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Instant Analysis: Grading the Eagles' preseason opener

Instant Analysis: Grading the Eagles' preseason opener

The Eagles fell 24-9 in their preseason opener to the Green Bay Packers, though the result on the scoreboard is of no importance. We'll come back with more in-depth analysis of the tape from the first exhibition game, but here is our instant analysis of how the team fared on Thursday.

Quarterbacks
Carson Wentz made a pair sensational plays, twice stepping out of sacks to complete third-down passes, the second of which wound up going for a 38-yard touchdown. Wentz connected on all four of his passes for 56 yards, though he sailed a two-point conversion attempt incomplete. Matt McGloin looked sharp — when he got his feet set. The Penn State grad completed 28 of 42 for 205 yards with an interception, and failed to move the offense across the goal line.

Grade: A-

Running backs
Tough to evaluate the backs, as they were given very little room to run. Donnel Pumphrey had a rough NFL debut. Pumphrey appeared to fumble on his first carry, but was ruled down, and the fifth-round pick may have run the wrong route on an interception. Undrafted rookie Corey Clement provided a late spark in the passing game with two receptions for 31 yards.

Grade: C-

Wide receivers
Neither Alshon Jeffery nor Torrey Smith played, and the receivers were still phenomenal. Fourth-round rookie Mack Hollins stiff-armed two Packers defenders on his way to a 38-yard touchdown, part of a four-catch, 64-yard debut. Bryce Treggs led all Eagles wideouts with seven receptions for 91 yards. Jordan Matthews played for one series, hauling in three passes, including conversions on third and fourth down. This was a promising outing from top to bottom.

Grade: A

Tight ends
Not a good night for Eagles tight ends. Zach Ertz appeared to miss several blocking assignments. Trey Burton and Billy Brown each lost fumbles.

Grade: F

Offensive line
First and foremost, the Eagles were unable to mount any type of ground attack, finishing with 32 yards on 17 carries — a 1.9-yard average. The unit's problems didn't end there, as the first-team O-line allowed a fair amount of pressure on Wentz as well, including a sack. To be fair, Green Bay was loading up the box and blitzing, but the offense still needs to be able to run the football and keep the quarterback upright. The reserves fared slightly better in protection, and no better at opening holes for ball carriers.

Grade: D

Defensive line
Tremendous debut for first-round pick Derek Barnett, who tormented Green Bay's second-string offensive linemen to the tune of 2.0 sacks. Brandon Graham stuffed a run in the backfield, and Fletcher Cox forced a fumble. But the surprise performance of the game goes to Alex McCalister. The 2016 seventh-round choice registered a sack and a pair of hurries after spending his rookie season on injured reserve. Good pressure throughout, not to mention Green Bay was limited to 45 yards on the ground.

Grade: A

Linebackers
Very active. Though he was not credited with a forced fumble, Jordan Hicks arrived on the scene to help jar a ball loose. Najee Goode had three tackles, including a stop in the backfield. Mychal Kendricks had two tackles and an interception. And rookie Nathan Gerry made three tackles as well, although he took a bad angle and missed one, too.

Grade: A-

Defensive backs
This was an uneven performance, as anybody following the team might expect. Jalen Mills was consistently tight in coverage. Terrence Brooks made two tackles for loss. Undrafted rookie Tre Sullivan was a physical presence. That was the good. Patrick Robinson got bailed out by a couple of dropped passes. C.J. Smith was less fortunate, getting torched for a 20-yard touchdown. Nobody made a case to win the starting cornerback job opposite Mills.

Grade: B-

Special teams
Uncharacteristically brutal. The Packers returned two punts for 94 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown. Pumphrey and Greg Ward each muffed a punt, though both were somehow able to recover. And Caleb Sturgis hit the upright on a 46-yard field goal to close out the first half. The kickoff coverage unit was solid, preventing this from being a total disaster.

Grade: D

Coaching
It's preseason. About the only thing to evaluate here was the usage of key players, and it was what it needed to be. Wentz played one series. Cox and Hicks were in for two. Jeffery didn't play at all. In short, no real complaints here.

Grade: NA

The Kings blame Joel Embiid for loss

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USA Today Images

The Kings blame Joel Embiid for loss

The Kings aren't happy with Joel Embiid.

They placed some blame on the Sixers' big man for their 23-point loss Thursday night.

How was Embiid at fault for a game he didn't even play?

Well, the Kings felt the wrath of Karl-Anthony Towns.

Let's just say Embiid may have fired up Towns after he embarrassed the Timberwolves' big man on Instagram the night prior (see story). In Embiid's defense, Towns was the instigator (see story).

Nonetheless, Towns went off on the Kings for 30 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, five blocks and a plus-22 rating, leading the Timberwolves to a 119-96 win.

"I came to be an assassin tonight, not a basketball player," Towns said after the victory. "I wanted to try to be as active as possible and just disrupt the game as much as possible as well."

Way to go, JoJo.

Sorry, Kings.

Pat Neshek scares Rhys Hoskins fans

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AP Images/USA Today Images

Pat Neshek scares Rhys Hoskins fans

Pat Neshek is unofficially a Phillie once again, and he’s got jokes.

The lone All-Star for the 2017 Phillies, Neshek wore No. 17 in his short stint with the team last season. No problem, when he rejoins the team in spring training this season, he will get his number back, right?

Enter Rhys Hoskins.

After a relatively slow start to his MLB career for the first few games, Hoskins went on an absolute tear, belting 18 home runs in less than one-third of the season during his rookie campaign. During that time, a lot of fans probably bought a ton of Rhys Hoskins No. 17 jerseys.

Well, Neshek is back and he wants his number back. He posted this tweet Thursday.

He let 22 minutes go by before responding with this Tweet.

Some fans were not amused with his first post.

That’s a pretty funny joke and it shows that Neshek, who is an avid baseball card collector, is a true fan of the game, kept up with how his former team was doing while he was away last season and has a decent sense of humor.

Looks like Neshek will find a new number, but Phillies fans will hope he’s just as effective in it as he was last season in No. 17.