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Who Balled & Who Stalled: Grades for Key Eagles vs Panthers

The Eagles slide to the bottom of the NFC at 3-8 with a loss at home to the Carolina Panthers. Many important injuries continued to hinder the team, with several rookies putting in good showings and taking their starting chances nicely. Unfortunately, this loss even further solidifies the problems that the team will face in the coming weeks and months. Here are the Ballers and Stallers from Week 12:

Baller: Bryce Brown

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Brown had a superb starting debut against the Panthers (Photo via SBNation.com)

Bryce Brown was somewhat of a high-ceiling pick in the draft because of the potential that he showed in his short college ball stint at Texas. With LeSean McCoy out injured, Brown went into this game as the replacement starter, and had himself a superb night.

Brown finished with 19 carries for 178 yards, 2 TDs including a great 65 yard TD that gave the fans something to cheer about on an otherwise hopeless night. However, in his rookie season Brown has shown a poor ability to protect the football, and continued that against the Panthers; with two lost fumbles. Despite these rookie errors, Brown exceeded the expectations of all Eagles fans, and shows that he can be a complement to McCoy in future seasons.

Brown’s Overall Grade: A-

Staller: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been very inconsistent in midnight green. (Photo via gridironfans.com)

Rodgers-Cromartie has always been recognized as a poor tackler and “scared” of contact, and this reputation was put on full show Monday night. DRC had 8 tackles, but missed or whiffed out on many more due to his simple lack of determination when it comes to hitting the ball-carrier. He also missed several coverages that led to long catches for Carolina’s offense, making Newton’s night that little bit easier.

While Rodgers-Cromartie has had some superb performances in an Eagles uniform since his trade, he has had some very poor ones, and this inconsistency has contributed to the sloppy showings of the secondary on a regular basis. This may just have been a bad night for DRC, but consistency is key and that is what fans want from an All-Pro caliber cover man.

Rodgers-Cromartie’s Overall Grade: D+

Baller: Nnamdi Asomugha

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Nnamdi had a good game, but he hasn’t found his Oakland form (via Philly.com)

While one big-name Cornerback had a poor night, the other had a particularly good night covering an All-Pro WR in Steve Smith. This was of course, Nnamdi Asomugha, and this performance is nothing more than what was expected of him after his huge career in the Black and Silver at Oakland.

It can be concluded that so far, Nnamdi has been a relative disappointment, but games like these from the former All-Pro show us that he can still shut down top receivers and get his coverages right. We want to see it more often from Nnamdi, but whether he can find that consistency is a huge question that needs to be asked and answered by Asomugha himself.

Asomugha’s Overall Grade: A

Staller: Kurt Coleman

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Coleman struggled (Photo via Panthers.com)

With just two tackles and many, many more missed; Kurt Coleman had one of those nights where it made Eagles fans want the draft to come by sooner. As much as I love his energy and strength, Coleman whiffs a lot of coverages and tries to tackle too hard. This results in over-running the ball and missing…a lot. The Eagles front office really needs to draft a quality 1st or 2nd-round safety that can come in and be a star right away.

I remember Coleman’s three-INT game @ Washington last year, and since then I’ve been a fan of his play. However, Coleman is one of those players that goes quiet and goes cold for stretches of weeks, with one or two big games thrown in. Once again, the key for this defense is consistency, and that is not often found in Kurt Coleman.

Coleman’s Overall Grade: C-

Baller: Trent Cole

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Trent Cole has been a great DE for the Eagles in his career (photo via Philaphans.com)

Trent Cole has been a stalwart at the Defensive End position in Philadelphia for many seasons. His constant motor, drive and work ethic are great qualities in a rushing End, and this combined with great physical attributes make Cole a top player at his position in the NFL without doubt.

In this game, Cole had multiple pressures that closed the pocket and gave Newton little time to make decisions. These pressures have been missing from the once-dominant Eagles Defensive Line all season. Cole also made some run-stopping tackles that kept the dangerous backs in Carolina relatively quiet. A good outing by Cole as he cements his place as a go-to playmaker on the defense.

Cole’s Overall Grade: B+

Staller: Rest of Defensive Line

Apart from a great solo effort by Cole, the rest of the D-Line rotation was awful for the entirety of the game, apart from one successful sack by the now-released Jason Babin. This unit was getting some great penetration early on, but could never seem to keep Cam Newton down, with the elusive QBs footwork proving hard to deal with for the Line.

Also, there were multiple opportunities for them to pull Newton down for a sack, but either Newton slipped out of the grasp, or the tackler simply got blocked off at the last minute. This type of failure to finish off plays has been a huge part of the Eagles miserable season, particularly from this unit that was so dominant around the league in 2011-2012. Unfortunately, it seems that those days are long gone, despite much of the same personnel having remained in the Line since last season.

Defensive Line’s Overall Grade: D

So thanks for reading, check out our Twitter, @KhandymanSports, and our Facebook page by clicking hereFeel free to comment with your thoughts on the team and be sure to share this post around to fellow Eagles fans!

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Categories: Eagles, Editorial

Author:Will Eddowes

20 y.o Kiwi. Passionate about the NFL, both on the field & in the front office. Budding scout & salary cap analyst - Law and economics student at VUW - Also write for http://Overthecap.com.

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