Elijah Qualls

Eagles rookie report: Derek Barnett just misses 1st NFL sack

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Eagles rookie report: Derek Barnett just misses 1st NFL sack

First-round pick Derek Barnett just missed out on his first NFL sack in the Eagles' dominant 34-7 win Sunday over the Cardinals (see breakdown).

Cornerback Rasul Douglas and running back Corey Clement also had a hand in the win, and defensive tackle Elijah Qualls makes his first appearance on the rookie report.

Here are a few highlights.

1st quarter, 0:16, 2nd-and-10 at ARZ 42 - Eagles 21, Cardinals 0
On this play, Douglas is lined up against the speedy John Brown. Brown is clearly not the target on this route and runs a lazy slant. Douglas recognizes this and sees quarterback Carson Palmer dump a short out to tight end Jermaine Gresham. The play is designed to pull the corner away from that side of the field and allow Gresham to gain some yards up the sideline. Instead, Douglas makes an aggressive play on the ball and tackles Gresham for a minimal gain.

2nd quarter, 9:05, 1st-and-10 at ARZ 10 - Eagles 21, Cardinals 7
Barnett shows off what made him a first-round pick. He uses an outside rush and beats John Wetzel badly and tosses him aside. Palmer steps up in the pocket just enough to avoid the sack and get a short pass off to Andre Ellington. Barnett was flagged for roughing the passer, but it was pretty soft. It sort of looked like Barnett was falling to the ground and just held onto Palmer as he did. The coaching staff probably won't get on the rookie too much for that one.

2nd quarter, 2:00, 1st-and-10 at PHI 38 - Eagles 21, Cardinals 7
Nelson Agholor is lined out wide to the left. He motions at full speed like he might get the ball on a jet sweep. Carson Wentz takes the snap from under center, gives a hand fake to Agholor and then a ball fake to Clement. Clement then goes left for a screen. The rookie back then takes the ball into Cardinals' territory for a 22-yard gain. Clement does an excellent job selling the run and shows his patience and vision in setting up his blocks (see Roob's 10 observations). Excellent call by Doug Pederson. Clement isn't typically on the field for plays like this and it appeared to catch Arizona off guard.

2nd quarter, 0:32, 1st-and-10 at ARI 33 - Eagles 21, Cardinals 7
This time lined up against Jaron Brown, Douglas has sort of a weird play. He runs with Brown down the left sideline but just sort of stops after about 15 yards. Was it a zone look? Did he know he had help over the top from Malcolm Jenkins and saw where Palmer was going with the football? If we give Douglas the benefit of the doubt and say the latter, then it's a mighty impressive play. He does appear to take a peek into the backfield and then times the throw well and gets a hand on it. 

3rd quarter, 0:27, 1st-and-14 at ARZ 21 - Eagles 31, Cardinals 7
Welcome to the NFL, Qualls. Qualls has seen action but had yet to have an impactful snap. Palmer tries to carry out a play-action fake to the right and then come back for a receiver screen on the right. Qualls is unblocked. Perhaps Arizona was hoping Qualls would buy the fake. More likely, the Cardinals' offensive line is just playing really bad football. Qualls shows his burst off the line and plants Palmer into the ground, causing an incompletion.

Analysis
Douglas and Barnett weren't much of a factor, but only because it was such a dominant effort by the defense overall (see report card). Palmer seemed to keep picking on Patrick Robinson instead of Douglas, but the veteran corner was excellent. Barnett narrowly missed his first sack. It'll come.

Clement finished with 17 yards on seven carries and the one catch for 22 yards. Overall, it was a solid performance by the rookie back. I liked the idea of getting him involved on a screen. Clement possesses excellent patience and vision, crucial elements to run a successful screen play.

Worth mentioning, Jake Elliott was 2 for 2. He may never miss a kick again.

Eagles rookie report: Derek Barnett, Rasul Douglas, Mack Hollins make impact vs. Chiefs

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Eagles rookie report: Derek Barnett, Rasul Douglas, Mack Hollins make impact vs. Chiefs

The second edition of our weekly rookie report is much more robust, with six first-year players taking the field in the Eagles' 27-20 loss to the Chiefs (see breakdown).

Just like last week, first-round pick Derek Barnett saw the most action. But unlike last week, he wasn't the only rookie to make an impact. CB Rasul Douglas and WR Mack Hollins also did some damage despite the loss.

We look at the most notable plays from Barnett, Douglas, Hollins, DT Elijah Qualls, RB Corey Clement and K Jake Elliott.

1st quarter, 11:31, 3rd-and-4 at PHI 16 - Eagles 0, Chiefs 0
Jim Schwartz, as he did for much of the day, did a great job disguising this look. The Eagles show blitz and Chris Long is standing up like an outside linebacker on the left. Barnett is lined up on the right against former first-overall pick Eric Fisher. Barnett beats Fisher to the end outside, showing off his outstanding bend, but he slips a little coming off the edge. Still, he helps collapse the pocket around Alex Smith who throws an incompletion to Travis Kelce.

1st quarter, 1:29, 2-and-10 at PHI 41 - Eagles 3, Chiefs 3
Rookie running back Kareem Hunt took the ball off tackle to the right while Smith fakes the option. Barnett, unblocked on the backside, stays disciplined on the option fake and keeps contain on Smith. Once he recognizes that Hunt has the ball, he busts it down the line to hold Hunt to a two-yard gain. For the second week in a row, Barnett makes a Brandon Graham-esque play (see Roob's 10 observations).

1st quarter, 0:43, 3-and-8 at PHI 39 - Eagles 3, Chiefs 3
On the very next play, Barnett nearly records his first NFL sack. Nigel Bradham shows blitz and comes right up the gut at Smith. Barnett again beats Fisher to the outside. As Smith is flushed out of the pocket by Bradham, Barnett gets a hand on Smith's foot but is unable to bring down the Chiefs' quarterback. 

2nd quarter, 9:27, 2nd-and-6 at KC 34 - Eagles 3, Chiefs 3
A rookie other than Barnett saw action and made an impact play. Douglas was inserted into the lineup when Jaylen Watkins, who surprisingly started outside at corner, left the game with a hamstring injury. On his first snap, Douglas is lined up against the super dangerous Tyreek Hill (Uh oh). But Douglas held his own and then some. The Chiefs run a quick hitch to Hill and Douglas reads the play and tackles Hill immediately after the catch (see report card). This aggressive kind of play is what Schwartz loves and what the Eagles saw out of Douglas at West Virginia.

2nd quarter, 6:36, 2nd-and-11 at KC 41 - Eagles 3, Chiefs 3
On this play, Mychal Kendricks comes on a delayed blitz on the right side. Barnett, lined up on that side, beats Fisher yet again. That allows Kendricks to come in untouched and take Smith down. Again, like Graham, Barnett may not always have gaudy sack numbers, but he'll certainly affect plays.

3rd quarter, 7:42, 1-and-10 at PHI 37 - Chiefs 6, Eagles 3
Yet another rookie making a play. Hollins is lined up on the outside to the right in a three-wide set. Wentz looks left and then comes back to the right to hit Hollins for an 11-yard gain. Hollins ran an excellent hitch route and beats All-Pro corner Marcus Peters. Hollins' speed and size make him such a tough cover.

This play was part of a big touchdown drive. Hollins then made a nice, special teams tackle on the ensuing kickoff.

4th quarter, 14:17, 2-and-5 at KC 38 - Chiefs 13, Eagles 10
All of the sudden it became the Mack Hollins show. Lined up in the slot this time, Hollins actually slips coming off the line of scrimmage. Hollins recovers nicely and finishes his out route. Wentz then hits him along the sideline for a 13-yard gain. It's another excellent route by Hollins, who made an eight-yard grab on the very next play.

4th quarter, 11:14, 3-and-4 at KC 40 - Chiefs 13, Eagles 13
Had the Eagles won this game, this would've been a huge turning point. The Eagles had just tied the game. With a chance to make Kansas City go three-and-out, Douglas comes up big. Lined up in the slot against Albert Wilson, Douglas gets a decent jam on Wilson, but Wilson breaks away enough on a slant for Smith to attempt a throw to him. Douglas is right on Wilson's hip and is able to get a hand on the football. If Douglas doesn't deflect the pass, Wilson might've been running for awhile. 

Analysis
For as much flak as the Eagles' draft class took before and after Week 1, the rookies made a pretty big impact against a very good team. 

Barnett couldn't quite get home, but he's shown the elite bend and relentless pursuit that made him such an attractive pick at No. 14. He was able to beat a decent left tackle in most of their matchups. It's worth noting that pass rushers have historically struggled to record big sack numbers in their rookie season, but that doesn't mean Barnett can't be a difference maker. 

Douglas was probably the guy that impressed me most. Playing against the likes of the speedy Hill and WR Chris Conley, this seemed like a tough week for Douglas' debut. But Douglas acquitted himself just fine. He wasn't beaten over the top and made a few aggressive plays on the ball. A fine debut.

When the Eagles drafted Hollins, the experts lauded his special teams' prowess. While his ability there has shown, he proved today that that's not the sole reason the team took him in the fourth round. Hollins finished with three catches on three targets for 32 yards. If he continues to polish off his route running, look out.

I didn't want to get too in depth about a rookie kicker, but it's worth mentioning that Elliott went 2 of 3 in his first NFL game. He missed a chip shot at the end of the first half after he was iced by Andy Reid but recovered nicely in nailing a 40-yarder right down the middle in the fourth quarter.

Eagles Inactives: 4 draft picks to sit out season opener vs. Redskins

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Eagles Inactives: 4 draft picks to sit out season opener vs. Redskins

LANDOVER, Md. — The Eagles have four draft picks on their inactive list for the season opener. 

Rasul Douglas, Donnel Pumphrey, Shelton Gibson, Elijah Qualls, Chance Warmack, Dexter McDougle and Steven Means are all inactive for Sunday's game against Washington. 

The Eagles were completely healthy heading into Sunday's matchup in Washington. Every player on the 53-man roster practiced in full all week. 

Pumphrey expected to be inactive. After a terrible preseason where he averaged just 1.9 yards per rushing attempt, Pumphrey made the 53-man roster but said during the practice week that he would be inactive. He was right.

With Pumphrey, Gibson, Douglas and Qualls inactive, four of the Eagles' eight draft picks are on the inactive list Sunday. (Sidney Jones is on NFI and Nate Gerry is on the practice squad.) The only active draft picks are Derek Barnett and Mack Hollins. 

Undrafted rookie running back Corey Clement is active. 

McDougle might eventually have a role on the Eagles' defense, but for now, he's still the newcomer after the Eagles traded for him in late August. 

The Eagles kept just seven of their eight offensive linemen active, which makes Warmack the odd man out. Their backup offensive linemen are Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Stefen Wisniewski. 

The Eagles technically have just three cornerbacks active: Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and Patrick Robinson. But Jaylen Watkins, while technically listed as a safety, has been playing corner and Corey Graham can play corner as well. 

Washington's inactives: Mack Brown, Joshua Holsey, Tyler Catalina, TJ Clemmings, Anthony Lanier, Jeremy Sprinkle and Josh Harvey-Clemons.