Grayson’s Grades: Eagles at Packers
Football returned for Philadelphia Eagles fans in the form of a visit to Green Bay in the preseason opener. It also marked the return of Grayson’s Grades for another season here on 973espn.com.
Issuing grades in the preseason is extremely difficult. Most of the starters see very little playing time in an effort to limit injuries. It forces some grades to be issued after a limited sample size.
There were plenty of things to get excited about on this Eagles roster. However, there were also plenty of plays to forget. It was certainly a mixed report card in a 24-9 loss.
Carson Wentz – Wentz engineered a nice touchdown drive on the Eagles’ first possession of the game. He extended a couple of plays by fighting off some near sacks and delivering completed passes. Wentz shook off a rusher, stepped free and delivered a strike to Mack Hollins over the middle and he went the rest of the way for a 38 yard strike. Wentz played just one series and completed all four passes he threw for 56 yards.
Mack Hollins – Hollins showed something in the limited snaps he saw. He created some separation running routes. Hollins also showed some physicality after the catch and broke two tackles on his way into the endzone after Wentz shook off a near sack. As a rookie, Hollins saw action into the second half. He finished with four receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Fletcher Cox – Cox is arguably the best at doing what he does to plug up the middle on defense. He frequently takes on multiple blockers and still makes plays. Cox forced a fumble in this game that the Eagles recovered. Cox finished with the forced fumble and one tackle.
Bryce Treggs – Treggs showed some nice hands and used his speed to make a big catch in the game. He appeared to be a favorite target of McGloin’s as the game progressed. Treggs showed his speed on a downfield throw that could have gone the distance if he did not step out of bounds after a 38-yard catch. It is important to pay attention to how many receptions a player makes in a game. It is equally important to compare that to the amount of times he was targeted in a game. Treggs was targeted eight times and made seven receptions for 91 yards. He was the leading receiver for the Eagles in the preseason opener.
Derek Barnett – The Eagles selected Barnett in the first round and he showed up nicely in the preseason opener. Barnett was very active on the line and racked up a handful of tackles. He showed nice hands to push off a blocker and cut inside earning a sack in the second quarter. Barnett added another sack later in the game. It was a solid showing for the rookie and provided something to build off of as the preseason progresses.
Patrick Robinson – Robinson was around the ball a lot during his time in the game. The eight-year veteran registered a pass successfully defended. He also tallied two tackles. The biggest thing to me was that he did a nice job of keeping the receivers in front of him and breaking on the ball when the pass was thrown.
Mychal Kendricks – Kendricks made a little noise early in training camp when he claimed he requested a trade in the offseason. His request was denied due to the depth he provides at linebacker for a great price. Kendricks said he would play out his contract and started doing that in this preseason opener. Nice job to chip at the receiver over the middle, disrupt the timing and slip underneath to pick off a pass.
Jordan Matthews – Matthews and Wentz appeared to pick up roughly where they left off last season. Matthews was one of Wentz’ favorite targets a year ago. The two hooked up on a couple of crossing patterns giving Matthews a little room to run after the catch and move the chains. Matthews hauled in three passes for 18 yards in their only series on the field.
Corey Clement – Clement showed me a little something out of the backfield. He appeared to take advantage of his opportunities by putting himself in some space and making defenders miss. His awareness on the field was impressive in knowing how to shake a defender off him to tack on some extra yards after the catch. Clement caught two passes for 31 yards. He also carried the ball seven times for 13 yards. This was one of those times where a player caught my attention outside of his stats.
Trey Burton – Burton has shown what kind of player he can be in the past. However, he had a rough preseason opener. Burton hauled in three passes for 19 yards. Burton must secure the ball after the catch. He fumbled it away after a nice grab and that turnover led to a Green Bay Touchdown.
Donnel Pumphrey – Pumphrey had some trouble hanging onto the ball early on. He muffed a punt and fumbled a carry. He appeared to settle down a little better after that. Pumphrey must do a better job of trying to avoid taking some big hits. He got rocked a couple of times after the catch. Pumphrey finished with four carries for five yards. He also caught five passes for 12 yards. I can see how valuable of a weapon he could become, but he has some more room to grow. It particularly looks like he needs to get a better feel for the speed of the NFL game.
C.J. Smith III – Smith had an up-and-down kind of game. He had an awful series in the second quarter where he got beat on multiple plays. Smith fell for a double-move and gave up a touchdown because he recovered from it too late. On the very next series, Smith broke on a pass quickly and batted it down. It was the kind of short-term memory corners have to possess to be successful.
Matt McGloin – McGloin saw a lot of playing time in the preseason opener due to Nick Foles nursing a sore arm. It was not a very good performance. He had some awful passes. McGloin overthrew Pumphrey on an underneath route that led to an interception combined with a big return. McGloin could have done a better job leading his receivers away from a direct hit. He completed passes, but in doing so hung some of his receivers out to dry on some big hits immediately after the catch. McGloin showed that under pressure he threw too many passes off his back foot including the pass that was intercepted. He nearly had another pass intercepted in the third quarter because he threw off his back foot. McGloin is the third string quarterback on the team, but certainly has a lot of room to improve. He completed 28 of 42 passes for 205 yards and one interception.