PHILADELPHIA -- Randall Cunningham turned from quarterback to professor this week when he was asked to grade the Eagles' offense at the midpoint of this season. Cunningham is obviously a little tougher on NFL defenses than he is with a red pen.

"The offensive line I'll give a B+," Cunningham said. "They had a couple games where it was rough, but that's nothing. Overall, they've done the job. I think the running backs, A-. The receivers, an A. The tight ends, Keith Jackson hasn't been here all year long, so I won't give him a grade. We'll call it incomplete so far. We'll give him his at the end of the season."

What about the quarterback?

"I don't know," he said. "I think {at} the quarterback position we've been consistent. I've done basically what I've been told to do. Running-wise, you can give me a plus. Other than that, you can grade that position. I'll take a pass."

Cunningham has passed and run the Eagles back into playoff contention at 4-4 after they stumbled to an improbable 1-3 start, including home losses to Phoenix and Indianapolis.

"We should be better than we are right now," the quarterback said as he prepared to face the Redskins Monday night at Veterans Stadium. "We have to get that confidence back."

If the Eagles have any reason to be confident going into the second half of the season, it's because of Cunningham.

"Randall is Mister Confident," tackle Ron Heller said. "That confidence runs right through the rest of the team. He feels he can win a game by himself. I know I never saw a guy change a game around the way he can."

Cunningham is playing the best football of his career. It didn't appear he could be better than he was in 1988 when he almost single-handedly took the Eagles to the NFC East title and their first playoff appearance in eight years. In fact he took an unexpected, almost shocking, dropoff in 1989.

After his five-touchdown, 447-yard day in Washington on the second week of last season, he was very average. This year the 1988 Cunningham is back.

"I think he's come into his own," Eagles Coach Buddy Ryan said. "He's throwing the ball well. He's running when he has to. He's got his knack back of when to pull the ball down and when to go. Earlier he was kind of waiting, maybe a little too long, giving the defender a chance to recover. He's just having a great year."

Cunningham has completed 58.7 percent of his passes, a career high. He's thrown for 1,905 yards and 15 touchdown passes with seven interceptions. There hasn't been a game this year in which he completed fewer than half his passes and only one game, against Dallas, in which he threw for fewer than 200 yards.

During the third week of the season, before a game with the Rams in Los Angeles, the then 0-2 Eagles decided to let Randall be Randall.

"I told them I would be the quarterback they wanted me to be," Cunningham said. "I tried it their way. Finally, they said, 'Just be you.' I said 'Thank you for letting me be myself.' "

Over the next six games, he has been sensational. Against the Redskins he was 21 for 42 for 220 yards and one touchdown, but in the other five games of that stretch he was 89 for 151 for 1,207 yards and 12 touchdowns with two interceptions. He hasn't thrown an interception in 15 quarters. That's 123 passes.

Then, there is his running. Cunningham, who ran for a career-high 123 yards against New England last week, is about to lead the Eagles in rushing for the fourth straight year. No quarterback has ever done that. No quarterback has ever gained 1,000 yards rushing in a season, either. Chicago's Bobby Douglass has the record with 968 in 1972. Cunningham, who is second on that list with 624 yards in 1988, just might.

Cunningham is the only quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game this season, and he was the last one to do it when he gained 110 yards in 1986 against Detroit.

Cunningham has 2,977 career yards rushing, third on the all-time quarterback list, 151 behind second-place Tobin Rote. Fran Tarkenton is first with 3,674. This year Cunningham has rushed and passed for 2,387 yards -- 75.4 percent of the team's offense.

"He's the man," New England linebacker Andre Tippett said. "He can run. He can pass. He does it all. You can't take anything for granted with him."