GREEN BAY, WIS – As far as opening preseason games go, the Eagles' 23-9 loss at Green Bay on Thursday night wasn't exactly a thing of beauty. The Eagles turned the ball over three times in the first half, rushed for all of 20 yards, and gave up a punt return for a touchdown.
In all, the team turned it over four times. Second-team quarterback Matt McGloin, playing with Nick Foles still out with an elbow injury, threw the ball 42 times, completing 28, for a paltry 205 yards. The Eagles gained 47 rushing yards on 19 attempts.
"Too many mistakes," head coach Doug Pederson said. "We have to clean it up."
Here are some observations of the preseason opener, with three more games to go ...
- Quarterback Carson Wentz had a strong single drive, completing all four of his passes for 56 yards and connecting with wide receiver Mack Hollins on a 38-yard catch-and-run touchdown to cap the drive. Wentz twice shrugged off pressure to keep plays alive in the pocket and he kept his eyes downfield and threw strikes to his receivers. Great first game from Wentz.
* The offensive line started Chance Warmack at right guard in place of Brandon Brooks, who sat with a sprained ankle. Warmack was up and down in the game, playing both guard positions. It didn't appear that Warmack took advantage of the start to push Brooks for the starting job, but we'll see how the coaches feel after watching the film.
* Green Bay bottled up the running game with some pressure off the edges and that fouled up the Eagles' execution up front. The Eagles think they are going to be very good running the ball this year, and they've got some work to do. Keep in mind that neither Wendell Smallwood nor Darren Sproles played in the game.
* Starting cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson did well in limited duty. The defense got off the field with a three-and-out series to open the game as Mills made a nice tackle on Randall Cobb on first down, Robinson broke up a pass for Davante Adams on second down, and Mills tackled Adams on third down short of the first-down stick.
. * We've gotten used to seeing it, but watching defensive end Brandon Graham get the advantage off the edge and get down the line for a backside tackle in the run game is a thing of beauty. He's so fast, so powerful, and so good.
* Cornerback C.J. Smith did not have a good series on a Packers touchdown drive, allowing a first-down catch by Geronimo Allison on an inside move and then getting beat on a double move on a touchdown pass to Jeff Janis. Jaylen Watkins did not get over in time to break up the pass.
* First-round draft pick Derek Barnett had a strong first game with a nice sack on an inside move and great effort and production in his time on the field. He finished with two sacks, two quarterback hurries, and four total tackles. "I thought it went well," he said after the game. "The whole experience was great. I have a lot to work on, but I thought I did some good things out there."
, who has been coming on in Training Camp and now in the preseason opener. He's very quick, is playing fast, and has caught everything lately. Treggs finished with seven receptions for 91 yards in his push to make the 53-man roster.
Rookie running back Donnel Pumphrey muffed a punt and put the ball on the ground after a handoff, but he rebounded and showed quickness and toughness. A Joe Walker holding penalty wiped out a Pumphrey 28-yard punt return in the second quarter. Pumphrey ended the game with 5 rushing yards on four attempts and had 12 yards on five receptions.
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks started and played the weakside position and he stayed on the field through the second quarter, contributing a leaping interception to give the Eagles a chance to score points at the end of the first half. Caleb Sturgis, however, hit the upright on a 46-yard field goal attempt, adding to a tough first half for the special teams.
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery didn't play, but he had a strong pregame workout and looked good. The goal is to keep Jeffery healthy for September, so the Eagles are going to back off on him when they have the opportunity.
A couple of injuries to note, and updates will follow: Cornerback Ron Brooks went out in the first half with a left hamstring injury and right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai left the game with a left knee injury in the third quarter. Both players are very much part of the Eagles' plans, so their situations bear monitoring. Vaitai was able to walk off the field and into the locker room for further evaluation, so fingers are crossed there.
The Eagles fell to the Packers in their first preseason game in Green Bay. Check out these photos from the road...