- Tyler Steege
Eagles Defense is Good, Bradford is Getting There
The Eagles are on top of the NFC East. 1st place. Could things be better? No doubt about it. , but after an 0-2 start, and fans being really close to jumping off a cliff, the Eagles seem to be in pretty good shape. Taking down a division rival and beating them by 20 points is impressive, but when you play poorly as the Eagles did offensively, it makes the win that more impressive.
The Eagles defense is absolutely insane right now. Giving up just 18.3 points per game, which is 6th best in the entire NFL, despite being on the field for over 34 minutes a game, which is the highest in the NFL. Billy Davis doesn’t get anywhere near the credit he deserves. The Eagles have a ton of talent on defense, but without a sound scheme, you don’t do the things this defense is doing.
Turnovers. The Eagles have 16 forced turnovers which is 2nd best in the NFL behind only the Broncos who have 17. Last year Nate Allen led the Eagles with 4 interceptions. Through six games, Walter Thurmond has 3. The front-four is generating pressure which results into sacks and/or errant throws. The front seven is allowing 94 rushing yards per game, and just 3.5 yards per carry.
To sum things up, the Eagles defense is LEGIT.
The offense.. Well, it’s been very average. Inconsistent is the word that best describes the Eagles offense. The NFL is a QB driven league, and teams that suffer from average or bad QB play rarely prevail. Right now, Sam Bradford has been way too inconsistent.
At the beginning of the season, Bradford looked uncomfortable. After the Redskins game in week three, Bradford finally looked comfortable, but he still had two bad throws against New Orleans that led to interceptions. That’s the thing with Bradford, he looks good, then bad, then repeat.
Going into the game against the Giants, I expected Bradford to have a field day as the Giants have one of the worst secondaries in the NFL, AND they were without arguably their best defensive player in Prince Amukamara.
Bradford played awful. 3 interceptions, 1 touchdown and a QBR of 31.
The most frustrating thing about Sam Bradford is he has every single thing you want in a QB (except long sleeves).
Pocket awareness: check
Arm strength: check
Can escape pressure: check
In hindsight, the interceptions have been bad throws more than bad decisions. Bad decisions are what make Mark Sanchez, Mark Sanchez. Bradford is going through reads and hitting the right guy, he just simply isn’t hitting his mark. Why? Could be a few things: adjusting to a new receiving core, being out of football for two years, inconsistent footwork etc..
Sam Bradford is close. He’s progressed and looks so, so much better than he did at the start of the season. More decisive, more confident, and looking deep. Knowing when and when not to take chances deep is the next step for Sammy. Know when to settle for field goals instead of taking unnecessary shots deep that could result into turnovers.
Remember, Bradford still adjusting. This is easily the most talented team he’s been on. In the past he may have felt the need to press in the redzone simply because his teams rarely had good opportunities to score. Mental mistakes are going to happen. All Eagles fans expected rust heading into the season but when it finally shows up, fans get impatient.
After the game against Carolina, the Eagles have a bye week. Sam Bradford should benefit from that more than any player. That’s the time team’s figure out what exactly is working and what’s not working and the playbook is sort of tweaked. Chip will figure out what Sam likes, doesn’t like and so on.
The Eagles defense can help carry the offense, but at some point the offense needs to reach its potential. The final product that Chip Kelly is building is going to be a fun sight to see. The defense is playing like a top 3 unit in the NFL, as soon as Bradford finds his groove, which I think he will, the Eagles will be able to contend for the NFC crown.