It wasn't good.
Being honest, it just wasn't ... and when you have a sportstalk radio yakker proclaiming the morning after about how the Eagles' 24-9 loss Thursday night in their preseason opener at Green Bay gave hope to some real running attack, it just gets worse.
If you have any connection to reality, that is.
Keeping it real, the initial snapshot at the 2017 edition of Philly's NFL franchise did not offer any elixir to the downtrodden or “woe are we” crowd. Was it dreadful? No. Was it horrific? No. Was it bad? Yes.
They didn't look good. As a whole, they have a lot of holes.
Sure, even in defeat, they had some positives. But the ground game was NOT one of them.
If anything, it was embarrassing, and showed just how weak the offensive line is. Put it this way, when you accumulate 47 yards on 19 carries, with two scrambles accounting for 15 of the yards ... uh, not much to brag about there. Or even rationalize while on the radio.
Yo, Al, get a grip ...
But, let us digress for minute or two, and take a look at five takeaways from the other night:
- Carson Wentz looked every bit the player, the franchise quarterback, everyone in town and beyond was hoping he was when the team drafted him No. 2 overall in 2016. One caveat, though – he played one series, and he had to run for his life every time he dropped back to pass during it. How he holds up under that kinda pressure for a 16-game season, well, anyone's guess there. He completed all four of his passing attempts for 56 yards, including a safety-valve pass to a crossing to Mack Collins that the rookie receiver out of North Carolina turned into 37-yard score. Wentz looked strong AND nifty with his feet while avoiding the rush, and even made a smart play one time in taking a sack instead of forcing a throw.
- If Wentz wasn't the best-looking starter in the bunch against the Packers, then Jordan Matthews certainly was. Here's hoping the Birds didn't just blow it by trading him and a future third-round pick to Buffalo for cornerback Ronald Darby yesterday. Matthews, frankly, has been the Birds' best receiver – by far – the last three seasons, and even served as Wentz's bailout option three times vs. Green Bay. Darby was a second-round pick like Matthews back in 2014. But he's hardly had the impact on the Bills' defense than Matthews had on the Eagles' offense since then.
- Can we give up on the Great Nelson Agholor Experiment AND the comparisons of Donnel Pumphrey to Darren Sproles. Agholor, sorry, just doesn't have it, and those clinging to the “tools” potential commentary as a reason to hang in there with him – well, get a grip. Tired of hearing how he's a burner and Matthews, who, essentially, was moved to make room for him, is a statue. Agholor ran a 4.42 at the NFL Combine in 2015. Matthews ran a 4.46 at it a year earlier – plus has averaged 75 catches per season. Shut up on Agholor already. As for Pumphrey, will go to Facebook for an assist on this. Friend of mine posted, questioning what the rookie from San Diego State offered that departed Kenjon Barner didn't. My response: Well, he brings the fumbling and muffing that Barner lacked. He also “adds” less size and speed. As for his similarity to Sproles, it ends with being short. That's it. Sproles is a human bowling ball who bounces around like a pinball in an arcade. Pumphrey is a stick who does not possess dart-ability.
- The offensive line is, and will be, awful. Unless dramatic changes are made. Figured that coming into the preseason, and Thursday's effort did nothing to alleviate that concern – and can we please stop saying everything will be fine since Jason Peters is around. That dude hasn't been a quality tackle in three seasons, never mind the All-Pro most still fantasize him as being.
- Things weren't all bad against Green Bay. Hollins, fellow receiver Bryce Treggs and even rookie running back Corey Clement brought a little something to the team's aerial attack and veteran, but little used, safety Terrence Brooks offered the type of physicality that would warm the cockles of every Philly fan's heart with a tackle on a Packers receiver in the second half. OK, so maybe it didn't look so legal, but it was a big-time hit ... and no flag. So you take the positives wherever you can.
Especially after a meh kinda night such as this one for the Birds.