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.”