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Eagles Rookie Report Card: Young players shine in Eagles’ signature win

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles got their biggest win of the season after hanging 31 on the 5-1 Dolphins in primetime while only allowing their league leading offense to score a single touchdown. It was a full team effort to beat Miami, but it is hard to ignore the huge role played by the Eagles rookies.

Jalen Carter: B+

Jalen Carter did not quite fill up the box score, but his play was crucial in a a memorably good Eagles defensive performance. The Dolphins could get nothing going on the ground in the first half due in part to Carter, Jordan Davis, and the rest of the defensive interior just dominating the line of scrimmage. Carter was able to log a QB hit and a tackle for a loss, but his best work was eating up blocks and creating opportunities for Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, and Nolan Smith to make plays. Carter being such a great dirty work player is such a great development for the young rookie. He is happy to draw the attention of offenses and eat double teams for the sake of his teammates.

Nolan Smith: A

Nolan Smith gets high marks here because he logged his first career sack. The Dolphins kind of... forgot to block the speedy rookie defender and Smith seemingly hesitated for a moment on the play because he was surprised no one blocked him. Even with the brief pause, he accelerated toward Tua and brought him down. The sack was kind of wasted because Tua threw a gorgeous touchdown to Tyreek Hill on the next play, but hey... it was cool to see him get a sack.

Smith’s role is still fairly reduced in the defense, but it was good to see how his speed can be such an asset on the edge with the Eagles’ interior drawing so much attention.

Sydney Brown: B

Sydney Brown was fully healthy for what felt like the first time this season and started the whole game at safety. That in itself was a relief. He played well enough, helping limit the Dolphins passing game to a season low 199 yards. He was slightly out of frame on the Tyreek Hill touchdown, but it looked like that play was mostly on Hill outrunning double coverage by James Bradberry and Terrell Edmunds. Also, that was just a ridiculous throw and catch by Tua and Hill... hard to defend.

Otherwise, Brown was around the ball quite a bit as a run defender too. He still has to get his legs under him a bit, but he played fast and confidently which was exciting. When Reed Blankenship is back, he and Brown should be the safeties going forward.

Eli Ricks: A

Eli Ricks has gone from an undrafted free agent to covering Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Cooper Kupp, and Puka Nacua in the first few games of his career. Ricks has responded admirably, turning in his best play last night. Notably, Ricks was covering Tyreek Hill on 4th and 10 in the fourth quarter, batting away a pass intended for Hill to basically seal the victory for Philadelphia.

Ricks has been in and out of the lineup as the Eagles secondary deals with injuries and he has played better and better despite the lack of clarity about his role on the defense. The Eagles might have found a serious gem in Ricks and hopefully he continues to get more opportunities this season.

The Rest:

  • Kelee Ringo once again only played on special teams.
  • We didn’t see Tyler Steen on offense as Lane Johnson was able to tough it out for four quarters after suffering an ankle injury last week.
  • Mekhi Garner was active one week after playing 23 snaps at safety. Luckily the Eagles didn’t need to force the UDFA into action.
  • Moro Ojomo was inactive due to the Eagles defensive line being very healthy.
  • Tanner McKee was the emergency third quarterback.

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