Eagles Offense , Sam Bradford Should Only Improve From Here


The Philadelphia Eagles offense hasn’t scratched the surface yet.

While Sam Bradford got hot in the second half of the Philadelphia Eagles’ season-opener against the Atlanta Falcons, it’s hard to call his performance in the first two games anything but well below-average. He certainly didn’t get much help from his young receiving corps or his running-game, but he missed throws that he should have made, and was a big reason why they weren’t able to “steal” a win against the Dallas Cowboys in Week two.

The Eagles won 24-17 in week three, getting off of the winless shnide, but Bradford still looked less than effective in the process.

In the win, Bradford went 14/28 for 118 yards and a touchdown. There appears to be no chemistry between Bradford and any of Nelson Agholor, Miles Austin or Zach Ertz. Jordan Matthews was the only Eagles wide receiver to even catch a pass today.

And yet, the Eagles won.

A season ago, the Eagles seemed to be more of the beneficiary of late-game bounces than they have been thus far this season. They started 5-1, but did so with Nick Foles turning the ball over at an alarming rate.

Foles would throw two costly turnovers in the Eagles’ week eight loss to the Arizona Cardinals, bringing his interception total to nine through the first seven games. At that moment if felt like, after a costly loss to an NFC contender, the Eagles were either going to correct their offensive deficiencies or they were going to be a team that imploded in the second half of the season.

Sure enough, Foles would suffer a season-ending injury a week later against the Houston Texans, and while Mark Sanchez performed admirably for a few games, he too struggled with turning the ball over in the eight and a half games that he was at the helm.

And not that you needed to be reminded, but the team finished 10-6 after starting 9-3, completing the biggest late-season collapse in franchise history.

Bradford didn’t turn the ball over in today’s win over the Jets, and had a few bad bounces turn into turnovers in the first two games, but the story feels like much of the same through the first few games. Bradford, and the offense as a whole, have left far too many points on the field, and have yet to turn in a game where they beat the other team because they got into a consistent offensive rhythm and never looked back.

The difference between last year and this year is that the Eagles weren’t really underperforming a season ago, and there’s reason to believe that they might be now.

LeSean McCoy a season ago, was struggling behind a beat-up offensive line. That was a somewhat fixable issue, though he never completely hit his stride in 2014.

Foles was playing up to his capabilities. He was struggling when pressured, and failing to complete a majority of the deep passes that were opening up.

Perhaps the bigger offensive issue last year, one that many of us chose to ignore, was that Jeremy Maclin and Darren Sproles were playing really well to begin with, and it still felt like the team was winning in a way that wasn’t going to be sustainable.

This season, at least on paper, things should be different.

Bradford should be able to begin to get into more of a groove, especially as he becomes more comfortable with playing week-to-week and taking some hits. He also has the arm talent to make the throws that we all knew that Foles didn’t.

The running-game around Bradford can’t be worse than it was throughout the first two weeks, and today it wasn’t. As Ryan Mathews and eventually DeMarco Murray get more comfortable in a new system, and running behind a new offensive line, their individual level of play should pick up.

Even the offensive line, though maybe not as talented as many thought it could be, was always going to take time to gel considering that they had two new starters coming into the unit.

The most important thing that needs to happen for Bradford and the offense to be successful, is that Agholor and him need to get on the same page. It wouldn’t hurt for Austin, Riley Cooper and Josh Huff to become more involved in the passing game, but Agholor needs to step up and play like the natural fit that many thought he would be in this offense.

If Agholor can’t get going, Kelly needs to consider giving Matthews and Zach Ertz some serious snaps on the outside. He might want to experiment with either of those ideas anyway.

As Kelly learned last season, Sproles and the running-game alone can steal you a couple games per season. But when you need to beat elite teams, your offense needs to hit on all cylinders.

If a few wheel routes weren’t dropped today, the offense and Bradford could have looked even better. If they can combine that with a continued commitment to the run and someone stepping up as a number one target, this offense still holds elite potential.

Next: VIDEO: Darren Sproles' Electrifying 89-Yard Touchdown Return

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