Through three games, there are mostly good things to say about the Eagles rookies. First you have Jalen Carter, who looks like one of the best defensive players in the league already. And then you have a bunch of guys who are contributing in the small chances they get. That is pretty good news for a team coming off a Super Bowl appearance. But it’s only Week 3 and the season is long ... what more could the rookies do heading into a division game against Washington?
What insane thing (or things) will Jalen Carter do against the Commanders?
The Washington Commanders offense has been plagued by sacks over the first three games of the season. Sam Howell has been sacked 19 times on 123 drop backs, which comes out to over 15% of Washington’s passing plays resulting in sacks. These are league-leading figures by quite a bit and things probably will not be easier against the Eagles defensive line.
Jalen Carter has been great through three weeks and he has had at least one or two plays a game so far that really make you stand up in your living room. It is very possible Carter really causes some problems for Washington this week so just keep an eye on #98 and be ready for something incredible.
Will Nolan Smith join in on the fun?
As mentioned above, the Washington offense is food for hungry pass rushers. The Commanders gave up nine sacks last week and what was most interesting is that production was split up between six different defenders. If the Eagles are going to have a party in the Commanders backfield on Sunday, it’s possible a lot of different players get a chance to fill up the box score.
Nolan Smith has had a quiet rookie season so far, with his one highlight coming on a QB hit against Tampa. His role has been much smaller than Jalen Carter’s, which mostly everyone expected. On Sunday, however, he could turn one of his few opportunities into that elusive First Career Sack.
Rookies in the secondary
The Eagles’ secondary has been snake-bitten by injuries this year. The Tampa Bay game saw Justin Evans and rookie safety Sydney Brown get hurt. The thinner the group gets, the more the team could depend on the first year players.
Sydney Brown has a thigh injury that has him on track to miss Sunday’s game. If he is able to heal up in time, it is possible he sees snaps at the other safety position next to Reed Blankenship. After all, he looked really solid in limited time against Tampa Bay, including making a touchdown saving pass defense on Mike Evans. The Eagles could use his athleticism at the back end of their defense.
Cornerback is looking a bit shaky too. Josh Jobe got the start at outside cornerback against Tampa with James Bradberry taking over Avonte Maddox’s place in the slot. Behind Jobe waits rookies Eli Ricks and Kelee Ringo. Either player could be a spot starter at outside cornerback if Jobe gets banged up or if he struggles (he has mostly been solid so far). Either way, the Eagles depth is already being tested in the back half of their defense.