Eagles

Eagles rookie Mack Hollins shows he can handle leap to NFL level

Eagles rookie Mack Hollins shows he can handle leap to NFL level

BOX SCORE

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Eagles wide receiver Mack Hollins said last week that he had never even attended an NFL game in his lifetime. Were it not for a slip on the slick concrete in Lambeau Field’s north end zone, he would have indeed been in the bleachers with everyone else watching the Birds’ first preseason game of the year.

He settled for a much better view of the action.

Hollins didn’t quite have a chance to execute the famous “Lambeau Leap” into the stands after a score, but the rookie fourth-round draft pick still caught his team’s lone touchdown in the 24-9 loss to Green Bay (see Instant Replay).

“I slipped a little bit on the concrete; I would have looked kind of foolish if I [kept attempting the leap],” said Hollins, who gave a run-up to the stands and stopped. “I got some bad stares [from the fans].”

Hollins caught a pass over the middle from Carson Wentz on third-and-long, worked his way to the sideline and shed three tacklers on his way to the end zone from 38 yards out.

The guys he beat were no slouches. All-Pro Clay Matthews, returning starter Quinten Rollins and second-round draft pick Kevin King – the Packers’ top draft selection in 2017 – were all among the victimized.

“When I’m in the game, everybody’s a starter,” Hollins said. “In my mind, I don’t see who they are. I see 11 guys that are hunting for my head.”

Hollins finished with four catches for 64 yards in his debut performance.

“It kind of just turned into improvise mode, and Mack made a good play getting open,” Wentz said of the touchdown that put the Eagles briefly ahead, 6-0. “I found him and he did the rest. He had two pretty nasty stiff-arms there to finish off the play. It’s good to see a young guy stepping up and making that play right away.”

Hollins downplayed the idea that the game meant anything more than the next phase of preparation for the 2017 regular season.

“I had a route over the middle, Carson found me, and my job is to get in the end zone, catch the ball and get in the end zone,” Hollins said. “It felt like practices every day, throwing with Carson. That’s why you have to take every practice rep just as seriously as the game.

“[The nerves were] just like in college or anything else. The first play, you’re kind of antsy. As soon as you make contact with somebody, you’re fine.”

The Eagles were missing top receivers Alshon Jeffery (who was healthy but coming off a shoulder injury) and Marcus Johnson (hamstring), opening the door for others to make plays.

“None of the veterans played, so it was rookie training camp kind of,” Hollins said. “Yeah, I did well, but there’s a lot of things I know I did the incorrect thing on and things I can fix and routes I can get better on. It’s nice I did well, but I can do way better. … We have a lot of weapons and a great quarterback and a great offensive line and running backs and receivers. I know we can do even better than we did tonight.”

Added Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, “It looked like he played really well. He’s the guy that we thought we were getting, and he started his preseason off well.”

Eagles' Brandon Brooks enters pivotal week in Achilles recovery

Eagles' Brandon Brooks enters pivotal week in Achilles recovery

Brandon Brooks is entering a very important week in his Achilles recovery. 

The Eagles’ Pro Bowl right guard hasn’t yet been cleared for full-team drills, but has been given the go-ahead to participate in 1-on-1s this week as the Ravens comes to town for joint practices. 

Brooks says Week 1 is still a possibility. 

“Still got time,” he said. “The biggest indication is going to be this week in 1-on-1s, see how it feels, not just against defensive players, but against another team. If things go well from there, progress from there.”

Brooks, 29, had a checkup on his Achilles last Wednesday, when they cleared him for the next step in his recovery. Now about seven months removed from the injury to his right leg, Brooks claims he’s still on schedule. 

More importantly, Brooks thinks there’s still enough time to get cleared and then prepared for the opener.  

“We've got 2½ weeks, so I’d say there’s more than enough time,” he said. 

This week, Brooks said, they want to see how his recovering leg responds. 

If things go well over the next several days, there’s a chance he could be cleared to progress to 11-on-11 team drills next week. 

“With team drills, man, you have a lot more going on around you, guys falling to the ground, things like that,” he said. “I think the best way you get live contact and it’s controlled is in 1-on-1s, that’s why we started there.” 

If Brooks isn’t ready for Week 1, Halapoulivaati Vaitai would fill in at right guard in the interim. 

We’ll learn a lot this week, one of the most important in his recovery yet. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

What the Josh McCown signing means for Nate Sudfeld

What the Josh McCown signing means for Nate Sudfeld

Let’s be clear about one thing.

Josh McCown has nothing to do with Nate Sudfeld.

The Eagles didn’t sign McCown because they don’t have faith in Sudfeld. They didn’t sign him because they’re concerned with Sudfeld’s ability to be their No. 2. They didn’t sign him in case Sudfeld doesn’t work out.

They signed him simply because Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson believe the Eagles are a better team with McCown on the roster than without him.

If anything, the move is a sign the Eagles are not too pleased with Cody Kessler, who's been uneven in practice and has done nothing in his two brief preseason appearances to inspire confidence.

Kessler has consistently shown a disturbing habit of holding onto the football too long, and that’s what got him hurt Thursday night in Jacksonville, hanging onto the ball and suffering a concussion. It was eye-opening — and out of character — to hear Pederson after the game directly blame Kessler for the injury. That speaks volumes about the Eagles' confidence in the former Browns third-round pick. 

The guess here is that Kessler’s days in Philly are numbered. Has he shown you a reason to keep him? 

Think about where that would leave the Eagles at quarterback.

Sudfeld is out into the regular season with a broken left (non-throwing) wrist, and rookie Clayton Thorson has followed a poor debut with a much more impressive second game. But he’s not ready to be a No. 2. 

There’s still no guarantee he’ll make the 53 (see roster prediction), although if he follows his encouraging performance against the Jaguars with solid outings against the Ravens and Jets, it might be tough to clear him through waivers. But I doubt it.

We knew as soon as Kessler got hurt, the Eagles had to go out and get a quarterback. But it makes sense that they were interested in McCown even before that, since Kessler has struggled since camp opened.

McCown brings nearly two decades of experience playing quarterback in the NFL, and when you have 26-year-old Carson Wentz, 25-year-old Sudfeld and 23-year-old Thorson in your quarterback room, there’s tremendous value in a guy who’s been around since before the Linc was built.

But the Eagles also desperately needed somebody who can be effective as soon as the opener on Sept. 8 — just 21 days away — if he has to play, and McCown fits perfectly. He played as recently as last December and has 37 TDs, 23 interceptions, a 63 percent completion percentage and a respectable 85.9 passer rating over the last four years.

He’s smart, he’s athletic and most importantly he’s at a point in his career and in his life where he’s OK being a temporary No. 2 and a No. 3 for the rest of the year.

It’s not easy finding a guy who’s capable of playing in a meaningful game now but also content to be a No. 3 most of the year. The Eagles found him.

As for Sudfeld, you have to remember this is a guy who the Eagles believed in strongly enough that they went into a stretch run, a playoff run, a Super Bowl, with him as their No. 2. They never even thought about bringing in a veteran then with only Nick Foles and Sudfeld available.

And Suds hasn’t done anything since then to change anybody's minds.

He hasn’t played much in the regular season, but when he has? He’s been sharp — 20 for 25 for 156 yards, a TD, no interceptions and a 106.0 passer rating in parts of two games.

And then he obviously was very good in the preseason opener against the Titans before he got hurt.

There’s a reason the Eagles gave Sudfeld a second-round tender, which pays him just over $3 million this year.

Who would you rather have? Wentz, Sudfeld and Kessler or Wentz, Sudfeld and McCown?

Exactly.

This isn’t about Sudfeld at all.

It’s about being as prepared as possible for whatever happens next.

That’s what Roseman does.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles