprise that they’re 3-5, but there were times during that first half where they didn’t look competitive and the coaches seemed in over their heads and slow to adjust. But give Nick Sirianni credit for keeping this team together and playing hard through those moments. As the schedule gets easier, we’ll probably get a better evaluation of this staff.

Grade: C-

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