We're just two weeks into the season, and already the noise is deafening. On talk radio and social media, all of Philadelphia is talking about the Eagles' surprising 0-2 start, but within the walls of the NovaCare Complex the team is focused entirely upon the future and what it must do to right the ship heading into a Week 3 road meeting with the Jets.
It's something that head coach Chip Kelly stresses often to his team – next play, next game, and next man up. The past is in the past, and with the team just two rounds into this 16-round bout, they know it's not too late to climb out of the hole they've dug for themselves.
"Obviously, there are ups and downs in this league," said quarterback Sam Bradford on Wednesday. "Would we have liked to have started 2-0? Absolutely. That's not how it went, though. We started 0-2. But we can't back down, and can't lose confidence in what we're doing or what our system is. I think we all still believe in it. We've had two good practices this week, and we're looking forward to our opportunity on Sunday go play the Jets."
What looms in the foreground is arguably be the toughest test yet for the Eagles, whose unexpected offensive struggles (28th in points, 26th in yards) have been too much to overcome in weeks 1 and 2. The New York Jets have allowed just 8.5 points per game (1st in the NFL) and have racked up a league-best 10 takeaways through two contests thanks to a defense that is one of the most talented in the league.
The Eagles' offense has turned the ball over five times so far this season, which is tied for the third-most giveaways in the NFL. Four of those have come through the air, and the other was the result of a botched snap between Bradford and center Jason Kelce out of the shotgun against Dallas in Week 2.
In the NFL, teams that win the turnover battle are more than twice as likely as their opponent to come away victorious. The first-year Eagles signal caller knows is aware of this fact and is focused on correcting the errors that have plagued the offense to this point.
"[The Jets] have done a great job of taking the ball away their first two games… So I think it's on all of our minds that we've got to make smart decisions when we throw the football," he said. "I think a couple of [the] passes that I missed, they were going to the right place, it's just they weren't good balls. After looking at the tape, I think my feet were just off last week… Usually, my feet are good, and my accuracy's good."
Coming into 2015, Bradford hadn't appeared in a regular season game since October 2013. Understandably, there has been rust, but the former No. 1 overall pick refuses to use that as an excuse. Still, he knows that what he's shown these first two weeks is abnormal and that he can be a successful quarterback in this league. Turning the ball over is not something expects from himself.
Among all active quarterbacks, Bradford is third in career interception percentage (2.3%), behind only Aaron Rodgers (1.6%) and Tom Brady (2.0%). He's thrown two touchdowns to four interceptions on the year, which marks the first time since Week 7 of his rookie season in 2010 that his ratio has skewed in that direction.
"I think there is another level [to my game]," he said defiantly. "Obviously, I haven't played to my capabilities. I felt like I was playing much better than this a couple years ago, and I expect myself to play better. Like I said, sometimes when it starts out like this you have to get back to the basics."
Still, despite all the Eagles' struggles on the offensive side of the ball, they were just one missed field goal away from likely coming away with a victory Week 1 against the Falcons and trailed the Cowboys by just 10 points with possession of the ball in Dallas' zone and over seven minutes left before fumbling away the ball and any chance at a comeback.
It's a long season, and in a wide-open NFC East a win over the Jets would put the Eagles right back in the fold.