I just came across the following sentences, and it just kept me thinking for hours and searching up grammar rules, but it was in vain. The question is about identifying verbal phrases:
The apples were eaten.
The children were excited.
Now, at first, I said "were" is a linking verb as "excited" in number two is an adjective describing the state of the children. However, looking at the other example (number 1), I realized it could be a verbal phrase because it might be a passive voice. So, I am unable to decide on the right answer. I appreciate your help in advance as I am very confused.