After a year on the sidelines, Stewart Bradley wanted more than six plays.
"Last week was such a tease," said Bradley, who missed last season with a torn ACL, about last week's preseason opener when the first team defense forced consecutive three-and-outs before exiting the game. So for Bradley, getting to play an entire half, as the starters did against the Cincinnati Bengals in Friday night's 22-9 loss, was an important step.
"It's always good to get out there and get in the flow of the game," the starting middle linebacker said. "I wish we could have played the whole game, but that's kind of the nature of the beast in the preseason. We're excited to play a little more next week and then get on to the regular season."
As for Bradley's thoughts on the defense as a whole, he was pleased but not satisfied.
"We definitely have some stuff to work on," he said. "We weren't perfect. That was a good offense we played out there, a good offensive line, a good quarterback, so it was a good test for sure."
The Eagles allowed 213 total yards of offense to the Bengals in the first half, including 169 through the air, but only surrendered seven points, thanks largely in part to two interceptions - one of which Bradley helped create when he laid out Chad Ochocinco and jarred the ball into the air, allowing Quintin Mikell to snare it before it hit the ground.
Bradley also knows that come the regular season, the defense will feature some new wrinkles and will be even better prepared.
"It's still kind of that training camp mentality where you're trying to prepare and work on yourself and focus on getting everything installed and making sure that you're taking care of your base defensive stuff before you're game-planning in the preseason," Bradley said. "Of course you want to win the game, but you also want to go out there and try to improve and become the defense that you want to be for the opener."
So Bradley's eye is on the regular season prize. He and the rest of the first-team defense will get another chance to improve and play even more next week when they travel to Kansas City for the third preseason game.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 1:00 p.m., August 21