Eagles rookie Jalen Carter scooped up a fumble and scored a big-man touchdown last week in a 33-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The fact that his first NFL score came in what he would otherwise consider to be a rough game for him isn’t lost on Carter.
“Yeah, it’s weird,” Carter said this week. “The touchdown’s little to me. I’ve got to get better with simple things. Hand placement and moving around, staying in my gap and stuff.”
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While Carter is still the favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, he admitted this week that he didn’t play very well in the loss to the Cowboys. Carter recognizes that he has plenty to clean up, especially his gap integrity, after that one.
And he didn’t try to hide it.
“It showed on film,” Carter said. “What we do in a game shows on film. Anybody could watch the film. I felt like me, personally, it wasn’t one of my best games. I can’t speak on everybody. Everybody feels a different way about how they played. Me personally, it wasn’t my best game.”
Carter, 22, is having a really strong rookie season and could very well become the first Eagle to ever win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
But it is Carter’s mindset that is really impressing his veteran teammates.
“It just lets you know that he knows there’s always room for improvement,” 14-year veteran Brandon Graham said. “And then the work is not done because he ain’t got that ring on his finger. He knows that he’s a big part of what’s going on moving forward so to have that mindset, I feel good that a lot of the stuff we talk about is rubbing off on him.”
Even though Carter wasn’t thrilled about his overall performance against the Cowboys, he is allowing himself to celebrate his first NFL touchdown. He proudly showed off the touchdown ball to reporters and said it’s going to his mom.
Breaking down the film from that ugly loss wasn’t much fun for the defense but watching Carter scoot for the 42-yard score was a highlight.
“Yeah, they was like, how fast you ran? I was chilling,” Carter said. “I want to ask them, what the speed was that I hit. I ain’t get to that yet. I’m gonna find that out.”
Carter did admit that he wasn’t moving as fast as Jordan Davis earlier this season when the big nose tackle chased down Josh Allen against the Bills.
The Eagles are coming off a couple of blowout losses, which is new territory for Carter after playing collegiately at Georgia. In Carter’s final two seasons at Georgia, the Bulldogs went 29-1 and were 15-0 in 2022 on their way to a second consecutive National Championship.
“It’s different,” Carter said. “I went to college and Georgia and went 15-0 and had good records. But I lost before. I lost in college, I lost in little league so I know how it feels to lose. It’s not a good feeling. But you win some, you lose some, but you try to win most of them.”
After the loss to the Cowboys, veteran defensive tackle talked about finding out who the “dudes” were in the locker room. By all accounts, the Eagles have had the type of response to adversity they wanted entering the week.
Carter said that in addition to the understood leaders of the team, pretty much every player has a voice and has been talking this week, giving positive feedback as the Eagles enter the stretch run of their regular season with a chance to enter the playoffs with one of the top seeds in the NFC.
One of the main messages floating around the locker room has been about positivity.
“Yeah, that’s the message, just stay positive,” Carter said. “Things happen. We’re facing adversity right now but it’s time to step up. That’s work, keep working.”