• September 27, 2023

Thoughts From Eagles-Jets

sam-bradford-nfl-preseason-baltimore-ravens-philadelphia-eagles2-850x560Strong Second Quarter Powers Eagles To First Win

The Eagles finally broke out of their early-season funk on Sunday with a 21-point outburst in the second quarter.

The game got off to another slow start, with the Eagles and Jets exchanging punts for much of the first quarter, with a Cody Parkey field goal being the only points in the opening 15 minutes.

This game was decided by two major plays in the second quarter. The first was the 89-yard punt return by Darren Sproles to make it a 10-0 game. The Eagles’ offense wasn’t particularly sharp today out of the gates, but the Sproles score really made it possible for Sam Bradford, Ryan Mathews, and the rest of the offense to loosen up and put together some stronger drives to help take control of the game before the end of the half.

The second was a mental mistake by Brandon Marshall of the Jets. Marshall caught a pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick with several minutes to go in the first half, and for some inexplicable reason, attempted to lateral to one of his teammates, resulting in a fumble recovery for the Eagles that led to the team’s third score of the quarter.

The Eagles quickly built up a 24-7 lead that powered them into the half.

Defense Anchors Team

After the three touchdowns in the second quarter, the Eagles offense went quiet again in the second half, failing to register another score.

Luckily, the Eagles’ defense came to play today.

The defense played a strong game against the Jets’ offense, getting off of the field early in the game and creating turnovers.

Despite missing the services of Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, and Cedric Thornton, the Eagles had a number of guys step up today, including Brandon Bair, Jordan Hicks, and Eric Rowe.

Bair did a great job filling in for Thornton on the defensive line. He got his hands up throughout the day, and batted down several passes from Fitzpatrick including a pass in the fourth quarter that turned into an interception by Hicks.

Hicks and Rowe, the team’s second and third-round picks this year, played critical roles with each player coming down with an interception.

The defense forced the Jets to punt eight times today, six of which came in the first half while the Birds’ offense was struggling.

Appreciating Darren Sproles

You can’t say enough about what Darren Sproles brings to the table.

He’s a gamer and a winner, in every sense of the words. As mentioned earlier, Sproles sparked the team’s outburst with his punt return touchdown early in the second quarter, and added another touchdown on the goalline before the half.

For a guy so small, Sproles always seems to play big. He was the engine that got the team going today, and he needs to remain a focal part of the offense moving forward.

Bradford Average

Sam Bradford played his best regular season game to date as an Eagle, but I still didn’t come away particularly impressed.

Bradford started the game out slow, once again. He overthrew Miles Austin on a fade route on a third down during the team’s opening drive that would have been a touchdown. Instead, the team had to settle for three and left points on the field. Bradford also made a poor throw earlier in the drive to Ryan Mathews, throwing a bit behind the running back, causing him to lose his momentum and any chance he had of turning things into a positive play.

Bradford is still leaning heavily on short and intermediate throws, and for the third straight game, the Eagles were unable to get anything going in their deep passing game. For the day, the Eagles managed just 118 yards through the air.

One thing I have to give Bradford a lot of credit for is how well he throws the wheel route. The former Ram does a good job putting precise throws on those routes, and he put a couple of balls right on the money today. Unfortunately, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles each dropped a pass.

Sports Science Doing Wonders For Eagles’ Health

Remember the talk that went on before the season began about how the Eagles were supposedly the healthiest team in the league?

Well, sports science has sure done wonders so far for the crew of often-injured players that Chip Kelly brought onto this roster.

DeMarco Murray, Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, Josh Huff, and Cedric Thornton all missed today’s game with various injuries. Part of Chip Kelly’s system is his belief that his nutrition and conditioning programs will help greatly reduce the risk of injury to players and keep them on the field.

Murray, Alonso, Kendricks, and Huff all have significant injury history, and sports science was unable to get them back on the field in a situation where the struggling Eagles desperately needed all hands on deck in hopes of avoiding a dreaded 0-3 start.

The sports science thing is just another element of Chip Kelly’s approach that I feel has been pretty overrated to this point.

Even last season, a year in which the Eagles were supposedly ahead of the curve when it came to keeping players healthy, the offensive line was constantly in flux throughout the season because of injury. Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Evan Mathis, and Allan Barbre all missed significant chunks of time, and the Eagles’ offense suffered a bit because of it.

I don’t think the sports science thing is completely without benefit, but I don’t think it can make injury-prone players less likely to avoid showing up on a team’s medical reports.

Quick Thoughts


  • Good lord, Ryan Mathews is a terrible receiver. I know he bounced back and caught the touchdown on the wheel route in the second quarter, but he had another horrid drop in the second quarter that would have easily gone for a touchdown. Its the second time in three weeks Mathews has produced an inexcusable play like that.
  • I also didn’t like how Mathews carried the ball throughout the game. The former Charger didn’t do a good job protecting the football, and gave the Jets an opportunity to get back in the game with a late fumble.
  • Andrew Gardner left the game with a foot injury, and was replaced by Matt Tobin.
  • Nelson Agholor was a complete non-factor for the third straight game.
  • Miles Austin keeps dropping passes.
  • The Eagles had just two completions above 20 yards.
  • I can’t believe how little the tight ends are utilized in this offense. I understand Brent Celek is more of a blocker at this stage of his career, but there’s no reason why Zach Ertz and Trey Burton can’t be factors on this offense, especially with how the wide receivers have struggled.


  • With all of the inactive injured players today, Marcus Smith was active for the first time since Week 13 of last year. He did nothing.
  • Another tremendous game for Malcolm Jenkins, who forced two fumbles.
  • Hicks led the Eagles with 10 tackles.
  • Nice to the Eagles finally get Eric Rowe on to the field. Rowe broke up a pass on a third down, and came down with a huge interception in the second half that may have been the difference in the game.
  • Connor Barwin registered his first sack of the season.
  • Vinny Curry made a nice play in run defense, stopping Bilal Powell for a loss.
  • DeMeco Ryans was in on just three tackles.
  • Walter Thurmond continues to make plays, coming down with another interception.
  • Byron Maxwell has struggled, but Nolan Carroll has quietly played pretty well. Carroll did miss a chance for an easy interception in the second half.

Special Teams

  • Cody Parkey made his only field goal attempt, but made a mistake kicking the ball out of bounds in the first half.

Final Thoughts

The Eagles managed to come away with a win today, but make no mistake this is still a team with some pretty serious issues on the offensive side of the ball.

The Eagles’ offense was only able to generate 17 points, and was completely shut down after the second quarter.

It’s easier to get away with a performance like this when you’re going up against a turnover-prone journeyman quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, but a better team might have been able to come back and send the Eagles to 0-3.

I look at this game, and the fact that the Eagles couldn’t do anything to put the Jets away in the second half disturbs me. Sam Bradford and the passing attack barely managed to put up over 100 yards, and the downfield passing attack remains conspicuously absent.

Fortunately for the Eagles, they’re at a point in their schedule where they’ve got a lot of favorable matchups against bad teams. With the Redskins and Saints on the horizon in the coming weeks, the Birds have a couple of struggling opponents that they could use to help figure some things out and get themselves right.

Follow Denny Basens on Twitter @DennyBasens

Denny Basens

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September 27, 2015 4:52 pm

Don’t forget that both Matthews and Sproles dropped touchdown passes. Miles Austin should have held on to a couple as well. Very easily could have put up 35+. It’s a step in the right direction with Washington coming up. Philly could very well end up being 5-2 or 4-3 going into there bye week with a Brandon Weeden led Cowboys team coming up after our break.

September 27, 2015 4:53 pm

The receivers are putrid.Huff and Austin and Agholor as a second option behind Matthews is going to be a difficult hurdle to overcome.The roster will need reshaping .As happy as I am to get a win ,I truly realize that when and if playing from behind might be almost impossible for this team to overcome.

September 27, 2015 5:07 pm
Reply to  Denny Basens

Zack Ertz is listed as #1 TE now, Celek is a shell of himself right now for whatever reason, Burton was hurt. Huff, I just don’t see it, either he does not have the desire to really play, his head is not in the game, or he just can’t translate his talent onto the field in the pro game. I am pretty much done with him. Agholor is what he is right now, not really ready to contribute, just forced out there due to a lack of a better option, Cooper is a complete waste of space on the roster..but he can block though.

September 27, 2015 4:59 pm

Denny agreed..also Sam running the read option is like having a blind man as a traffic crossing guard..

September 27, 2015 5:13 pm

You need the tight ends for blocking…so Celek is playing more Cooper gives you nothing, Huff is hurt, Austin is done, Agholor is a rookie, Matthews is the only receiver you got and he has drops…receivers are dropping too many passes. with all of these limitations at your receivers..Bradford did a good job in simply not turning the ball over and managing the game.
The naysayers and the gloom and doomers predicted that the Eagles were done. They said this Jets defense was just too tough…
The Eagles are still alive!

September 27, 2015 5:16 pm
Reply to  koolbreeze

Celek’s blocking has been piss poor this season.

September 27, 2015 5:28 pm

The glass is half full..Atlanta is the first NFC team to 3-0 and we were a 4th and 1 from possibly winning there, on the road.The obvious warts at the 1/4 pole are quite evident.Our receiving corps are as bad as under AR without T.O. We are a pro bowler shy of having a decent one two punch.But Maclins not coming through that door.Guys stepped up and showed a heart ,but the dropsies area major concern .In a go to must have reception ,I’m not certain that guys on this roster ?Matthews as a number one is a crap shoot and everyone else is pedestrian.Chip will need use a two back set and have Murray as a receiver to over compensate ..

September 27, 2015 6:35 pm

Cardinals are looking strong so far this Season..
They have improved their OL & Rushing Game which makes Palmers play-action passing that much more effective.. Palmer throws the deep ball as well as Big-Ben and is among the best in the NFL
They love playing for Bruce Arians, who I kind of wished the Eagles pursued during their Coaching search 3 years ago but that’s another story for another day

September 27, 2015 6:36 pm

The running game was better, but there were still a lot of negative or zero-gain plays. The plays where Bradford throws the ball to someone near the line of scrimmage (screens and passes down the sideline) are garbage; they get sniffed-out every time.
Is Cody Parkey the only kicker in the league that can’t send a kickoff into the endzone?
We got lucky today. Ryan Fitzpatrick is godawful. Geno Smith might have beat the Eagles. Sam Bradford is not an accurate passer by any stretch of the imagination.
Kudos to our banged-up defense. Seemed like they played more zone defense today than the last 2 weeks.

September 27, 2015 6:44 pm

Buffalo Bills may have the most explosive Offense in the NFL
They have a mobile QB in Tyrod Taylor whoisperfect in OC Greg Roman’s Scheme and then you add RB’s McCoy, Karlos Williams, Bryce Brown with Receivers Sammie Watkins, Robert Qoods, Percy Harvin and Chris Hogan and then add in big, athletic TE Charles Clay and this Team will get better and better as the season goes along…

September 27, 2015 7:16 pm
Reply to  paulman

New England is the most explosive and rolling put up 50 on Gus Bradley today. Buffalo looks like a playoff team though. Maybe a SF/Seattle division battle brewing type rivalry.

September 27, 2015 7:28 pm

More Brandon Bair, He has to start next game, at least on passing downs. Hicks played well also.

September 27, 2015 7:45 pm

Was a total donut as I told you it would be.

Jets off their big emotional MNF win going into Miami next week. They were confused, disinterested, and discombobulated..

Eagles D played great. Oline good. Rbs good. Special teams Great. Bradford sucked.


September 27, 2015 7:51 pm

Jets and Miami play in London next Sunday…9:30 am EST.

September 27, 2015 7:54 pm
Reply to  Eaglehaslanded

And this changes what I said how exactly?

September 27, 2015 8:14 pm

Take a chill pill smart guy, I happen to agree with you…kool has you on the defensive edge lol. I simply was stating that they play in London next week…it changes nothing…relax!

September 27, 2015 8:14 pm

Bull…the only thing resembling a ‘donut’ Vinniedaloser is your brain

What a hypocrite…Bradford has no turnovers against one of the toughest defenses in the league…his receivers had numerous drops, he made the key plays and got the WIN

When Nick Foles was turning the ball over and bailed out by the special teams and defense…Vinniedaloser would be the first to tell us…

“Foles got the win’

Now Bradford gets the job done gets the win…while Vinniedaloser boy coughs up the key interception in a loss to guess who…

Mike Vick…LMAO…

that had to hurt you bad Vinnie…real bad…LMAO!!!!!!!

September 27, 2015 8:35 pm
Reply to  koolbreeze

You still talking about Vick?

September 27, 2015 8:44 pm

I’m just reflecting on the irony…because I know you were watching your mancrush Nick Foles blow the game against the Steelers and of all people…Mike Vick.
Of course, it wouldn’t have the same taste if we were to lose to the top ranked defense of the Jets today…the team that so many of you were saying is falling apart, the team that you frauds bailed on, was led to a victory by the efficient, non-turnover play of Sam Bradford…
It was no surprise that the defense would play pretty well against the Jets inept offense…but Bradford made enough plays and more importantly-protected the ball against turnovers…despite the limited weapons he has at receiver…
Its such a good thing that we got rid of that bum Foles…or else we’d be 0-3 with no chance at all…

Now we have a chance!

September 27, 2015 8:26 pm

Kaepernick is one lucky dude he has Blaine Gabbert as his number 2 backup QB and not Colt McCoy or Kirk Cousins. 4 interceptions 2 for pick 6s. ouch ( 9-19 attempts for 67 yards. )

September 28, 2015 9:43 am

Cant credit the offense with the 3 TD’s in the first half G…One of those were on special teams…The offense produced 17 points yesterday….Still needs to be better! Luckily, considering the circumstances, that’s all they needed.

September 28, 2015 10:53 am

a good win, any win is a good one- O line seems to be coming together a bit. Defense is solid – nice contribution from two rooks on D — If I remember correctly 2 weeks ago the sky is falling crowd called them busts– Hicks looks like a solid contributor for years to come, Rowe is coming along.
Agular has to get something going NOW!

September 28, 2015 11:04 am
Reply to  haveacigar

It’s a soap opera league ,where every quarter is magnified ,with Qbs falling like trees .Next man up ,is the definition for “were done ” as depth in the NFL is an anomaly.We found yesterday a corner who wasn’t blinded by the bright lights ,a linebacker who seemingly assuaged all the O line draft nicks.Its a team,that grows a new appendage each week.Agholor showed promise in pre season and once coached up ,will grow into his role week by week.Some guys ,however can’t seemingly clear any hurdles…no matter how low the bar is set.Smith is a draft pick that has crashed and burned ,huff can’t remove his head from his arse..and Sam is still taking baby steps along his way back .A win camaflogues,many imperfections.No team has won anything in September ,now with a major divisional foe on deck ,let’s take strides to .500 at 2-2.

September 28, 2015 11:45 am
Reply to  deserteagle

well stated desert…
we just have to have a chance in december… health and the new appendages you mention have to keep coming. The Hicks pick is looking better and better- guy should get some consideration for Def player of the week i’d think…. two turnovers, 9 UA tackles…

September 28, 2015 11:50 am

Oh i dont see how he couldnt win it hac

September 28, 2015 11:52 am
Reply to  zilents44

well, i don’t know what other players around the league did… but it was a very good week for a wasted draft pick…

September 28, 2015 12:24 pm

Wait a minute, you mean to tell me that Jordan Hicks can play despite Dcar and GMCliff clearly stating that he sucks before he ever played one down? Who’d a thunk it? Smh