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NFL insider explains why Mack Hollins hasn’t taken the step forward that some expected

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Always good to have some more background info.

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NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 offseason has been a quiet one for Mack Hollins.

That’s not to say the 2017 fourth-round pick has outright struggled. But as I noted in BGN Radio Episode 2, Hollins just hasn’t stood out as much as you would’ve liked to see. Especially considering he’s been exclusively working with the first team with Alshon Jeffery not being able to practice to this point.

Thanks to NFL insider Adam Caplan, we now have some more context regarding Hollins’ quiet offseason. Caplan had the following to say on the Inside The Birds podcast:

“My understanding is in the offseason he had sports hernia surgery. I was just checking around, I’m like, I mean … his college receivers coach is his receivers coach with the Eagles, Gunter Brewer. I thought, at the very least, this thing would be pushed to mid-to-late August for who would win that [wide receiver] battle. The Eagles had very few training camp battles: weakside linebacker, wide receiver, slot corner. I was a little surprised.

So I checked into it, and I’m told by a source that he had sports hernia surgery. Now, understand with sports hernia surgery, I’ve covered NFL injuries for 20 years. So, you could come back in six weeks. But you’re not anywhere close to 100%. You can just play with it. It can take you, as I was told, at receiver, three to four months to get back to normal. Sometimes four months. But again, you can play in as little as six weeks. That doesn’t mean you’ll be functional in six weeks. That doesn’t mean you’ll be anywhere close.

So, he did not have the training camp that I think a lot of us were expecting. And he’s a great kid, 6-4, 220, runs in the mid 4.4s, great special teams player as we know, he’s going to dress for every game, but my sense is the Eagles were expecting him to be a bigger factor. Because [Mike] Wallace is a [32]-year-old receiver, they were expecting Mack to challenge him.”

It’s unclear when exactly Hollins’ surgery took place. He hasn’t missed much practice time, although he did sit out for about a week after logging 25 total snaps in the Eagles’ first preseason game.

Hollins returned to practice recently and Doug Pederson gave an update on him heading into Thursday’s Eagles-Browns game.

“For him, it’s just been the rest that he’s getting that’s really helped him,” said the Eagles’ head coach. “So hopefully this week we’ll see where he’s at. He was practicing a little bit yesterday and got out there and did some nice things. He’s progressing and we’ll see where he’s at after today. And then make a decision if Mack’s going to be available. Because he’s another one that’s ... he’s a big part of our special teams units, and I want to make sure going forward that he’s also 100% to start the season.”

Here’s hoping Hollins is on the path to getting back to full health. The Eagles are currently thin at receiver with Jeffery on the PUP list and Nelson Agholor missing practice for a couple of weeks now. Shelton Gibson has really stepped up in the preseason, which has been nice to see.

Still, it’d be nice to get Hollins back. At the very least, he showed the makings of being a solid No. 4 receiver last year. Maybe he can prove to be even more if he’s at full effectiveness. Or maybe Gibson’s strong summer could eat into his potential playing time this year. We’ll see.

Coincidentally, Hollins isn’t the only member of the Eagles’ 2017 draft class who has had a quiet summer. The same goes for Derek Barnett, who also happened to have sports hernia surgery during the offseason. It’s possible these guys still aren’t 100%.