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Who Balled & Who Stalled: Eagles Player Grades vs Bengals

Another home game, another empty stadium going  into the 4th quarter. To be honest, the fans have every right to walk out on this team, as the performances have been utterly poor from this Eagles team. This week was no different, with the Cincinnati Bengals trouncing the Eagles 34-13 on Thursday night. Here are the Ballers and Stallers from the clash with the Bengals:

Baller: Brandon Graham

Graham (#54) and Cox (#91) combined for 4 sacks.

After the release of left defensive end Jason Babin, former first-round pick Brandon Graham has stepped into the starting role looking very much like the promising young player he was thought to be. It isn’t too late for him to regain that reputation, particularly if he can reproduce performances like he gave on Thursday.

Graham had 2.5 sacks on the night, combining with the rest of the defensive line for 6 total sacks, which is the most in one game for the Eagles this season. Graham has experienced some injury and fitness issues in his short career so far, but he certainly has potential, and that was on full display in this match.

Graham’s Overall Grade: A+

Staller: Nick Foles

Foles had his second-worst outing of the year.

Well the storybook period is over, and Foles crashed back down to earth with a less-than-stellar showing on Thursday night. Foles threw 16/33, 182 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, although he was very lucky not to be picked off 3 or 4 times more. Foles has a habit of throwing passes behind or too far above the receivers, which often causes deflections or rebounds that look like they could be intercepted. Foles has the ability to throw with precision and power, but can be wayward at times, something he’ll need to work on this coming offseason if he is to remain the starter in Philly. Foles impressed in the last game but came back with a poor performance this week. However, rookies make rookie mistakes and he cannot be expected to open his career with perfection. We will just have to wait and see.

Foles’ Overall Grade: C-

Baller: Fletcher Cox

In his rookie season, Fletcher Cox has come into the league as a contributor and playmaker on defense straight away. He has 5.5 sacks for the year, with 1.5 sacks on Thursday to add to his impressive tally. Playing more snaps and being more involved in the defense next year, Cox could become a leader among DTs in this league for sacks. His ability to penetrate the offensive line and pressure the QB was well-known in college, but he has seamlessly brought that ability into the pro game, to the joy of Eagles fans everywhere. It looks like Roseman and Reid made a good draft choice at the 1st-round this year.

Cox’s Overall Grade: A

Staller: Bryce Brown

No matter what the stat sheet said, Brown’s fumbling problems continue (via philly.com).

Bryce Brown will soon be known as Butterfingers Brown. It is inevitable. He is going to develop that reputation if he does not sort out his ball security issues.

Although he is not recorded with a fumble for Thursday’s game, he did indeed mishandle a hand-off that got recorded as a Nick Foles fumble. Despite this, Brown has 4 recorded fumbles on the season, which is too many for his short starting stint. Brown holds the ball loosely, and this unfortunately diverts our attention from his strong ability and potential as a runner. He has definitely justified his 2nd string spot at RB, but to help the team he must work on his ball security in the offseason. Brown finished Thursday’s game with just 34 yards off of 16 carries, coming to an average of just 2.1 yards per carry. Not a good outing for Bryce Brown.

Brown’s Overall Grade: D+

Baller: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

He may have given up the jump-ball TD in the fourth quarter to A.J. Green in the fourth quarter, but that was during garbage time and it was a perfectly thrown ball by Andy Dalton.

Otherwise, DRC had one of his better games, effectively shutting down Green, one of the league’s top wideouts, for the entire game. He looked very strong in coverage throughout the game, staying with Green on deep routes, not committing stupid penalties, and challenging every Dalton throw that came his way. Unlike Nnamdi Asomugha, DRC is making a strong case to return in 2013.

Cox’s Overall Grade: A-

Staller: Mychal Kendricks

Kendricks wasn’t his usual self, totaling only four tackles and one for a loss. He wasn’t very effective as it was in the run game, but he got shredded a couple times by tight end Jermaine Gresham, Dalton’s most consistent target on Thursday night. In fact, Gresham led the Bengals in receiving yards with 63.

Kendricks’ other big letdown was on Dalton’s 11-yard touchdown run, where he was completely juked out, allowing Dalton to score. Those type of plays are what young, athletic outside ‘backers like him are expected to make, but he gets a bit of a break considering his solid season up to this point.

Brown’s Overall Grade: C

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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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