The Philadelphia Eagles have remained unscathed through the first five weeks of the NFL season, starting 5-0 for the second consecutive year (the first time in franchise history they accomplished that feat). One of only two unbeaten teams in the NFL, the Eagles have a two-game lead in the NFC East and are in the mix for home-field advantage in the conference.
Even though the Eagles are unbeaten -- and coming off their best game of the season -- the players admit the team can be better. The Eagles haven't reached their peak yet, even though they'll gladly take the perfect start and using the softest part of the schedule to their advantage.
Thanks to the Super Bowl expectations in place, the grading for the Eagles after five games will be measured on a steeper curve. The team has graded well, even though high marks will be tough to obtain.
Playing two games in five stays to start the season against good defensive coordinators definitely affected Jalen Hurts in the early going. Not to mention he was getting used to a new play-caller in Brian Johnson.
Hurts has been better over his last three games, completing 65.2% of his passes for 899 yards with four touchdowns to three interceptions (90.6 rating). The statistics don't show how he's finding the open receiver and taking advantage of a clean pocket. Hurts also has 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
This isn't the MVP version of Hurts from last season, yet he's finding ways to win games (despite five turnovers in five games). Hurts has thrown for over 300 yards the last two games and he's starting to get his running lanes back. Despite the slow start, he's playing well.
Running back: B
Training camp indicated Kenneth Gainwell was going to be RB1, but D'Andre Swift took over the role in the second game and hasn't relinquished it. Swift is fourth in the NFL in rushing yards (434) and yards per carry (5.7), one of the most explosive backs in the league.
Gainwell has averaged 3.3 yards per carry on 39 carries while Boston Scott has just six carries (7.2 yards per carry). Rashaad Penny hasn't even been active for four of the five games, a nonfactor in the team's running back rotation.
Even though the Eagles aren't deep at the position, they are sixth in the league in yards per carry (4.6). Hurts hasn't even gotten going on the ground yet (3.7 yards per carry), so that factors into the yards-per-carry equation.
Wide receiver: A-
A.J. Brown has been on an absolute tear over the past three weeks, having 24 catches for 433 yards and two touchdowns (18.0 rating). Brown has played a significant role in three of the Eagles' wins, being the game-changing wideout who is established as one of the best in the game.
DeVonta Smith's production has slowed down over the past few weeks as a result of Brown, having 23 catches for 290 yards and two touchdowns on the season (12.6 yards per catch). Brown and Smith are still one of the top wide receiver duos in the NFL.
The depth will be tested, but the Eagles wide receivers have been very good thus far (mainly because of Brown and Smith).
Tight end: B
Dallas Goedert had a slow start to the year, having just 13 catches for 88 yards (6.8 yards per catch). Sunday's win significantly upgraded Goedert's numbers (eight catches, 117 yards, touchdown), as he now has 21 catches for 205 yards and a score (9.8 yards per catch).
The Eagles need to target Goedert more, but he's been a strong blocker in significantly helping the run game. Goedert is one of the best tight ends in the game and the explosive plays appear to be coming. Grant Calcaterra and Albert Okwuegbunam don't have a catch and Jack Stoll just has two receptions.
Basically, tight end is based on Goedert's production.
Offensive line: A
Through five games, the Eagles offensive line has lived up to expectations. This group has been the best in the NFL and a massive reason for the team's 5-0 start. The Eagles have been basically unstoppable on the "Tush Push," going 13 of 16 -- and the three misses were to run clock down or set up a first down on the next play.
Hurts takes sacks, but has dealt with mostly a clean pocket. The holes have been massive for Swift, allowing him to emerge as one of the best running backs in the game through five weeks. Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson have been playing at an All-Pro level, while Cam Jurgens has filled the void at guard. Landon Dickerson and Jordan Mailata have also played well. The depth has even come into play, with Sua Opeta having a strong game against the Rams while filling in for Jurgens.
This group has been dominant thus far. It can be even better, which is a scary thought.
Defensive line: A
The sack numbers aren't where the Eagles want them to be (15 through five games), but Philadelphia is on pace for 51 on the year. Getting close to 70 sacks (the number last season) is very hard to accomplish, but 51 is pretty good. Jalen Carter might be the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in football already and Haason Reddick is healthy again, having three sacks in the last two games.
Josh Sweat (2.5 sacks) has been productive and Fletcher Cox continues to play at a high level at 32. Nolan Smith has even made a play while Milton Williams and Marlon Tuipulotu have provided valuable depth.
The Eagles have also allowed the fewest rushing yards per game (61.2) and are fourth in yards per carry allowed (3.4). This defensive line has been excellent thus far and like the offensive line, can be better.
Given what has transpired through five games, the Eagles have significantly overachieved here. Nakobe Dean was injured in the second game of the season, so the Eagles had to turn to Nicholas Morrow -- who they omitted from the initial 53-man roster. All Morrow has done is produce 21 tackles, three sacks and a 79.2 passer rating in coverage. Zach Cunningham signed in August and has a 73.6 passer rating in coverage -- while also having 33 tackles.
Where Dean fits into the equation when he gets back from injured reserve will be interesting. Will the Eagles bench Morrow for Dean? How much could Morrow's role be reduced? All of a sudden Philadelphia has some depth at off-ball linebacker.
Injuries have certainly decimation this position, particularly in the slot. Avonte Maddox was lost for the season in Week 2 and Zech McPhearson's season was over in August. They were the Eagles' top-two slot cornerbacks.
Mario Goodrich, the team's third slot cornerback, hasn't gotten much of an opportunity and has had a short leash when given one. The Eagles have moved James Bradberry to the slot as their best option there, while Josh Jobe has played on the outside with Darius Slay. Jobe has been fine, but the Eagles pass defense has taken a hit without Slay and Bradberry on the outside.
With Bradley Roby in the mix, it appears he's the slot cornerback going forward. If Roby struggles, the Eagles will have to look to improve at that position at the trade deadline. Philadelphia needs Slay and Bradberry on the outside.
This has been a patchwork job opposite Reed Blankenship since training camp started. Blankenship has been very good in coverage (62.8 passer rating allowed), while also being tied for the team lead in tackles with 33. Justin Evans started Week 1opposite Blankenship, but Terrell Edmunds has started there in his absence.
Surprisingly, Edmunds (70.1 rating) and Evans (72.3 rating) have been solid in coverage. They haven't been targeted much, but both players have been fine in their roles. The Eagles don't appear ready to play Sydney Brown in a significant role yet, so they may be trying to upgrade that position at the deadline.
Nothing more to say about Jake Elliott at this rate. He leads the NFL in field goals made (16) and has a 94.1% conversation rate on field goal attempts (only missed one). Elliott going 4-for-4 on field goals preserved a win in New England (in the rain). He also hit a 61-yard field goal against Minnesota and booted the game-winning, 54-yard field goal in overtime against Washington.
Elliott's touchbacks are at a career-high 90% this year as well. He's been one of the best kickers in the NFL through five weeks.
This position has been a mess all season. The Eagles didn't even carry a punter on the initial 53-man roster, then let Arryn Siposs have the job for two games. After averaging 43.4 yards per punt and 38.4 net yards per punt (both career lows), the Eagles moved on from their punter of two years and gave Braden Mann a shot.
Mann hasn't been any better, as he's averaged 41.6 yards per punt and 38.8 yards per punt. Philadelphia is 30th in gross yards per punt (42.7) and 28th in net yards per punt (38.5). The Eagles are eighth in percentage of punts inside the 10-yard line (15.4%) despite the struggles.
Mann is out of practice squad elevations this week. Let's see if the Eagles move him to the active roster or try someone else.