Instant Replay: Packers 24, Eagles 9

Instant Replay: Packers 24, Eagles 9


GREEN BAY, Wis. — First-round draft choice Derek Barnett logged two sacks, and fourth-round pick Mack Hollins reeled in a touchdown as the Eagles kicked off their preseason schedule in Green Bay with strong showings from their newcomers, but the Packers prevailed for the 24-9 victory.

Carson Wentz completed all four of his passes for 56 yards and the touchdown to Hollins, a 38-yard catch-and-run that gave the Eagles a 6-0 lead. The two-point conversion attempt bounced off Nelson Agholor’s hands, and the Packers scored the next 17 points of the contest.

Second-year return man Trevor Davis returned a punt 68 yards for a score for the Packers, and No. 2 quarterback Brett Hundley found Jeff Janis for 20-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter.

Bryce Treggs caught seven passes for 91 yards, all from No. 2 quarterback Matt McGloin.

Rookies shine
Hollins said earlier this week he had never even attended an NFL game before, but he found comfort early when he caught a ball over the middle from Wentz, shook three tacklers and tiptoed down the sideline for a 38-yard score midway through the first quarter.

Hollins shook off Packers’ defenders Kevin King, Quinten Rollins and Clay Matthews on the play – two former second-round picks and a first-rounder. Matthews and Rollins have been regular starters, and King was the Packers’ top choice in the 2017 draft.

Barnett broke Reggie White’s sack record at the University Tennessee and began his pro career fittingly wearing an Eagles jersey and playing at Lambeau Field. He recorded a sack in the second quarter that helped force a Packers’ field goal after Green Bay started a drive deep in Eagles territory and was credited with another later in the quarter that cost the Packers 12 yards.

Barnett also hurried quarterback Joe Callahan on a screen pass that went for no gain in the third quarter. He generated strong pressure all night.

Undrafted running back Corey Clement accounted for 40 yards on a drive that chewed up close to seven minutes in the third quarter, but he couldn’t corral a short pass on third and goal from the 7, and the drive ended in a Caleb Sturgis field goal.

Quarterback report
Wentz played one series plus one play, good enough for a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3.

Treggs appeared to have a good rapport with backup McGloin, catching five passes for 75 yards in the first half. With Marcus Johnson out of the game as he nursed a hamstring injury, Treggs made the most of his opportunity in the spotlight. The second-year player out of Cal caught just three passes for 80 yards last year in the regular season.

McGloin made a touchdown-saving tackle in the second quarter, but only after overthrowing a pass right to Packers linebacker Joe Thomas, who returned it 30 yards to the Eagles 17. It was one of three first-half turnovers for the Eagles offense.

McGloin finished 28 of 42 passing for 205 yards, with one interception.

Special teams issues
The Eagles own a reputation as boasting one of the NFL’s best special teams units, but it was a shaky night on that front. Not only did the Eagles permit a punt return for touchdown, but return man Donnel Pumphrey also muffed a punt deep in Green Bay territory, which he recovered. Before the half was over, Joe Walker committed a holding penalty that negated a strong return by Pumphrey.

Green Bay second-year return man Trevor Davis went untouched to the end zone at the 11:50 mark of the second quarter for that 68-yard punt return.

Sturgis attempted a 46-yard field goal to end the first half that clanged off the right goal post. Sturgis later cashed in a 25-yarder.

The wounded
Ron Brooks, who was the first man down the field on the punt that resulted in a Green Bay touchdown, limped off with a left hamstring injury and returned to the locker room. He did not return.

Tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai was helped off the field early in the third quarter with a left knee injury.

Running back Pumphrey wasn’t injured, but he took some big hits in the first half, when he posted four rushes for five yards and five catches for 12 yards.

Alshon Jeffery is past his recent shoulder injury but did not suit up, nor did guard Brandon Brooks (ankle), receiver Marcus Johnson (hamstring) or running back Wendell Smallwood (hamstring).

Scary moment
Undrafted rookie safety Tre Sullivan administered a vicious hit on Packers receiver Malachi Dupre, necessitating a lengthy delay and bringing the stretcher onto the field early in the fourth quarter. Dupre, a seventh-round draft pick out of LSU, gave a thumbs up the crowd as he was wheeled off the field. Dupre was taken to the hospital after the game, and initial reports indicated movement in all his extremities.

Sullivan forced a fumble on the play, marking the second takeaway for the Eagles in the game.

Linebacker Mychal Kendricks was responsible for the Eagles’ other takeaway, picking off Packers quarterback Hundley and returning the ball six yards to the Packers 36. The play came one snap after Eagles tight end Billy Brown fumbled the ball away and review upheld the miscue.

Loose ends
Two tight ends were charged with fumbles in the first half.

Trey Burton showed some moves on a 10-yard completion in the second quarter but surrendered the football when LaDarius Gunter stripped it away and scooped it up for the Packers.

Brown caught a pass during a 2-minute drill in the final moments of the first half, but Green Bay’s Blake Martinez knocked it loose, and defensive tackle Christian Ringo scooped it up. The play was reviewed and upheld, though Brown’s left forearm looked very close to down.

More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

USA Today Images

More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

The Eagles have given veteran defensive end Chris Long a raise, but according to one report, Long is concerned enough about his playing time with the Eagles that he's mulling his options regarding his future.

What is certain is that at some point before March 15, Long signed a new contract with the Eagles that increases his 2018 base salary from $1 million non-guaranteed to $2½ million fully guaranteed.

However, NFL Network's Michael Silver reported Monday that Long may decide he doesn't want to accept the new contract — which he already signed.

According to Silver, Long is concerned about how many snaps he would get as a third-down rusher following the addition of Pro Bowl pass rusher Michael Bennett.

The Eagles officially acquired Bennett on March 14, although the deal was reported a week earlier. Long's new contract was filed with the NFLPA on March 15, but there is a good chance he agreed to it and signed it before the Bennett acquisition.

Whether or not Long knew Bennett was coming to the Eagles when he signed the restructured deal is unknown. But at some point Long knew about their interest in Bennett and even gave Bennett a "glowing recommendation" when the Eagles asked, according to an interview Long gave to SBNation.  

Long wouldn't appear to have many options. He could retire, in which case he would have to return the $500,000 bonus he received from the Eagles last week.

He could request a trade, which would be bizarre for someone who signed a contract extension just a few days earlier.

Or he could simply play under the terms of the contract restructure and pay increase, which was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia with a source familiar with the renegotiation.

As for the contract itself, including that $500,000 roster bonus — which was also in the previous version of the contract — Long would receive $3 million guaranteed this year instead of $1.5 million non-guaranteed plus $750,000 in easily achieved roster bonuses.

Long had five sacks and forced four fumbles last year as a rotational defensive end. He wound up playing 496 snaps, 10th-most on the defense and only about 10 per game fewer than starter and Pro Bowler Brandon Graham and five per game fewer than starter Vinny Curry, who the Eagles released.

Long, who turns 33 next week, has 63½ career sacks. His 5.0 sacks last year were his most since 2013. He's won back-to-back Super Bowls the last two years with the Eagles and Patriots.

What happens next?

Long has demonstrated that the money is secondary to him. He donated his entire 2017 base salary to charity.

At some point very soon, the Eagles will need him to decide whether he's even going to have a 2018 base salary.

Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

AP Images

Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

A day after we found out that Brian Dawkins picked Troy Vincent to introduce him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony this summer, Terrell Owens has picked his presenter. 

No surprise: It's not Donovan McNabb.

After alienating many people in the league throughout his tremendous career, Owens picked a name from his early days. Longtime NFL assistant coach George Stewart, who was Owens' receivers coach in San Francisco, will introduce T.O. at the 2018 induction. 

In a video released by the Hall of Fame, Owens said Stewart "knew what to get out of me."

Now special teams coordinator and assistant head coach for the Chargers, Stewart has been an NFL coach for three decades. He began his time in San Francisco in 1996 (Owens' rookie season) as a special teams coach but was their wide receivers coach from 2000-02.

"Things that George Stewart may say, it may be shocking to a lot of people, but not to him because he knows who I am," Owens said. "... To know who Terrell Owens is, you really have to spend some time with him. Fast forward, George Stewart became a father figure to me."

The first season Stewart became the 49ers' receivers coach, Owens went to his first of six Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro for the first of five times in his career. Owens was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in all three of the seasons that Stewart held the position in San Francisco. 

Of course, Owens' growth under Stewart led to his becoming one of the biggest stars in the NFL.

Eventually, Owens forced his way out of San Francisco and got to Philadelphia. With the Eagles, Owens had a short and tumultuous two seasons, but was also dynamic on the field and nearly helped them pull off a Super Bowl win over the Patriots. 

Owens averaged 93.5 receiving yards per game during his time in Philadelphia, the highest average in franchise history. It wasn't his play that led to his downfall in Philly. It was his beef with McNabb, along with his attempt to strong-arm the Eagles into a new contract. 

Owens was a divisive personality for his entire career. It's likely the reason it took him three tries to make it into the Hall of Fame. Because his numbers don't lie: He's one of the best receivers of all time.