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August 22, 2015

Breakfast with the Birds: All eyes on Sam Bradford

Eagles NFL

Chip Kelly didn’t officially confirm anything on Friday, but all signs point to tonight’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens as Sam Bradford’s debut in midnight green. As our own Jimmy Kempski has consistently harped on throughout training camp, the major question isn’t if Bradford can make the throws. It’s if he is mobile enough to move around the pocket and avoid a pass rush when necessary.

As Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, we’ll only be able to know for sure when Bradford plays in a game. For his part, the Birds’ starting quarterback seems to feel the same way:

Bradford's passing ability should be clear in the game. He has shown off his arm throughout the summer, and the Eagles' excitement about his accuracy appears merited.

But what has not been seen during training camp - and can only be seen in the game - is how Bradford moves in the pocket and what he looks like after taking a hit. The last time Bradford was hit in a game, he suffered a torn ACL.

"I wouldn't hate going to the ground once, getting up, and knowing I'm going to be OK," Bradford said.

Going up against a physical Ravens defense doesn’t exactly qualify as easing his way in. Tonight’s game definitely isn’t lacking in intrigue.

Friday recap

1. Wolff out: You could hear the dissatisfaction in Kelly’s quotes whenever he was asked about oft-injured safety Earl Wolff. Yesterday, the Eagles waived the 2013 fifth-round pick.

2. Next man up: With Marcus Smith out for 2-3 weeks, the Eagles’ already thin outside linebacking corps has to deal with even more depth issues. Mullin wrote about this situation from every possible angle.

3. 1,000 yards each: Jason Peters has always been pretty bullish about the Eagles’ run game, but to be fair, wouldn’t you be the same way if you were as good at blocking as Jason Peters is?

What they’re saying

No sophomore slumps: Second-year players to watch: Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated

Burke thinks Josh Huff could be in for a big year:

Thanks to Chip Kelly's off-season roster cleanse, there is even more an opportunity for one of his guys—Huff played under him at Oregon—to step into a larger role. Jordan Matthews again will be a go-to option, but Kelly prefers to play him in the slot. So, the two outside jobs are up for grabs, with Huff, rookie Nelson Agholor, veteran Miles Austin and the apparently uncuttable Riley Cooper in the mix.

Huff is smaller than Cooper (5'11" to 6'3") and less experienced than either he or Austin. He's also far more explosive and athletic. Huff, Agholor and Matthews together would cause headaches for opposing defenses.

The 'No Respect' team for the 2015 fantasy football season: KC Joyner, ESPN Insider

I try to stay away from fantasy topics in these posts, but Joyner thinks the Eagles’ special teams will continue to make plays in 2015:

Consider this: Philadelphia was the top fantasy D/ST in 2014, but isn't even considered a starting-caliber D/ST in 2015.

The main reason for that drop-off is the fact that fantasy owners do not expect the Eagles to repeat the 11 touchdowns this D/ST scored last season. A regression is certainly to be expected, but according to ESPN Stats & Information, the average fantasy D/ST last season scored 20.3 points on touchdowns. If Philadelphia falls from its 66-point total on touchdowns to the par level in this category, it would still leave it as a starting D/ST candidate.

Detailed PS Game Review – PHI 36, IND 10: Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz

The title isn’t misleading, as Lawlor watches the tape and gives a detailed scouting report on each player. For example, here is what he said about backup running back Raheem Mostert’s performance:

Good showing. Had an 8-yd run up the middle in the mid-2nd. Didn’t hesitate. Moved upfield quickly and worked his way through traffic. Moved the chains on the next play by running hard inside for 4 yds. Highlight play came on first snap of 2nd half. Caught pass in the left flat. Made a LB miss and then flew upfield for a gain of 40. Looked like he might go all the way for a minute, but got caught in some downfield traffic. Really impressive burst on that play. Used his speed to get wide for a gain of 7 in the mid-3rd. I thought Mostert might struggle on some standard runs or plays in traffic, but he was tougher and more physical than I expected.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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