Eagles rolling after lopsided preseason wins
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Two impressive preseason wins are still preseason wins.
The Philadelphia Eagles have outscored two AFC playoff teams 76-27 in a pair of routs, but neither the Indianapolis Colts nor the Baltimore Ravens prepared a game plan to face Chip Kelly’s offense.
”The tempo of the offense was tough and that’s something that we hadn’t prepared for,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said following Saturday’s 40-17 loss. ”We didn’t prepare for it by design. It’s not something we’re going to prepare for. I guess in the preseason it’s pretty effective in that sense. If we were playing in the third preseason game, we’d probably prepare for it. There’s no way in the second preseason game when we’re still installing and trying to develop guys and find players and all that. So we were doing the best we could.”
Colts coach Chuck Pagano had similar thoughts following a 36-10 loss last Sunday.
”You don’t spend a lot of time game-planning for the first preseason game,” he said. ”You talk through some base stuff so it’s a tall order – the pace of play at which they go, the zone read, the option element and obviously all the play-action pass stuff that comes off of that.”
That puts Philadelphia’s early success in perspective.
Still, it shouldn’t diminish the debuts of Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray Bradford led the Eagles on an 84-yard touchdown drive in his only series. Murray had 31 total yards on six touches.
”The communication was awesome,” Murray said. ”Everyone was on the same page so that’s the most important thing. We were able to get lined up fast and we were able to get plays off fast and run them efficiently.”
Bradford looked sharp in his first game in 364 days. He hadn’t played since tearing his left ACL for the second time in a span of 11 months. Bradford eased his way back in offseason workouts and has been full-go in training camp. Kelly held him out of the first game for precautionary reasons.
”I feel like once we got rolling out there I felt pretty good,” Bradford said. ”Obviously there are a bunch of things we all have to keep working on. I think there are things I have got to clean up. There are things that everyone has to clean up. So we’re still trying to build on what we did, but I still think there is work I have to do in order to be ready for the season.”
MAKING THE CUT
Kenjon Barner is making a strong case to be the fourth running back behind Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. He has returned punts for TDs in the first two games and has a rushing TD. Barner played for Kelly at Oregon and spent part of last season on Philadelphia’s practice squad.
”I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a productive player,” Kelly said.
Barner credits Sproles for his success returning punts. Sproles has seven returns TDs (five punts, two kickoffs).
”I’m in Darren’s back pocket 24/7,” Barner said. ”Anything that guy tells me, I listen to. For pregame, I was able to watch him and then go back and have about a 5-10 minute conversation with him about where the ball was going to drop, how it was going to turn, who was booming it and who wasn’t. Sproles plays a big part in my success in the punt return because he’s always in my head.”
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