The problem is not entirely Sam Bradford, has he looked good? No, but the blame cannot be placed on him. Two out of four interceptions thrown by the new Quarterback cannot be blamed on him, two tipped balls and two bad decisions. The primary issue for the passing game is the lack of explosion, their is no deep threat on this team. Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews both need more time to grow, Matthews is showing that he is not a flat out number one Wide Receiver and Agholor will need to develop.
The players on the Eagles with the most receiving yards are Jordan Matthews, Darren Sproles, Demarco Murray, and Zach Ertz. Then their is a massive drop off to the other Receivers who all have less than 40 yards receiving. Without Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin the receiving core looks flat, it looks like no one on the team is capable of running anything other than a slant route.
The most effective plays have been wheel routes to Darren Sproles, but that play is becoming predictable. The “high octane” Eagles offense is having a hard time catching teams off guard. The Offensive Line, which is covered in injuries is not providing Sam Bradford enough time to make a play or for the receivers to get open. The passing game isn’t nearly as pitiful as the running game, but without a rushing attack the Eagles will not be able to throw the ball effectively.
Running the ball is hard, when you are not lining up under center. For some reason the Philadelphia Eagles have only came out under center 3-5 times this season. It is as ineffective as it is confusing. As of right now, Demarco Murray and Ryan Matthews have a combined 15 yards on 25 rushing attempts. Personally, the reason I was excited about the signing of Demarco Murray because I wanted to see the Eagles with a running back that ran right through the tackles and ran north-south, rather than from side to side like Lesean McCoy and Brian Westbrook. Much to my dismay, Chip Kelly has been attempting to run sweep plays and go down the sideline with Demarco Murray rather than run between the tackles.
Something that is extremely problematic is the fact that the Eagles keep coming out in Shotgun formation as well as the Pistol is limiting Ryan Matthews and Demarco Murray’s ability to run up the gut of opposing teams. Darren Sproles on the other hand is thriving in this Eagles offense, because it is an offense entirely based on speed and he happens to be the only member of the Eagles offense who is fast by NFL standards. Out of the gun, Demarco Murray is going to have a hard time out running Defensive Ends, Linebackers, and Secondary players, but coming out under Center and running between tackles would cater to Murray’s skill set.
Anyone with a basic football knowledge knows that the passing game and running game go hand and hand. The Eagles have an extremely ineffective running game, which has slowly become a burden on the the pass attack. The Eagles need to get under the Center, run the ball forward, rather than to the sidelines, and establish a deep threat. Sam Bradford’s statistics are not horrendous, this is not a doomed team, they are a team in need of speed and leadership. Nothing on this team looks good, it’s not time to panic yet because we are only two games into the season, but if the Eagles continue like this it will be time to panic.
Written by @JPetersTSR