Let me first start by saying that it's great to get the first win. Especially combined with a Cowboys loss. The defensive play was very encouraging and Darren Sproles gave us another instant classic on STs. All I can say is thank the Pope that the defense and STs unit showed up. We'll have more on the running game a bit later once the All-22 comes out. Lots of interesting stuff mixed in and it was great to see so much outside zone eventhough the execution remains a hair off. But let's get right down to it. I'm generally not the guy who dumps on the team after a much needed win, I'll generally take wins anytime I can get it. But I have bigger aspirations for this team than simply a title in a crappy NFC East and a playoff appearance. It was widely acknowledged that the biggest thing Chip Kelly needed to get this team over the hump was a franchise QB. Unfortunately, Sam Bradford continues to NOT look the part.
I suspect I'll get a comment or two that suggests that the supporting cast needs to help out Sam more. While I generally agree with that, Bradford's accuracy has been highly erratic. He makes Donovan McNabb look repetitively accurate. I'd love to say that Bradford is still working out chemistry with his WRs, there is definitely something off...but Sam is just leaving way too many plays on the field and he's not giving his receivers chances to make plays with the exception of a few plays here and there. Let's have a look. At the moment, it seems the only passing concept that has been semi-reliable for the passing game has been the wheel and mesh combo. The vast majority of the Eagles offensive success yesterday in the passing game came from this concept.
Bradford gets the matchup he wants. As Mathews comes out of the backfield he has a linebacker chasing him from the middle of the field. He has Mathews with a lot of green in front of him. If this ball is placed on Mathews shoulder to the outside sideline, it's a big play:
Instead Bradford delivers it to the inside shoulder and Mathews can't reel it in. Yes, Mathews needs to make this catch, but even if he does, based on the ball placement that LB makes the tackle for a minimal gain. If the ball placement is where it should be, it's an explosive play like we saw later in the game:
Similar play again later except this time Matthews and Celek will not cross path and retreat back before the mesh. The Jets blow this coverage and Mathews gets wide open down the field:
Check it out. This is a TD for Mathews:
Mathews once again takes the blame for this because it's absolutely a catch he should make. But again, I can't let Bradford off the hook for dreadful ball placement. This ball should be out in front of Mathews, instead Ryan has to turn back to the ball which is placed on his back shoulder. He should make that catch, but the point is, the placement isn't there. If he catches it, it's still a nice gain but probably not a TD because Bradford slowed him down instead of hitting him in stride.
In fairness to Bradford, the Eagles kept coming back to this play and he finally got it going. Same play, and this is a really impressive throw from Bradford. Note the pressure bearing down on him:
Absolutely perfectly placed throw:
He had another later to Darren Sproles. I love how the Eagles rolled Bradford out here. Actually, the one area where Bradford has looked surprisingly good is throwing on the run.
This is a gorgeous ball. Unfortunately, Sproles drops it:
I realize I have to give Bradford credit where credit is due. Yes, he can make "every" throw...but it doesn't matter if he can't do it consistently from play-to-play.
Related play. Here is a nicely designed screen to Mathews from the WR position. Peters and Barbre will immediately release downfield. Miles Austin also has a terrific block at the line. Bradford gets the ball out quickly:
If this ball is out in front of Mathews, he has a chance to get some nice positive yardage. But again, the ball is off the mark and Mathews has to turn back for the ball on his back shoulder. As a result, he has to completely spin around before he can move. This play has to develop quickly to work, and Bradford with a poorly placed ball basically gives it no chance to succeed:
Moving on, if Bradford was actually playing consistently this year I think we'd be praising the offensive line for their pass protection. The quietly did a terrific job protecting Sam against a very good Jets defense. Alas, that's not going to be a big storyline today because:
Bradford with a very nice pocket to step into and a wide open Nelson Agholor:
Again, yes, a play Agholor should make, but Sam needs to give his receiver a better chance. The throwing window was huge:
Here's another out of a 3 x 1 set where the Eagles run 3 slants at the top. It's almost like a tosser concept where Jordan Matthews will take his man hard inside and occupy the deep safety. Miles Austin will go down the seam and gets immediate separation:
Again, Austin is open and if Sam hits him in stride, it's a big play, maybe even a TD:
But Bradford throws the ball behind him and the Jets defender is able to break it up:
Another play, Bradford has a beautifully clean pocket to step into:
And has Agholor wide open down the middle of the field:
And another ball in the dirt:
Late in the game on a big 3rd down. Chip has been saying all year that the lack of the deep ball is because teams are stopping the run game with 6 defenders in the box and keeping their safeties deep. Well yesterday, the Eagles finally got the run game going and this is the type of situation Chip is looking for. The Jets stack the box and Agholor is matched up on Revis in man coverage on the outside:
Agholor makes a nice move and does a great job beating Revis cleanly on the line. He'll get some separation down the field:
But Bradford doesn't even give him a chance with this throw:
Finally, maybe we can chalk this up to chemistry issues. Sam did not get a ton of time with his receivers in the preseason and through the first 2 weeks he had no running game to speak of. I can appreciate that he hadn't played a real game for the better part of 2 years and there continues to be some rust to knock off. But he just looks awkward, uncomfortable and confused out there. I highlighted this packaged play with a very simple read against the edge defender on a key 3rd and short. This is a very nice play call. Essentially, Celek is lined up over the edge defender. First and foremost, the Jets are showing their triple A-gap blitz. Second, Bradford has to see the triple A gap blitz coming from the Jets and realize that the hand-off option isn't likely to succeed against that front. Fortunately, this is a packaged play where Bradford reads the linebacker who is lined up over Brent Celek the tight end. If the edge defender drops out, at least he has a bit of a lighter box. If the LB crashes, Celek is wide open in the flat for a 1st down. Let's see what happens:
Chip Kelly has cycled through Mike Vick, Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez in his short tenure and while each of them had their issues, none of them seemed to struggle picking up the offense and running it at a fast pace. The Sam Bradford-led offense is the slowest offense I've ever seen a Chip Kelly team run. Keep in mind Kelly says this is a No-Huddle operation. It's a core philosophy of how he wants to run his team. I don't think the offense Bradford is running out there meets Chip's requirements. I do believe Chip needs to be patient, but Sam is very lucky that the defense, STs, and running game showed up yesterday. Otherwise, there would be a very different narrative in Philadelphia today.
Bradford is not showing repetitive accuracy, he's showing inconsistency on touch throws, he's struggling getting the ball downfield, he is running the offense at a snail's pace, and he's struggling making the reads. At this point, what is he showing?