Eagles’ Rookies Struggle in Loss to Cardinals

Eagles’ Rookies Struggle in Loss to Cardinals

The Eagles were embarrassed again, losing their fourth game in five weeks to the lowly Cardinals. This loss will undoubtedly have an impact on the entire roster and coaching staff as their 10-1 start to the season was squandered en route to a wild card berth in the NFC playoffs.

The Eagles rookie was very involved in this game, especially on defense. That kind of rookie involvement on that side of the ball would have been hard to predict in the summer, but injuries and poor play forced a handful of Eagles freshmen into significant roles with mixed success.

Jalen Carter: C+ Despite that play in which Carter dropped Kyler Murray, rookie defensive tackle Takla was barely seen through four quarters. The Cardinals ran for over 200 yards against the Eagles defense and Carter was helpless on downs. A truly disappointing end to a season that started with such promise.

Nolan Smith: C Nolan Smith was quite involved in the Eagles’ defensive lineup, but didn’t make too much of a positive impact. The best thing about Smith is that he plays with a lot of hustle right now, which can be said for a great defense right now.

Sydney Brown: B+ Sydney Brown deserves a lot of credit for an electrifying 99-yard interception return. The interception itself was a miscommunication by the Cardinals, but Brown’s ability to beat would-be tacklers the length of the field was truly impressive. A memorable first of many interceptions for the talented safety. Outside of that, Brown continues to play with high energy, but finds himself out of position on many plays that need to be cleaned up. The way he is used will also put a lot of pressure on him, considering how he plays on every pitch. Hopefully a more defined role in the future will help him adjust.


Kelee Ring: C+ Ringo’s hot streak ended in that game. The Cardinals caught him a little more and he gave up a field goal late in the game to make it 28-28. The play call didn’t help; using one tall coverage deep in the red zone puts a lot of strain on a rookie cornerback … but still. Ringo continues to perform as a handler, which is a big development for him. The Eagles certainly have some talent in the defensive backfield, but we saw more warts in this game than expected.

Eli Ricks: C Eli Ricks played up and down, blitzing coverage at times. He really struggled as a tackler, unable to stop the run. Michael Carter has been knocking his twilight out of his shoes for a long time. Physicality was an issue for Ricks, who is slightly lighter. This game showed how much it can hurt a defense.

Ben VanSumeren: D After a good NFL debut, Ben VanSumeren had a tough time against the Cardinals. Arizona’s offensive game plan really depended on attacking the Eagles in the middle of the field and exploiting their quarterback group of the week. For the most part, VanSumeren was late with the offense and the Tackles he made came down the field or had him dragged forward for extra yards. The rest: Moro Ojomo had a couple of carries at defensive tackle as the Eagles pounded the ground. Maybe more repetitions are needed to keep the group fresh.

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