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The Read-Option: Confidence In Matthews


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Happy Friday the 13th, Eagles fans! Take a look at some of the best Eagles content in today's The Read-Option. You won't want to miss out on the stories and multimedia leading up to the team's game against Miami ...

Offense In Search Of Full 60 Minutes - Dave Spadaro

"If there is a consistent culprit, it's a lack of production on first down in the first quarter of games. The Eagles have run 47 first-down plays in the first quarter of the eight games, gaining 229 total yards, an average of 4.87 yards per play. If that sounds like a solid average, consider that one of those gains was the 32-yard touchdown from Sam Bradford to Riley Cooper along with a 27-yard run by Ryan Mathews against New York and a 30-yard gain by DeMarco Murray at Washington. Toss out those three plays and the Eagles have gained 140 yards on 44 plays, an average of 3.18 yards per first down.

Bradford has also thrown two interceptions on first-down throws in the first quarter, and the Eagles have converted 10 of 26 third downs, three coming as a result of defensive penalties.

Jumble the numbers up any way you'd like and it comes out the same: The Eagles need to do a whole lot better at the start of games.

'It's obviously something we're aware of and that we're working on,' tight end Zach Ertz said. 'Our goal is always to start fast and finish strong.'

Head coach Chip Kelly has talked about the slow starts since the opener in Atlanta. There isn't much new to offer on the lack of early scoring. It's a breakdown here, a mental mistake there, a lapse in technique or a penalty. He has called the errors 'correctable' and as the Eagles start the second half of the season, they hope to get off to a flying start against Miami."

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Rushing Attack Joining NFL's Elite - Julie Bacanskas

"Murray and Mathews are the only running back duo in the NFL with each accumulating at least 500 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns. Both scored three of the five since the Eagles' win over the Saints, the same time period in which Murray nabbed 343 of his 390 rushing yards this season.

In fact, this trend went across the board for the trio with 693 of the 973 total rushing yards this season coming in that four-game span.

Since Week 5, the Eagles are second in the league in yards rushing per game only to St. Louis, fourth in yards per attempt (5.1) and tied for second with six rushing touchdowns. The run game has turned a corner, and the group wants those stats to continue.

'I think it's just an every-day, every-week deal,' Murray explained. 'You get more and more comfortable the more you learn plays. I mean, me and Ryan are new to the offense so we haven't run these plays in four or five years. I think it's just a process and every day you've got to continue to go uphill and not measure off at an angle. I think we've done a good job. (Running backs coach) Duce (Staley) is doing a good job at watching all of our runs and knowing what we've got to bet better at and really reading the blocking scheme.'"

Press Pass: Chip Kelly

Other Views

On Concussions, Onus Is On Athletes To Speak Up - Mike Sielski, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Better yet, go back to a phone call to former Flyers captain Keith Primeau, one of many interviews he has done since September 2006, when he retired because of post-concussion symptoms. Primeau has been susceptible to fatigue, light sensitivity, and headaches since his career ended. He has agreed to donate his brain posthumously to Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, so doctors can study it. He played through concussions just like Jenkins played through this one, and he kept his mouth shut for the same reasons that Jenkins said nothing to an Eagles coach or trainer Sunday night.

'That's the biggest dilemma,' Primeau once said. 'A trainer goes to a player and says, 'How do you feel?' If you're competitive by nature, you don't give the honest truth. Try to tell a competitive, professional athlete - whether it's hockey or baseball or football or whatever - to tell the honest truth. You're probably not going to get it. And that's what players have to come to understand: There is a consequence to that decision.'

Malcolm Jenkins understood, in the moment, the consequence of his decision. He went back on the field anyway. He said Thursday that he feels fine now, that he was stupid, that he was lucky. He ought to keep saying that, tomorrow and the next day and the next day. One of the smartest men in the Eagles' locker room didn't listen to himself, but maybe another athlete will."

Sam Bradford's And Eagles' Confidence In Jordan Matthews Never Wavered, Despite Drops - Matt Lombardo, NJ Advance Media

"Despite the drops that nearly defined his season, Jordan Matthews is on pace to break the Eagles' single-season receptions record and never lost the trust of his quarterback Sam Bradford, head coach Chip Kelly or the rest of his teammates.

'I think Sam has never not had confidence in Jordan,' Kelly said prior to Wednesday's practice at the NovaCare Complex. 'That's why he continues to throw the ball to him. Nor do we [never not have confidence in him]; that's why we continue to play him.

'I think Jordan's a heck of a player. He has worked very hard at addressing a couple of drops there. I thought he played a really good game against Dallas, and hopefully he can build upon that.'

Earlier this season Matthews said that he was embarrassed by the drops, but as the Eagles begin the second half of the season, how he worked through them seems to have made a lasting impact on Bradford."

Brandon Graham Adding To His Game - Tim McManus, Birds 24/7

"'We talk it out a lot more because what I used to do, especially as a young guy, it was more so playing the game but not really talking out, like man what's my next move?' added Graham. 'What I love, what our coach (Bill McGovern) does a great job of, he keeps reminding me, 'What are you thinking for the next pass rush move for the next sack or the next drive when you get your next opportunity?''

After a slow start to the season statistically, Graham has posted four sacks in his last five games, and looks to be adding to his arsenal.

'You can't be predictable,' he said, 'and I know I've been bull-rushing everybody all year, so now it's time to really start trying to develop and do something different.'"

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