Carson Wentz and the first-team offense were only on the field for one possession, but they certainly made the most of it.
Wentz went 4-4 for 56 yards and a touchdown on the drive. The second-year quarterback was peppered by the Green Bay pass rush several times, but was able to hang in there to deliver several key throws.
Most impressive was Wentz facing the pass rush and keeping his eyes down the field to find rookie receiver Mack Hollins breaking open in the middle of the field. Wentz fired a strike, and the the big target Hollins made an impressive run after the catch to find the endzone.
That was the only look we got at Wentz, but it was filled with positives, and Alshon Jeffrey and starting right guard Brandon Brooks weren’t even a part of the lineup.
2017 Draft Class Makes Strong First Impression
The new draft class wasted no time in making their presences known.
First-round draft pick Derek Barnett came up with two sacks to get his Eagles’ career started.
Mack Hollins wasn’t done after his touchdown reception, finishing with four catches for 64 yards. Hollins is just brimming with all kinds of potential. He’s got a nice combination of size and speed, and as his route running continues to develop, he’s a guy that really has a chance to become a mid-round steal for the Birds.
Rasul Douglas only played with the second team, but broke up a pass and seemed to hold up well against the assignments he drew.
Fourth rounder Donnel Pumphrey looks like he’s pretty raw, and his inexperience was on display on his first two attempts as a punt returner where he made several ill-advised fielding decisions. But he also showed some of the shiftiness, and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield that made him attractive to the team.
It was a pretty nice first look at the new cast of young players, and you have a collection of guys that all have a chance to come in and contribute right away.
- I hope I never have to watch Matt McGloin quarterback the Eagles for three-plus quarters again. As I write this, the thought immediately entered my mind that I’ll have to watch him do just that against the Jets in three weeks. McGloin struggled to move the offense at all, going 28-42 for just 205 yards and an interception.
- I thought LeGarrette Blount had a couple of nice runs in the first quarter. He didn’t rip off many big gainers, but he showed the toughness and physicality that made people excited about his coming to Philadelphia.
- Its only preseason, but I hated the call to run a jet sweep for Nelson Agholor, of all people, with Blount in the backfield on second and inches. Don’t get cute in those situations, Doug. Give the ball to your bruiser, and pick up the first down. Pump the brakes on the Agholor nonsense.
- Jordan Matthews picked up three catches for 18 yards, with all going for first downs.
- Surprise player of the game might have been Bryce Treggs, who led the team with seven grabs for 91 yards. Treggs probably isn’t going to make the team, but he’s putting good film out there for someone else.
- Scary moment in the third quarter when Halapoulivaati Vaitai went down, clutching his knee. Early indications are that his injury isn’t serious, so the Eagles may have dodged a bullet here.
- I wasn’t impressed with Patrick Robinson. He was targeted several times by Brett Hundley early in the game, and should have given up two completions, but the Packer receivers couldn’t hang on to their passes.
- Jalen Mills however, I thought seemed to hold up well enough in his first action.
- C.J. Smith was burned for a touchdown in the first half, but came back to make a couple nice plays later in the game. He didn’t do anything to make me think he’s ready for a starting role.
- Jaylen Watkins gave up a big completion to Martellus Bennett in the first half.
- Backup linebackers Don Cherry and Nate Gerry had some impressive moments. It’s nice to see the team develop a bit of depth at the linebacking positions.
- Last year’s seventh-round pick Alex McAlister came up with a sack and a forced fumble.
- Rookie sixth-rounder Elijah Qualls was in on three stops.
- Dave Fipps’ unit was uncharacteristically burned for several big returns, including one that went for a touchdown.
- Caleb Sturgis went 1-2 on field goal attempts.
This is only the beginning.
The first preseason game didn’t show us a lot, and there are many layers of this team that have yet to be revealed. But so far so good.
A solid opening drive from Carson Wentz and the offense, combined with good early showings from some of the team’s key rookies bode well for the direction this team is trending in right now.
Follow Denny Basens on Twitter, @DennyBasens