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Eagles-Ravens takeaways: Jalen Carter flashes, Eli Ricks makes big play

Gallen of Questions Podcast, Ep. 27: Sheil Kapadia of The Ringer
Gallen of Questions Podcast, Ep. 27: Sheil Kapadia of The Ringer 30:11

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- In their first action since the Super Bowl LVII loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Eagles fell just short, losing to the Baltimore Ravens, 20-19, at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday night in Week 1 of the preseason. 

Here are some takeaways from the Eagles' first preseason action: 

Jalen Carter flashes

It didn't take long for Jalen Carter, one of the Eagles' 2023 first-round picks out of Georgia, to make an impact in his first NFL action. 

On third-and-10 from Baltimore's 29-yard-line, Carter blew past an offensive guard with a quick move using hands to hit Ravens backup quarterback Josh Johnson and force an incomplete pass. 

Carter didn't get a sack on the play, but he surely made his presence felt by showing off his quickness and strength that he played with in college. He only played one more snap in the game. 

Carter's college teammate, Nolan Smith, played much more and had moments in Saturday's preseason game. He beat a Ravens offensive tackle and recorded a quarterback hit. It was Smith's first game action since he suffered a pectoral muscle injury in the 2022 season at Georgia. 

Tanner McKee stands out

If you look at Tanner McKee's box score numbers, they don't really stand out: 10/20 for 148 yards with zero touchdowns and interceptions. 

But, McKee, the Eagles' sixth-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft out of Stanford, made several pretty throws in his playing time. 

Late in the second quarter, McKee connected with wideout Tyrie Cleveland for an 18-yard back-shoulder throw to set the Eagles up on Baltimore's 2-yard line. The Eagles scored on the next play thanks to a 2-yard rush by tailback Trey Sermon. 

Marcus Mariota had some nice scrambles but didn't have the best day in his Eagles preseason action.

With McKee having a positive outing, he pretty much solidified the QB3 job over Ian Book, who had a dreadful day by completing 1 of his 4 passing attempts for 11 yards and rushing five times for 24 yards. 

Eli Ricks makes big play

The Eagles are going to have some tough decisions to make in the secondary when cutting down the 53-man roster. 

Darius Slay, James Bradberry and Avonte Maddox headline the group, but the Birds have some talented young guys on their depth chart. 

Undrafted rookie free agent Eli Ricks made a number of plays vs. the Ravens, including returning an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that nearly helped the Eagles win the game. He also had a tackle and two pass deflections. 

According to CBS Sports' Jeff Kerr, when opposing quarterbacks targeted Ricks, they were 1 for 7 for 7 yards with a 0.0 passer rating with an interception.

And Ricks wasn't the only young corner to make a big play.  

Second-year cornerback Mario Goodrich had three tackles, including one for a loss and two pass deflections. Rookie Mekhi Garner forced a fumble on a punt return, had three tackles and a pass deflection. 

The Ravens scored a touchdown in the second quarter with rookie Kelee Ringo in coverage, but he also recorded a pass deflection. 

Josh Jobe also had some solid moments Saturday night and has had an impressive training camp. 

Extra points

  • D'Andre Swift flashed during his Eagles debut, dashing off for a 22-yard run in the first quarter
  • Rashaad Penny also had some nice runs in his Eagles debut, totaling 34 yards on nine carries
  • Rookie safety Sydney Brown was all over the field and led the Eagles in tackles with nine
  • Linebacker and special teams ace Shaun Bradley will miss the season after he got carted off the field
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