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The Read-Option: A Disappointing Finish


Good morning, everyone. The final week of the regular season begins today as the Eagles prepare for their final road game of the season in New York on Sunday. In case you missed any of the latest headlines, here is a sample of the latest news revolving around the Eagles, including a spotlight on Sam Bradford's future in Philadelphia ...

In Locker Room, Disappointment Again - Dave Spadaro

"Things started fine, as the Eagles went 80 yards, no problem, scored a touchdown and took a lead Saturday night in a must-win game at Lincoln Financial Field against Washington. And then, mirroring the season, the game went downhill and the playoff hopes died with it in a 38-24 loss.

There really wasn't much different in this game from so many others in this 6-9 season. The Eagles dropped a lot of passes, nine in all. They didn't get much going in the ground game, totaling just 45 yards on 16 attempts. The defense failed to move Washington quarterback

Kirk Cousins off his mark and Cousins completed 31-of-46 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns, continuing his torrid second half of the season. There were too many penalties (8 for 45 lost yards), too many missed chances to seize momentum (dropped potential interceptions, missed tackles and, on one occasion, an overthrown pass to a wide-open tight end Zach Ertz, who would have walked in for a touchdown) and, worst of all, a mismatch in the turnover department. The Eagles gave it away two times, losing 2-of-7 fumbles on the night, while Washington played a turnover-free game.

And so the playoff hopes are over for 2015 and the players reflected upon the sobering reality in the locker room after the defeat, their second to Washington this season.

'I'm pretty disappointed,' wide receiver Jordan Matthews said. 'We had a chance to come out here and do something, turn this season around and we weren't able to do that. It's disheartening because it's same thing that happened last year. It's kind of like déjà vu. Playing in Philadelphia and playing in front of these fans, it's just a sick feeling when it happens here. I can't sugarcoat that. Our fans came, they showed up. The City of Philadelphia had our back and we didn't put a great product on the field consistently.'"

Tweet Of The Day

Super Bowl participants Brian Dawkins, Lito Sheppard, Harold Carmichael and Jabar Gaffney, present Golden Footballs to William M. Raines High School as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Super Bowl...

What Does Future Hold For Bradford? - Julie Bacanskas

"While fielding questions at his locker following the team's 38-24 loss, wide receiver Jordan Matthews was asked about Sam Bradford's importance to this organization moving forward.

With the team looking to improve on its less than stellar 2015 performance, is Bradford the quarterback it can build around? Does he need to be back in 2016 if the Eagles wants to progress?

Matthews' response was simple, yet firm.

'Definitely,' he said. 'Definitely.'

With the team now officially out of the playoff run, attention has already shifted to Bradford's future in Philadelphia. The signal-caller has one more guaranteed game remaining as an Eagle before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Bradford has admitted that he hasn't spoken with the organization yet and there's a lot to figure out, but he wants to be in Philadelphia for the long haul. Hearing Matthews' remarks only further proved the chemistry he and the rest of the offense have formed this season. They all want that growing process to continue.

'For Jordan to say something like that, it means a lot to me,' Bradford said. 'Obviously, he's a guy that gives it his all every week for us, plays extremely hard, has made a lot of plays for us. You always appreciate when your teammates say things like that about you. As far as the future, I would like to be back here, but I mean that's not my choice.

'I've enjoyed my time here. I've enjoyed being in Philadelphia. I think throughout my career I've learned that learning new offenses every year, it's just hard to continue to improve. You're always learning, learning new verbiage, learning new plays, learning new systems. I would really like to stay in the same one and have the opportunity to play the second year in it.'"

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Other Views

Bradford Shows Eagles He's Worth Keeping - Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Inquirer

"As for the quarterback, Sam Bradford deserved only a small amount of blame for what happened this season and almost none for the unnatural disaster that unfolded Saturday night during the Eagles' 38-24 loss to a Washington team that clinched the NFC East by becoming the first and only team to eight wins.

Yes, there was that moment in the second quarter when Bradford simultaneously saw Zach Ertz running alone down the left sideline and a blitzing Redskins defender bearing down on him. Bradford badly overthrew Ertz and a chance for six points disappeared.

That one misfire, however, was minor when you compiled the list of reasons the Eagles staged one final embarrassing performance at the Linc, where they finished 3-5 this season.

Bradford, in fact, was the best offensive player in green, completing 37 of 56 passes for 380 yards and a touchdown. He actually played better than that, but once again his receivers came up small, the running game was marked mostly absent, and the offensive line allowed their quarterback to be sacked five times and hit nine other times.

'I thought Sam threw the ball really well tonight in the midst of pressure,' Kelly said. 'I thought overall Sam was on. I thought we could ride him. He was on, and he put the ball on people. We just didn't do enough around him.'"

The Day After - Tommy Lawlor,

"We can debate the talent level of the 2015 Eagles. I think there is a lot of potential here. Others disagree. Still, I think we'd all agree that the team underachieved. They blew out the Saints and Giants. They had a 35-14 lead at New England. The Eagles dominated the 2nd half of the season opener and the 1st half of the Jets game. When things clicked, you saw the potential of this team.

Unfortunately, things did not click often enough. This is the most inconsistent Eagles team in a long time. They were up and down all year long. You would think one area was a strength and a few weeks later it was a major liability. The polar opposite would happen to some other part of the team. You could never figure out what was real…what was the foundation of the team.

I don't know what the fatal flaw with this team was, but you could see evidence of some issues last night. Skins receivers made tough catches over and over. Eagles receivers dropped crucial passes on plays that weren't that challenging. Zach Ertz fumbled while going down after catching a pass over the middle. Skins players took a few big shots, but never came close to fumbling.

For all the talk of scheme and talent, football comes down to basic execution – blocking, tackling, catching and holding onto the ball. The Skins were better than the Eagles in all of those areas. Their team got the job done. The Eagles didn't."

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