Q. Pat, it seems like QB Sam Bradford's gotten better, especially under pressure, at moving around the pocket. What do you see from him in terms of that over the course of the season?**
PAT SHURMUR: I think his overall play has improved each week. I certainly expected it. I'm starting to see the things in him that I remember seeing when he was a rookie. It takes a while to come back from what he went through, and he's getting more and more used to the way we're doing things. Certainly, it was easy to connect the dots when he first got here, and he was very well aware of what we try to do offensively. But it just takes a little bit of time. Much like an offensive line working together, the quarterback with everything that he has on his plate along with getting himself really physically ready to handle it all, it just kind of takes a little bit of time. I think we didn't know what to expect as we moved along. Certainly, expectations are high whenever you're talking about an NFL football team and an NFL football player. But we just saw him getting better each day, and I think it's showing on Sunday.
Q. Did the distribution in the back field in terms of playing time go as you hoped or as you anticipated?
PAT SHURMUR: I think we had a good flow, and I think every one of those guys contributed and we won the game.
Q. When you saw Sam as a rookie, how did he compare to other young quarterbacks that you've worked with since and had worked with up to that point?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, he's got outstanding accuracy. I think that is his No. 1 attribute. I think he understands the game extremely well. He's extremely smart, and you can see, throwing a football is a total body motion, so you need every part of your body to do it. So as he's getting more and more comfortable with being back, you can see that ball going exactly where he wants it. There were only a couple of throws the other night that didn't go just where he wanted it. The one that comes to mind is we threw the post to [WR Seyi Ajirotutu] Tu, and that was one I think he'd want to have back. But there were some really well-thrown footballs and he's having more and more well-thrown balls and less and less ones that miss the target. So that's how we evaluate how he's improving.
Q. When you had Bradford in St. Louis, could you see then -- was he more advanced than a typical rookie might be or even a second and third-year guy?
PAT SHURMUR: He was the rookie of the year on offense, and he helped us. We weren't really a very good team at the time. We were six dropped balls from winning the division that year. So he's a highly competitive guy that performed extremely well in a very tough conference. [Defensive Coordinator] Billy [Davis] was the defensive coordinator in Arizona at the time, and they tried to tear his head off twice in the two games that we played him. Sam stood in there and did a good job. So, yeah, we saw it when he was a rookie. We expect to see it again. We're starting to see it on a more consistent basis.
Q. He's starting to take more of a leadership role in the locker room as well in the last few weeks. Does that take time for a quarterback in a new surrounding?
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, I sort of look at that leadership piece, you don't have to have any really outstanding attribute other than having some courage. I know he's a very courageous guy. He's probably saying a little bit more now as he playing more and he's more comfortable with the surroundings. But he displays leadership, in my mind, every single day. I think some of the vocal part of it is important, and it gets talked about probably more than a lot of the non-verbal stuff that you see on a day-to-day basis. But certainly, I think that's starting to come forward just a little bit more.
Q. Do you think it took him a while to really trust in that knee and be able to really plant? I know he was healthy, but to kind of go out there week after week and have faith in it?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, some of us have come back from those types of injuries. I did myself. There is a difference between being healthy enough to play, which we all become, and then after you play a while, you get more and more comfortable with it. I think a lot of guys will say, 'Hey, my second year back from those type of injuries, I feel much better.' I think that's fair. The further you get away from the actual injury, the surgery and the rehab, the more and more comfortable you are with everything.
Q. When you call him courageous, are you referring to the rehab, having to go through everything twice?
PAT SHURMUR: Everything, everything. I watch him compete on a day-to-day basis. I watch the way he trains. I see how he handles himself in the meetings. It's safe to say I've got a lot of very strong, good feelings about what he can be as a player because I've seen it. I know we'll see it here.
Q. What is the thinking for not having a featured back and for rotating guys in?
PAT SHURMUR: Okay. We're on the backs again, okay. Well, we have what we think to be four really good running backs. So we want to use them all. I think if you put a really good player in the game, and he's fresher as you go, then you get a little bit more out of him. When you have a featured back, and I think that's the unintended consequence of saying we only have one guy, right -- is it the chicken or the egg -- then that guy takes a lot of pounding and a lot of wear and tear. When we were in St. Louis together and Sam was with them, we had [former Rams and Falcons RB] Steven Jackson. He was our featured back. But by far he was our best running back, and he was a dynamic, explosive player. So it's a different scenario. Each setting is different. We feel like we've got a handful of guys that can play well.
Q. Running backs always talk about how they need the ball to get into a rhythm and they need carries.
PAT SHURMUR: Sure.
Q. How do you take that into the equation?
PAT SHURMUR: I think that's also -- every skill player wants the ball every time it's snapped. That's their way of saying we want the ball all the time.
Q. RB DeMarco Murray was a guy who led the league in rushing last year. Is it disappointing that he's not far and away the best back on this team?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, I'm not saying -- why are we going to make that judgment? Are we going to base it on how much the player's making, how much he plays? Really, we're trying to win football games and we want to put fresh running backs in the game. I think some of that is just the outside drama added to it. I mentioned that we just want to play football. We want to try to do what we can this week to beat Arizona. Just like last week it was to beat Buffalo. We just try to keep all the guys that are going to play going, get them in there, and expect that when they're in the game, they're going to give us good reps, period. End of story, really. We don't try to match the expectations outside the building. We just go put them out there, train them up and let them play.
Q. How aware do you have to be of Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson?
PAT SHURMUR: I think he's playing as well as he's played in his career. He looks lighter to me, he looks quicker. He's much tighter in coverage than he was, I think, a year ago. We're very well aware of where he is. We know his name, we know his number and we're going to be well aware of where he's at.
Q. It's not necessarily expectations outside the building for Murray. It's playing time earlier this year compared to the past two weeks. Inside the building, that is a decision the coaches are making. Why is there such a change?
PAT SHURMUR: I don't think there's a big change. I think we've played multiple running backs throughout the year. Done. If he was getting every single snap throughout the year, then maybe we'd have something to talk about. But we also have -- I'm sorry, but we have [RB] Ryan Mathews, we have [RB] Darren Sproles, we have these guys that we would all agree are outstanding football players and we want them to play as well. That's it.
Q. But you started the year trying to establish Murray and get him a lot of carries. I mean, he was clearly the No. 1 guy when the year began and he's not now. I think that's why it comes up.
PAT SHURMUR: I understand where you're going with all this. But I think as we kind of morph through the year and we become what we are as the Philadelphia Eagles trying to win a football game, we just do what we think is best.
Q. So is it performance based? Is that the strict reason why it's shifted now?
PAT SHURMUR: I think it's a combination of things. We have other guys in the room that warrant playing time. Period.
Q. On WR Nelson Agholor's 53-yard touchdown, what did you see on the film on why that play worked so well for you guys?
PAT SHURMUR: Nelson was running a post. That was the alerted part of the concept. You saw we ran it numerous times. Ran a flag underneath it and aback in the flat. They were sort of struggling with that concept. The way the play played out, there was a lot of really good football within that play. You saw [G/T] Matt Tobin kind of got edged, and he then he took a last bite out and then Sam stepped up. Then he was able to see the relationship with the safety with the post and then he let it fly. Not to mention he used his feet. He pushed up in the pocket. The ball security was excellent. He had two hands on the ball and then he made a really fine throw where Nelson could run through it. Only thing bad about that play was the celebration at the end. I wasn't quite sure what that was.
Q. Is that something Sam's done with more confidence; moving up in the pocket?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, I think it's part of being more comfortable with his lower body. I think as we get more and more comfortable, you can do more things that we see and recognize as good football.
Q. Are you starting to see the explosiveness from Nelson that maybe you hadn't seen earlier in the year because of his injury? Do you think he's finally at that stage?
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, it's hard to say, 'Well, he's going to have a break-out game.' I just think he's steadily coming back and he's performing out here and in the game more with that smoothness that you see when you're not dragging around a bad ankle.
Q. How about WR Jordan Matthews? It seems his numbers have been down lately. Anything to that? Any reason for that?
PAT SHURMUR: No, I think he was a guy that was courageous the other day as well. You saw late in the week we had to -- he was struggling physically. But he went out there and played. I tell you what, he battled through it. He was really -- we're proud of the effort he made. That may have something to do with it. But for the most part, I think he's one of those 'Steady Eddie' kind of guys that we count on to be out there. We're pleased with what he's doing.
Q. Is WR Josh Huff taking more snaps on the left side now?
PAT SHURMUR: He did this past week.
Q. What is the reason for that?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, we feel like that's a good combination. With our new combination of guys playing, with him and [WR Riley Cooper] Coop over there.
Q. It seemed like drops were kind of a prominent thing again?
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah.
Q. You've addressed that from time to time. Is there anything new or different?
PAT SHURMUR: We're just going it to continue to train against it. We certainly talked about that early in the year. We had some games. The one that comes to mind is Carolina where we had numerous ones that affected the outcome. Then it cleaned up for a while and it peeked back up again. So we just keep working on it. You typically get what you emphasize. We'll continue to emphasize it like we do all the other fundamentals of the game, ball security, the snap, and we'll just try to get it better.
Q. TE Zach Ertz obviously had a big game Sunday.
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, he did a good job.
Q. How important was it to get him going in the last few games?
PAT SHURMUR: I think the tight ends, in general, when they get production, the first thing I look at on the sheet is where the balls went. When you've got the tight end group catching passes, we felt like the matchups were good inside. Certainly, we expected that to be the case in this past game, and he did a lot with the balls that he got.