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Duke in the NFL: Jones continues win streak, Carter notches third start

Laken Tomlinson hasn't missed an offensive snap since November of 2020.
Laken Tomlinson hasn't missed an offensive snap since November of 2020.

With the conclusion of Week 7 of the NFL season, the Blue Zone takes a look at a few former Blue Devils and how they fared:

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

The Giants’ unexpected 6-1 record can be attributed to multiple factors. The brilliance of running back Saquon Barkley, much-improved decision making courtesy of first-year head coach Brian Daboll and a solid defense are all important factors in New York’s 2022 emergence. At the center of it all, however, is fourth-year quarterback Daniel Jones, who is having the best season of his career. 

In the Giants' win against the Jaguars Sunday afternoon, Jones put together one of his finest performances yet. He completed 19-of-30 passing attempts for 202 yards and a touchdown while only taking one sack. Perhaps more impressively, the Charlotte, N.C., native recorded the first 100-yard rushing game of his career, averaging 9.7 yards per attempt on 11 carries and scoring a touchdown on the ground that put New York up for good with 5:31 left in the fourth quarter. The Giants are far from the most dominant 6-1 team as all of their wins have been by eight points or fewer. However, through the determination of both team and quarterback, New York is well-positioned to make its first playoff appearance since 2016. The Giants face the Seahawks on Sunday before heading into their bye week. 

Michael Carter II, CB, New York Jets

Carter started his third game of the season Sunday against an imploding Denver squad that was without quarterback Russell Wilson. The former Blue Devil recorded a tackle and played 63% of defensive snaps for a unit that limited backup Brett Rypien to a QBR of just 32.7. The slot cornerback was targeted two times, allowing a solitary catch for 3 yards. Should the Jets continue to use five-DB sets, Carter will log more starts for the secondary that includes Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and former Super Bowl champion Jordan Whitehead.

Laken Tomlinson, G, New York Jets

As one of the Jets’ best players on offense, Laken Tomlinson showed up on a run-heavy day in Denver. The Pro Bowler played every offensive snap in Sunday’s 16-9 win, continuing a nearly two year streak. Tomlinson once again blocked for star rookie running back Breece Hall, who rushed for 72 yards on just four carries, including a 62-yard house call. Unfortunately, Hall tore his ACL in the second quarter. With offensive guard Alijah Vera-Tucker also done for the year with a triceps injury, Tomlinson will have to step up on the offensive line as the team relies more on running back Michael Carter and second-year quarterback Zach Wilson. Nevertheless, the 5-2 Jets are off to their best start since 2010 and look to extend their win streak to five in a showdown with the Patriots this Sunday. 

Victor Dimukeje, OLB, Arizona Cardinals

Dimukeje had the first start of his career against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night, a primetime, high-scoring game that the Cardinals won 42-34. Dimukeje played 44% of snaps for a defense that recorded pick-sixes on back-to-back drives, both within the final two minutes of the second quarter. He tallied two total tackles and played 59% of snaps on special teams. Should incumbent starter Dennis Gardeck remain out, look for Dimukeje to contribute more to the Cardinals’ young linebacking core in the weeks to come.

Noah Gray, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

On National Tight Ends Day, Gray took a back seat to one of the greatest tight ends in league history, Travis Kelce, who delivered a magnificent performance in the Chiefs’ 44-23 victory against the 49ers. Gray had a quiet night, only securing one catch for ten yards. However, he started the game alongside Kelce, playing 58% of offensive snaps and 57% on special teams. Should 33-year-old Kelce finally begin to slow down this season, Gray could earn more playing time in one of the league’s best offenses. With their bye week on the horizon, the Chiefs and Gray get some much-needed rest after an excellent 5-2 start.  

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