There are nearly 40 former Eagles still playing around the league — plus quite a few bouncing around practice squads — and more than a handful are doing big things for their new teams.
The Eagles did face off against one former player in Week 1, defensive end Steven Means, who made four tackles. Means was on the field for 83 percent of the defensive snaps and 23 percent of the special teams snaps, so it’s safe to say that he’ll be in the rotation for the Falcons this season.
Here’s how things went to open the 2021 NFL season for some other former Eagles:
Carson Wentz’s Colts debut
Despite missing most of the offseason due to either being on the COVID list or recovering from foot surgery, Wentz was able to suit up in Week 1 — which is good news for the Eagles potential 2022 first-round draft pick.
The Colts lost 16-28 to the Seahawks and Wentz finished the day 25-of-38 for 251 yards and two touchdowns, he didn’t throw any interceptions but did fumble the ball, and was sacked three times. Some argued Sunday’s OL performance was their worst in years, while others noted that it may moreso speak to how long the QB held onto the ball. If that sounds familiar, welcome to the Philly conversation for the better part of 2020.
“At the end of the day I have to watch the tape first and foremost. I know a handful of plays I want back that I could have gotten us in the right protection and helped help us out. So, you can never take it right at face value. We have to go learn from it, learn from the tape,” Wentz said after the game, according to Kevin Hickey of Colts Wire. “As a team, we just didn’t play complementary football. When the defense had stops, three-and-outs, the turnovers – offensively we didn’t capitalize and we have to do better at that, but that’s a good football team and we are going to learn from this one.”
Wentz started off strong in his Colts debut, going 9-of-10 for 97 yards and a score, to keep things close heading into halftime. But the second half wasn’t great for the quarterback, who didn’t complete any type of big throw or play, and didn’t score his second touchdown until there was just over two minutes left in the game.
Jason Owens of Yahoo! Sports summed it up:
“Wentz failed to make many connections with his receivers. Running backs Jonathan Taylor (six catches, 60 yards) and Nyheim Hines (six catches, 48 yards) led Indianapolis in receiving. Pascal (four catches, 43 yards, 2 TDs) was the only Colts wide receiver to eclipse three catches on the day.
Hope was high in Indianapolis entering this season, with a lot of it hanging on a Wentz resurgence. Sunday was only one game and certainly didn’t extinguish it. But it was enough to give Colts fans plenty of pause.”
For Seattle, former Eagles Sidney Jones and Ryan Neal both only saw snaps on special teams.
Raheem Mostert to go on IR for the 49ers
#49ers RB Raheem Mostert has chipped cartilage in his knee. He will go on IR. Kyle Shanahan said expectation is about eight weeks for Mostert to return.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) September 13, 2021
Agholor and Mills shine for the Patriots
New England lost to Miami by just one point in their season opener, but former Eagles Nelson Agholor and Jalen Mills had good games for the Patriots.
Agholor was 5-of-7 targets for 72 yards and a touchdown, and was on the field for 85 percent of the offensive snaps — clearly he’s expected to have a big role in the Bill Belichick offense. The WR’s touchdown was also the first NFL career score for rookie QB Mac Jones.
First career touchdown for @MacJones_10! #ForeverNE— NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2021
: #MIAvsNE on CBS
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/0PnGErqVhU
On defense, Jalen Mills had just two tackles, but had a fantastic pass break-up in the endzone.
Jalen Mills rakibine geçit vermiyor ❌ #Patriots #NFL pic.twitter.com/VE7YJ9SLiw— NF Football (@NFFootballTR) September 13, 2021
For the Dolphins, wide receiver Mack Hollins only saw special teams reps but did record two tackles, and Eric Rowe had nine tackles and a forced fumble.
Jordan Poyer gets a sack
The cornerback had six total tackles in the Bills’ season opener against the Steelers, with a wide open hit on Ben Roethlisberger. Poyer also had six total tackles on the day and was on the field for 100 percent of the defensive snaps Sunday.
Some things never change... @J_poyer21 #Billsmafia #JordanPoyer pic.twitter.com/CVNN3HjnQp— Avalon Sports (@GroupAvalon) September 13, 2021
The team also restructured Poyer’s contract over the weekend to create more cap space, converting $5.2 million into a signing bonus. And in other personnel news from the Bills, the team released former Eagles DT Treyvon Hester just four days before the team’s season opener.
Texans get the W over Jaguars
Despite an offseason filled with d-r-a-m-a, the Houston Texans ended up giving Trevor Lawrence his first regular season loss ever and Urban Meyer his first loss as head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Texans currently have the most former Eagles on their roster, and they were pretty impactful for the team in their season opener. Wide receiver Danny Amendola caught all five of his targets for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Signed earlier this week and already scoring touchdowns: @DannyAmendola #WeAreTexans— NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2021
: #JAXvsHOU on CBS
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/swoexH331T
Punter Cameron Johnston punted six times for 266 yards, averaging 44.33 yards per punt, and booting a 52-yard long ball. Safety Terrence Brooks, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, and cornerback Tremon Smith all saw a few defensive snaps and were on the field for most of the special teams’ snaps on Sunday, each making a couple of tackles.
For the Jaguars, former Eagles’ special teams captain Rudy Ford made a couple tackles against returners, but didn’t see much playing time on defense. He has, however, already drawn praise from Urban Meyer for his special teams play, which is something the head coach has always prioritized.
Inactive and other notables
- Inactives in Week 1 included: Nick Foles (Bears), Josh Adams (Jets)
- Despite the Cardinals telling Jordan Hicks he wouldn’t be their future at linebacker — due in large part to their 2021 first round draft pick of Zaven Collins — the former Eagle still got the start in Week 1, played 95 percent of the defensive snaps, and put up four tackles against the Titans.
- Corey Clement spent the preseason with the Giants and then was signed by the Cowboys following roster cuts. He did suit up for his former rivals during their Thursday Night Football loss to the Bucs, but Clement saw just one offensive snap and some special teams reps.
- Wide receiver DeAndre Carter saw only a couple offensive snaps in Week 1 for the Washington Football Team, but is the team’s official returner, taking the ball back 65 yards on three kick returns and 22 yards on two punt returns against the Chargers.
- Former Eagles legend DeSean Jackson had just two catches for two yards during his debut with the Rams, and he also only saw 14 offensive snaps on the day.
- For the Saints, DT Albert Huggins had three total tackles, including one QB hit, and safety Malcom Jenkins similarly had three tackles and was only on the field for 84 percent of the defensive snaps — which is odd for the veteran.