The Eagles finally snapped their losing streak, beating the Giants on Christmas in what was ultimately a close call. Despite some frustrating moments on both sides of the ball, there was some really encouraging play from the Eagles’ young guys.
Jalen Carter: C+
Another quiet day for Jalen Carter. While he had a few pressures rushing the passer, he continued to struggle to make an impact as a run defender. In fact, Matt Patricia seemed to want Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, or Milton Williams on the field on early downs. This might be a better choice in the long run to keep the rookie fresh for the playoffs, but its noteworthy that Carter’s run defense can’t be relied on anymore. Carter also had a penalty that hurt the Eagles’ defense (turned a 4th-and-4 punt into a first down) and probably should’ve had a second one (Giants were questionably called for a false start).
Nolan Smith: B
With injuries to the linebacker group, Nolan Smith played off-ball linebacker in sub-packages. His athleticism made it easy for him to flow to the ball, but it was evident he had a hard time breaking down and making tackles from that position. When Smith played on the edge, he made some nice plays and hustle tackles. He is slowly coming along and developing into a interesting role player on the Eagles defense.
Sydney Brown: B
Sydney Brown continues to be deployed in a variety of ways and he continues to play his ass off on every snap. He made a really nice play in coverage on fourth and one to stop the Giants from converting. He also made a bad tackle attempt where his arm hit a sliding Giants quarterback in the head to draw a penalty. It wasn’t intentional, but that flag gets thrown every time, and it wiped out an offensive holding call that would’ve set the Giants back to 1st-and-20.
Kelee Ringo: A+
Shout out to Kelee Ringo, man. After being relegated to special teams duty until earlier this month, Ringo has looked fantastic as an outside cornerback through two games starting. Ringo’s athleticism allows him to hang in coverage with anyone and he is a fearless tackler and laid out some impressive hits in the Giants game. Ringo’s biggest plays came in coverage as he had a really nice pass defended later in the game and, of course, sealed the game with an interception in the end zone. Ringo has been a revelation for a secondary that has struggled to find answers. When Darius Slay comes back, he and Ringo should be the starters on the outside.
Eli Ricks: B
Ricks continues to rotate in, playing in the slot and on the outside. He has rebounded from a rough stretch in the midseason to play some really solid football. It will be interesting to see how Ricks factors into the defense when Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox return.
Ben VanSumeren: B
Ben VanSumeren went from an UDFA who hadn’t played any defensive snaps all year to starting at inside linebacker for the Eagles in a must-win game. VanSumeren held his own, rarely giving up big plays. It’s obvious he is raw and got beat to the outside on a few plays, but he was not a total liability. VanSumeren had a nice play in the game where he smartly sniffed out a screen to Saquon Barkley and caused a two yard loss by bottling up the talented runner. Ideally, the Eagles won’t have to depend on VanSumeren much more this season, but he deserves credit for playing four decent quarters of football.
- Tyler Steen had to sit and watch as Sua Opeta played left guard with Landon Dickerson out. Opeta had a good game, so Steen will continue to ride the bench.