Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins felt exactly like the New York Giants game from the prior week, except the Eagles scored more points in the first half. The other big difference was the running back that stood out (we will get to that) and more production from receivers and tight ends. However, this defense is going to be the death of me. Let’s take a look at who are the studs and duds of Week 15.
STUD: Miles Sanders
I’m going to say this now after that game -- Miles Sanders is our next LeSean McCoy, and from how he is playing as a rookie he could end up even being better. I understood why Jordan Howard was given the majority of the touches earlier in the season and I was all for that, but in Howard's absence Sanders has blossomed. I know they played the Redskins, but it wasn’t as much the numbers as it was how he looked playing. He is so explosive in the way that he is able to go from 0-100 in what seems like a second. The two runs that showed this were the run where he just purely outran Landon Collins to the outside and gained about 12 or more yards, and the next was that 54 yard run he broke off on a 3rd-down draw play. It seems like he plays at a 4.40 40, which is phenomenal. This kid is going to be special for years to come in the Eagles backfield.
DUD: Ronald Darby
I know it was Avonte Maddox who missed the tackle on "Scary Terry" McLaurin, but other than that it stood out that Darby was unable to shut anyone down on that team. I am glad he only signed a one-year deal with the Eagles this past offseason, as he is someone that needs to go. He should be playing like a shut down number one corner since he is trying to show he deserves a big new contract, but instead he gets outplayed by a former 7th-round draft pick (Jalen Mills). It is time to move on from him after the season, and move Maddox outside and place Cre'Von LeBlanc at slot.
STUD: Rodney McLeod
Rodney has been our most consistent defensive back this year by far. Just in the Redskins game, he laid hits on guys that made reminisce when Dawkins was playing center field and laying some of the most deviating hits I’ve ever seen on a football field. It seems like he is always not to far away from the play if he isn’t the one making it. One of his best plays on Sunday was on a 3rd-down when he scrambled down to the line of scrimmage when he saw Dwyane Haskins trying to run for 1st-down, and ended up stuffing Haskins to force a punt. Rodney is a fantastic player and has really bounced back from his season-ending injury he suffered early last year. There wasn’t a play against the Redskins that I saw where I could say “McCleod screwed that up.” He did his job all day and has done it well for most of the season.
DUD: Defensive Line
Really? You couldn’t get a single sack against Dwayne Haskins? I forgot Haskins plays like Lamar Jackson and is basically untouchable. Oh wait, he isn’t a mobile QB? He ran a 5.04 40? It’s a joke that he was able to avoid being sacked once and the joke is on the defensive line going against one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Also, they weren’t able to bottle up an Adrian Peterson that is about four-to-five years off his prime. If you can’t stop Peterson, what hope do they have against Elliot? None, the answer is none if they play like they did this past Sunday.
STUD: Nathan Gerry
I was one of the people that was not big on Gerry from the start. I didn’t think he was good and had a lot of problems with him. Earlier in the season, one of our writers, Dylan, wrote an article about Gerry and how he has been under appreciated, and I let him know how I didn’t think he was any good. However, I am now starting to see what Dylan saw. This guy may never be a Pro Bowler, but he definitely is a good linebacker to have on the field. He can cover guys, blitz, has good speed, delivers hard hits, and even can do zone coverage. This guy is clearly a good depth-guy to have on the defense and he showed that during this past game. He recorded four tackles on his 39 defensive snaps.
DUD: Whoever Decides Who is on the Practice Squad
Let’s just look at this -- Greg Ward is now filling in as a WR1 and is actually playing better than our actual WR1. Boston Scott can run and catch the ball as if it were a prime Darren Sproles and makes key plays when the team asks him to. Josh Perkins has been doing everything the Eagles have asked of him. How do the Eagles explain not having these players join the offense earlier in the year? The entire season the offense has struggled because of lack of speed and not being able to get open for Carson Wentz to throw to. Whoever is the final decision-maker for the roster should not have the job of determining who is good enough to be on the roster and who should be practice squad after this season is over. That person seems to have a hard time seeing their talent.