I know, that’s a weak rationalization of a losing effort, but seriously, so many key performers on both teams did not play, you may forgive me for focusing on the good things we saw in the first preseason game.
Carson Wentz went 4 for 4 for 56 yards and a score on his first series, eluding a potential sack and burning the Packers on third and fourth downs.
That was against the Packers’ defensive 1’s.
Alshon Jeffery didn’t play on Thursday. Nelson Agholor, who is having a good camp, didn’t have a catch. But Wentz found rookie Mack Hollins, the team’s fourth-draft pick, for a 38-yard touchdown pass on third-and-13 with 6:33 left in the first quarter after the quarterback eluded rushing linebacker Clay Matthews‘ grasp.
That’s all I really care about in recapping the game. Maybe that reveals me as shallow, but all I wanted to see was crispness of execution from Carson Wentz behind his 1st team offensive line.
The game got sloppy for the Eagles after that.
Wentz was done after his opening series, while backup Brett Hundley started at quarterback for Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers sitting out. Hundley picked up the pace after a sluggish start as the Packers defense started forcing turnovers against the Eagles’ 2nd team offense.
Hundley pump-faked before finding Jeff Janis in stride down the right side of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass for a 14-6 lead with 8:25 left in the second quarter. The Packers capitalized after cornerback LaDarius Gunter forced tight end Trey Burton to fumble at the Eagles 40.
Hundley finished 8 of 15 for 90 yards before sitting out the second half.
Perhaps it was less about the Eagles’ defense shining at that point and more about the Packers’ 2nd-team offense stumbling and bumbling?
“We had a rough start there. I think both teams are obviously struggling handling the ball a little bit tonight — first time out, a little slick,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We have to take care of the football and we have to take it away.”
Eagles backup QB Matt McGloin looked overmatched by the speed of the game. He was in there because Nick Foles still is sidelined with a tennis elbow. I have a bad feeling about our backup QB situation. Maybe it will be alleviated by Foles’ getting healthy again.
Eagles lineman Hal Vaitai suffered a knee injury when he got rolled up in a pile of bodies midway through the game. Les Bowen says it’s not serious. I hope he’s right about that.
Our special teams unit got burned. The Packers may have found a new threat in the return game in speedy second-year receiver Trevor Davis, who ran a punt back 68 yards in the second quarter for a touchdown. Davis also had a 26-yard punt return in the third quarter.
That kind of special teams coverage has got to be cleaned up.
One nice thing to report is Eagles DE Derek Barnett, the 14th overall pick in the draft out of Tennessee, had two sacks in the first half. That’s a very good boost to the kid’s confidence going forward.
There were some hard-hitting tackles in the game which were completely legal.
Kevin King, the Packers’ second-round draft pick out of Washington, backed up his reputation as a physical cornerback with two hard open-field tackles in the second quarter.
The Eagles’ Tre Sullivan answered the intensity. Packers rookie WR Malachi Dupre was taken off on a stretcher after fumbling on a reception following a hard hit to the chest by Sullivan with 14:14 left in the game. The Packers said that Dupre had movement and feeling in his arms and legs, and he was taken to a hospital for evaluation.
Tough way to make a living as always— you have to respect and acknowledge the risk factor involved, even in a preseason game that “doesn’t count”…
Here are the unlovely totals for the Birds:
Mack Hollins 38 Yd pass from Carson Wentz (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed)
10 plays, 60 yards, 6:46
Trevor Davis 68 Yd Punt Return (Mason Crosby Kick)
3 plays, 9 yards, 2:15
Jeff Janis 20 Yd pass from Brett Hundley (Mason Crosby Kick)
5 plays, 40 yards, 2:32
Mason Crosby 39 Yd Field Goal
4 plays, -4 yards, 1:25
Caleb Sturgis 25 Yd Field Goal
19 plays, 84 yards, 6:52
Michael Clark 7 Yd pass from Taysom Hill (Mason Crosby Kick)
8 plays, 82 yards, 2:55
|Passing 1st downs||14||12|
|Rushing 1st downs||2||2|
|1st downs from penalties||0||0|
|3rd down efficiency||6-17||6-14|
|4th down efficiency||2-3||1-1|
|Yards per Play||4.4||4.4|
|Yards per pass||5.0||5.2|
|Yards per rush||2.5||2.6|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||0-2||1-2|
Possession 32:03 27:57
|Greg Ward Jr.||4||12||3.0||0||5||11|
|Greg Ward Jr.||0||0||1|
|Greg Ward Jr.||1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
Rookie watch: Hollins had four catches on five targets for 64 yards and a touchdown. He very much looked like he belonged and is on track to earn a roster spot. Running back Donnel Pumphrey muffed a punt and wasn’t able to get it going on the ground (four carries, 5 yards) or through the air (five receptions, 12 yards). If nothing else, the 5-foot-9, 176-pound Pumphrey showed he could take an NFL hit.
Injury update: CB Ron Brooks (hamstring) did not return after injuring himself on punt coverage in the first half. Backup tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai left with a knee injury. Alshon Jeffery (shoulder), fellow receiver Marcus Johnson(hamstring), guard Brandon Brooks (ankle) and running back Wendell Smallwood (hamstring) are among those who didn’t suit up.
Maybe this last observation doesn’t matter much in the football scope of things, but it is troubling to some fans that our pro bowl-quality safety Malcolm Jenkins is still riding that Colin Kaepernick train of controversy. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but Jenkins stood at the 43-yard line and raised a fist over his head during the national anthem prior to Thursday’s preseason opener at Green Bay.
“Last season, I raised my fist as a sign of solidarity to support people, especially people of color, who were and are still unjustly losing their lives at the hands of [police] officers with little to no consequence. After spending time with police officers on ride-alongs, meeting with politicians on the state and federal level and grass roots organizations fighting for human rights, it’s clear that our criminal justice system is still crippling communities of color through mass incarceration,” Jenkins said in a statement.
Jenkins is one of several players across the league who have spoken out on the matter. He recently called some teams “cowards” for their reluctance to sign Kaepernick over concerns about public blowback.
I’d like to get South Philly Ben‘s opinion on this public stance by one of our best players. I still just don’t know where I would fall on this issue if I were a teammate of Jenkins. I love his game but I am not sure about his politics. In the end, does any of this Kaepernick brouhaha belong here? Is it an unnecessary distraction, or is Jenkins on to something that is a righteous and unifying cause for all football players, be they of color or not?