GREEN BAY, Wis. — Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery sat out Thursday’s preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers even though he was in uniform and on the sideline.
Coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday that Jeffery was healthy enough to play and that the coach would use his discretion when determining if Jeffery would take the field. Jeffery had a shoulder injury last week, but returned to practice on Sunday. The Eagles have been cautious with how they’ve handled Jeffery this summer, and Thursday’s decision is the latest example.
With Jeffery on the sideline, the Eagles started Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews, and Nelson Agholor as their top three wide receivers.
Right guard Brandon Brooks missed Thursday’s game with a strained ankle. The injury occurred Monday, and Brooks missed Tuesday’s practice, which was the last full session before the game.
Chance Warmack started in Brooks’ place at right guard. The Eagles signed Warmack on the first day of free agency and he had been practicing with the second-team offense before Brooks’ injury.
The Eagles also missed quarterback Nick Foles (elbow), running back Wendell Smallwood (hamstring), wide receivers Marcus Johnson (hamstring) and Paul Turner (shoulder), offensive lineman Josh Andrews (hand), and tight end Anthony Denham (calf).
Foles made the trip to Green Bay even though his inflamed right elbow has kept him out of practice the past two weeks. Pederson likes to travel his quarterbacks even when they’re injured; he did the same with Carson Wentz during the preseason last year. With Foles not playing, Mat McGloin threw a whopping 42 passes, completing 28-for-205 yards, after Carson Wentz authored a long scoring drive on the Eagles’ first series.
Smallwood sat all week and was not expected to play. He did not make the trip to Green Bay, giving Corey Clement a chance to get in the game on Thursday.
Johnson missed one day of practice but he returned for Tuesday’s session, so his absence was notable. A strong spring and summer has put Johnson in contention for the 53-man roster.
Nelson Agholor was only targeted once during his lone series of play and it didn’t go well. Carson Wentz threw high for Agholor on a slant at the goalline. Agholor went up and got both hands on the ball, but didn’t come down with it.
Barnett gets after it
Eagles first-round rookie Derek Barnett notched a sack early in his first NFL action, Barnett beating Jason Spriggs to haul down Brett Hundley for an 8-yard loss, midway through the second quarter. With 2:59 left in the second, Barnett did it again, dropping Hundley for a 12-yard loss.
The first Packers punt, Donnel Pumphrey ran up on a short kick, didn’t call for a fair catch, got hit but held onto the ball. Second punt, he called for the fair catch, muffed it, but fell on the ball as it bounced away. Did not look much like Darren Sproles, who did not play Thursday.
In the first half, Pumphrey ran four times for 5 yards and caught five passes for 12 yards, receiving a notable lack of blocking.
Tight ends too tight?
A Trey Burton fumble set up a second-quarter Packers field goal. Then another tight end, Billy Brown, fumbled as the Eagles attempted a 2-minute drive near the end of the first half, but Mychal Kendricks intercepted Brett Hundley on the next snap.
Caleb Sturgis started his preseason with a missed field goal from 46 yards, Sturgis smacking the right upright at the end of the first half . . . Malcolm Jenkins continued his 2016 racial injustice protest, holding his right fist aloft during the national anthem . . . Eagles offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai left the game early in the third quarter with a left knee injury that a source close to the situation said was not serious. Previously, corner Ron Brooks left with a left hamstring problem, suffered covering a punt … Eagles rookie linebacker Tre Sullivan laid out Packers receiver Malachi Dupre with a scary hit. Dupre left the field strapped to a stretcher and was hospitalized for evaluation. The Packers said he had movement in his extremities … The teams combined for 10 fumbles … Bryce Treggs caught seven passes for 91 yards.