Eagles wide receiver Mack Hollins said he expects to play Thursday against Atlanta, though he has been dealing with "a little groin issue." When Hollins spoke with reporters, they didn't know yet that he had not practiced Monday because of that little issue.
Tuesday is the last real practice before the season opener, and if Hollins doesn't practice then, he probably isn't playing. Hollins appeared in the preseason opener, didn't catch a pass, and hasn't played since. He has been in and out of practice, and SiriusXM radio reported that Hollins underwent sports hernia surgery in the offseason.
Hollins was asked about that Monday, but he said Eagles coach Doug Pederson had told him not to discuss it, surgery apparently joining a growing list of topics that fall into that category.
So, Alshon Jeffery, who didn't practice Monday — and hasn't practiced since offseason shoulder surgery — clearly isn't playing Thursday, and Hollins doesn't seem to be at full speed. This would seem to open up playing time for second-year wideout Shelton Gibson, who had an impressive preseason. Nelson Agholor, who didn't play in the preseason, and Mike Wallace, who caught one pass for 3 yards, are the other most prominent wideouts on the depth chart.
"I feel great," Hollins said. "Alshon's obviously a great receiver, and not having him is kind of a shock to the offense, but it's just an opportunity for us to step up and make plays and take care of business."
Hollins was a fourth-round rookie last season who caught 16 passes for 226 yards. His quiet training camp and preseason has dampened expectations that he might blossom this year.
Offensive coordinator Mike Groh said Monday that Hollins has "worked hard to try to get himself healthy so he can help us on Thursday."
"Mack is a guy that really attacks practice," Groh said. "He loves to practice. He works his tail off each and every day that he's out there. Gives everything that he's got, and that's one of the reasons why he's been a valuable member of the team. He does a lot of odd jobs for us, a lot of dirty jobs, and he's one of the unsung heroes, if you will, of the offense, and the success that we had because of the things that he does.
"If it's not him, it's going to be somebody else, and we had a lot of that throughout the course of last year. … We have a history of that here, of guys stepping up and performing in [other players'] absence, and we need to continue that."
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Jim Schwartz talked about the difficult decision last weekend to cut defensive end Steven Means, whose work ethic was unmatched but who also was buried on the depth chart behind five other DEs.
"Everybody thinks the world of Steven. I don't know what you guys feel, but in our locker room, in our building, he is as respected as any player that I've been around. He'll have great success. He'll land on his feet and he'll have success. I just hope it's not against us," Schwartz said.
Means, 27, hasn't signed anywhere yet, but if teams sign a vested vet during the week of the opener, his salary is guaranteed for the season. Next week, teams can sign him and only pay him week-to-week.