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Wake-Up Call: Derek Barnett Brings The Heat In His Preseason Debut

Posted Aug 11, 2017

We're just hours removed from the Eagles' preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers. The players have Friday off, but there's a lot to recap as we'll have All-22 analysis from Fran Duffy later in the day. Until then, here's what you missed from the Eagles' 24-9 loss to the Packers.

1. Derek Barnett Shines In Opener

First-round pick Derek Barnett worked as a defensive end with the second-team defense and wreaked havoc with four tackles, tied for most on the team, two sacks, and an additional quarterback hit.

It was an encouraging debut for a player who started as a true freshman at Tennessee and broke Reggie White's school sack record in just three years.

"It feels good to get one," Barnett said last night after the game. "I just want to continue to focus on my technique and not try to do too much, but continue to play fast."

Barnett has been working at both right and left defensive end in Training Camp. He was primarily a right defensive end in college. He's also spent time after practice working on his pass-rush moves with future Hall of Fame tackle Jason Peters, who has said he can see why the Eagles used the 14th overall pick on Barnett.

2. Don't Get In Mack Hollins' Way

Another member of the 2017 draft class had a memorable night.

On the only drive for the first-team offense, wide receiver Mack Hollins caught a pass over the middle from quarterback Carson Wentz on a crossing route, turned up the left sideline, and shoved two would-be tacklers down to the ground on his way to a 38-yard score.

"On that touchdown, Carson found me in the middle of the field and I caught it and ran," Hollins said. "I was ready to go. Nerves at first, as always when I play, but as soon as I hit someone I am fine."

Hollins finished with four catches for 64 yards. Big plays aren't new for Hollins. He averaged nearly 21 yards per reception at North Carolina.

His teammates were impressed with the moxie he showed on the score.

3. Quick And Easy Night For Carson Wentz

Four pass attempts. Four completions. One touchdown drive. It was a "perfect" night of sorts for quarterback Carson Wentz, as he earned the highest passer rating possible of 158.3.

Most importantly, he came out of the game unscathed. But what was truly impressive was how he was under siege on a couple of those pass attempts and used his legs to escape, while keeping his eyes up the field.

“It has kind-of always just been part of my game," Wentz said. "Honestly it’s just instincts in those situations. It’s instincts that take over. And I said it a lot last year, when you’re in scramble mode, things like that happen. There’s a lot of big plays to be made there. And that’s what happened tonight and it’s a good start.”

On their way to the end zone, the Eagles converted two third downs and a fourth down as well.

4. The Pass Rush Is A Reason To Be Excited

The Eagles totaled five sacks, led by Barnett's two. Defensive end Alex McCalister and defensive tackle Gabe Wright each had one, and cornerback Aaron Grymes and defensive end Steven Means split the other.

Defensive end Brandon Graham had a tackle for loss. Defensive end Chris Long showed burst off the edge. The Eagles also got some interior pressure late from rookie tackle Elijah Qualls. Pro Football Focus was especially high on Means' outing.

5. Reports: "Definite" Suspension Coming For Ezekiel Elliott

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will be suspended under the Personal Conduct Policy as a result of multiple off-field allegations.

The looming question is how many games will Elliott miss? The Eagles don't play Dallas until after the Week 10 bye, so the running back should be available. But still, this is the latest in a series of offseason distractions for the defending NFC East champions.

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