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Shurmur: Mistakes Have Slowed Offense

On Tuesday afternoon, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur took the podium at the NovaCare Complex to address media members who were full of questions. After Saturday's disappointing loss to Washington, reporters were eager to get Shurmur's take on quarterback Sam Bradford, on the 2015 running game and on mistakes holding the offense back, such as drops and penalties.

Here is a breakdown of three takeaways from the offensive coordinator's press conference …

On Costly Mistakes

Another one of the team's biggest issues this season were penalties and drops, both of which occurred on numerous occasions in its most recent game against Washington.

With regards to drops specifically, the Eagles lead the NFL with 35 on the season. Clearly, these mistakes have haunted the team, something Shurmur is well aware of.

"If it was one player you could just take them off the field and that would fix it," the offensive coordinator said. "I think the challenging thing for us is to continue to find ways to not have it happen.

"We practice catching the football in more creative ways here than any other place I've been," Shurmur said. "We've emphasized it more here than any place I've ever been. And it has just got to stop. When the ball comes to you, you focus on the small point. It's all about your eyes, fingers and using your hands and focus on the details of catching the ball."

On Sam Bradford

With one game left in the 2015 season, the curiosity surrounding Bradford's future in Philadelphia has only grown further. According to Shurmur, he and the Eagles have high hopes that the quarterback will be under center for the team again come 2016.

"All along he has expressed to us that he enjoys what we're doing," Shurmur said. "He likes our offense and likes the culture here, so it's no surprise that that was revealed publicly. But, yeah, I hope he's here for sure."

Bradford's progress throughout the season has been a gradual process, but the signal-caller has been producing in big ways for the team as of late. More importantly, his reconstructed knee has not been an issue at any point in 2015. He has proven that injury is a thing of the past.

"I think where Sam's at a second year in any system is going to be important," Shurmur explained. "This year he got himself to the start line ready to play. I think this offseason is going to be important for him because now he has a base understanding of what we're doing schematically. He knows, for the most part, the players he'd be playing with.

"And it will be a great offseason for him because now he can focus on Sam and getting his strength and his body and all the things to the point where he wants to be. Anytime you're rehabbing an injury it's sometimes hard to focus on all those other things, and I think this would be an offseason where he'll make great strides."

On The Run Game

Last year, the Eagles averaged 160 yards per game on the ground, but in 2015, that number decreased dramatically. Now, the team is only picking up 109 rushing yards each game.

With the additions of Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray to the running back rotation, clearly a decrease in that category was not the plan. But, Shurmur explained that each game is different, which has been part of the reason for the drop off.

"This week we ran the ball and we did some good things running the ball early," he explained. "When the score gets away from you a little bit, then you tend to throw the ball a little more. We certainly felt like we could throw the ball on these guys start to finish.

"And so each game is different. I think what's important is when you run the ball, you want to be effective. And you want to also try to create big plays. I think that's what we did with the run game early on in the first couple of years, is not only were we effective running the ball, but we also got some explosive plays out of it. I think that's something that we just have to continue to work on."

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