The Eagles are looking for their seventh win of the season as they head to Landover, Maryland to face the Washington Commanders for the second time this season. Coming off a huge win against Miami, the Eagles are looking to maintain their lead in the NFC East and the conference as a whole. How will the rookies play into this divisional showdown? Well, here are a few things I am keeping an eye out for.
Will Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith make Sam Howell’s life even worse?
I kinda feel bad for Sam Howell. Not only does he have to play for the Commanders, but Howell has been sacked an unfathomable 40 times through seven games. A lot of that comes from poor offensive line play, bad play design, and worse playcalling, but it’s clear Howell is just seeing ghosts at this point. Howell is a promising player in a lot of ways but it’s clear Washington is not setting him up for early success. The Eagles have the chance to make Howell’s first full season as a starter much more challenging in this game. Nolan Smith got his first sack last week and could be in for more playing time while Jalen Carter continues to be one of the best defensive tackles in the league. I’d almost feel bad for Howell if not for the logo on his helmet.
Is there room for Sydney Brown in the Eagles’ refurbished secondary?
Philadelphia made waves this week when they traded for two-time All-Pro safety Kevin Byard. Byard figures to start next to a healthy Reed Blankenshp and (hopefully) stabilize the Eagles secondary this season. The question then becomes “What happens to Sydney Brown?” The third-round pick looked solid in his first full game starting of the season last week. Obviously you take Byard’s ball-hawking ability on your defense 100 times out of 100, but it’s worth wondering if the Eagles have any plans for Brown.
Is Eli Ricks the third cornerback?
Eli Ricks played some inspired football last week, including a game-sealing play where he knocked the ball away from Tyreek Hill on an attempted fourth down conversion. With Bradley Roby hurt, Ricks could be the Eagles third cornerback behind Darius Slay and James Bradberry. He could play outside or in the slot depending on what the team wants to do with Bradberry. Regardless, he has earned more playing time.