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Derek Barnett Shines in Preseason Debut, but Eagles Lose to Packers

HUNTER MARTIN | PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

No preseason champs this year, it feels pretty good to say that!

The Philadelphia Eagles were thoroughly defeated 24-9 by the Green Bay Packers in their preseason opener, but Carson Wentz completed all four of his passes, including a 38-yard touchdown to fourth-round rookie Mack Hollins, and 14th overall pick Derek Barnett recorded two sacks in a very promising debut.

Wentz totaled 56 yards and recorded a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Two of his completions were impressive, the first showing patience in the pocket before hitting Jordan Matthews to move the chains on a 4th-and-6. He followed that up by ducking under the pressure of Clay Matthews in the backfield and hit a streaking Hollins for a touchdown.

Barnett abused second-year tackle Jason Spriggs all night. His first sack didn’t come on his patented speed rush, which was nice to see. Instead, he showed off his hand usage and converted speed to power, knocking Spriggs off-balance before converging in on the quarterback. The second sack was more of a trip, but came after a speed rush.

Barnett also had this wicked speed rush later in the game.

Hollins also had a stellar debut, consistently breaking tackles and showcasing a vicious stiff arm, which took out a pair of Packers on his touchdown. He hauled in four passes for 64 yards.

There’s been a lot of talk between Marcus Johnson and Greg Ward about potentially winning the sixth and final wide receiver spot, but it was Bryce Treggs who let everyone know not to forget about him. Known more of a burner, he did have a 38-yard reception, I liked the crispness of his underneath routes as he racked up catch after catch. He caught seven balls in all for 91 yards.

Another rookie, sixth-round pick, Nathan Gerry impressed as well. He’s making the transition from safety to linebacker and played instinctive, making solid tackles and being in the proper position.

The cornerbacks have gotten a lot of heat during OTAs and Training Camp, but the starters had a solid opening drive, with Jalen Mills making a pair of good tackles.

C.J. Smith had a tough time on his opening series, allowing a quick slant to Geronimo Allison and getting burned by Jeff Janis on a double move.

Credit to him, though, for bouncing back instead of it getting into his head.

Third-round rookie corner Rasul Douglas may have a ways to go with his footwork and technique, but he’s great using his hands. Look at him swallow up Max McCaffrey here.

The hit of the night went to Tre Sullivan, who obliterated Malachi Dupree. Hopefully the 7th-rounder is ok, sheesh!

The Eagles’ running game never generated traction, carrying the ball just 19 times for 47 yards, good enough for a measly 2.5 yards per tote. LeGarrette Blount ran the rock four times for nine yards, but three of those were off-tackle, which I didn’t understand. Right tackle Halipoulivaati Vaitai injured his left knee and did not return. He played well after struggling mightily in his debut against the Washington Redskins last season.

Philadelphia suits up again next Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills.

You can check out my thoughts on the game below.

 


You can follow Adrian Fedkiw on Twitter (@AdrianFedkiw) and e-mail him at amfedkiw@yahoo.com. Subscribe to The Bitter Birds on YouTube here. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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