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The Read-Option: Tied Atop The NFC East


Good afternoon, Eagles fans! After last night's game between Dallas and Washington resulted in a win for the Cowboys, the Eagles are now tied for first place in the NFC East. The team returns to practice today as it prepares for Buffalo this weekend. For now, take a look at the top content for December 8th in today's edition of the Read-Option ...

Moving On To A Buffalo-Sized Challenge - Dave Spadaro

"The Buffalo Bills come to town on Sunday as a team on the rise, a team that plays with great confidence and one that is dangerous in every phase. It's isn't just about the return of running back LeSean McCoy or the personality of head coach Rex Ryan. Buffalo is a playoff-caliber team, as the Eagles' coaching staff well knows by now.

So the celebration from beating New England is long over. The Eagles are on to the Bills and how to keep McCoy, who is having a superb stretch, under wraps and how to contain wide receiver Sammy Watkins and what to do with quarterback Tyrod Taylor's skills as a passer and a runner.

Tough team. Tough game. Big moment for the Eagles, who failed to take the win in Dallas and run with it. Now they've got three straight games at Lincoln Financial Field before the regular season closer at New York against the Giants.

Some thoughts on this team ...

The value of Jason Peters at left tackle cannot be understated. He struggled early in Sunday's game at New England and went down to the ground more than once. There were questions, honestly, whether he would finish the game at one point. That's how much he hobbled out on the field, struggling to get lined up. But Peters hung in there and improved as the game progressed. His last-instant block gave quarterback Sam Bradford just enough room to climb the pocket and complete a third-and-11 throw to wide receiver Riley Cooper late in the fourth quarter. When Peters is on his game, the offensive line falls into place. Peters has a challenge on Sunday working against the speed of Bills edge rusher Jerry Hughes.

Let's talk about Bradford, who had a most-impressive 120-yard passing performance. He kept his cool in the face of a defense that had registered 35 sacks entering the game and he came up with some very nice throws in the red zone -- scoring strikes to tight end Zach Ertz and wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Bradford is a far better quarterback than he was in September. He certainly is playing with a lot more confidence. His ball security -- he hasn't thrown an interception since the first quarter of the Carolina game -- is much improved. There is more zip on his throws. He is shrugging off defenders. He is moving in and out of the pocket better. Good progress for Bradford, who is 5-2 in the last seven games he has started and finished."

Tweet Of The Day

The Eagles are tied for first in the NFC East ...

Community Monday: Sports Authority Shopping Spree

On Community Monday, Trey Burton and JaCorey Shepherd teamed up with Sports Authority to help the Hamilton Revolution pick out new football equipment ...

Four Takeaways From Coach Kelly - Alex Smith

"The Eagles surprised a number of fans on Sunday by featuring Darren Sproles as the team's number one running back. Kenjon Barner also saw his most extensive paying time as an Eagle, while DeMarco Murray received just eight carries.

According to Kelly, the way the Eagles game plan for each opponent dictates how the running backs will be used.

'I think everything is on a weekly basis depending on who we're matched up on and who's healthy has a lot to do with it,' Kelly said. 'Where does Ryan fit in when he's back healthy? It's a good problem to have when you have some backs and you used all three and all three of them were productive for you. Again, it's always as you figure out the week, who you're playing and who do you have available to you.

'We had a game plan and there were things we were trying to do with their bigger linebackers and with Darren and Kenjon, but (Murray) fits in. It was a strange game offensively, from the aspect of we weren't on the field in the third quarter ... It was a different game from that standpoint; I think we only had 50-some snaps total. Hopefully we get back to where we normally are in the 70s and that let us expanded a little bit, especially in our run game.

'All of our running backs knew our game plan going into that game, so it wasn't a surprise to anybody in terms of what we were doing ... We have to do what's the best thing for the Philadelphia Eagles. We are not trying to win a rushing championship, or a passing championship or a receiving championship or anything in that stretch of the imagination. We're going to do whatever we can do to win football games.'"

Road To Victory: Matt Helm

Other Views

Eagles Tied For First Atop NFC East - Jimmy Kempski, PhillyVoice

"Heading into this past weekend, there was a good chance the Philadelphia Eagles were going to find themselves two games back after their inevitable loss to the New England Patriots, coupled with a win by either the New York Giants or the Washington Redskins.


In a shocking result, on the strength of three return touchdowns (via INT, punt return, and punt block) the Eagles took care of business at Gillette Stadium, and both the Giants and Redskins lost at home to the Jets and Cowboys, respectively.

I won't recap the Giants' and Redskins' games in-depth, but the Giants blew their third 10-point 4th quarter lead this season.

The Redskins have the easiest strength of schedule remaining. However, three of their final four games are on the road, where they are 0-5 this season.

A week ago, the Eagles-Patriots game was originally the national game on FOX this past weekend, but it was moved out of that spot in favor of the Panthers-Saints game. The guess here is that FOX thought that game had the makings of a blowout, and who could blame them, seeing as the Eagles had just gotten trounced by the Buccaneers and Lions.

One win over the Pats later, and the Eagles-Cardinals Week 15 game is being flexed up to Sunday Night Football. That game will now take place on Sunday December 20, at 8:30 p.m."

Sam Bradford Trending Upward - Les Bowen, Daily News

"I'm here to tell you, both those Bradford touchdown passes were good third-down throws under duress, as was the late-game, third-and-11 conversion to Riley Cooper.

If Bradford was standing back there in a clean pocket, checking down after refusing to pull the trigger as receivers frolicked through wide-open spaces downfield, in Game 12, I would be ready to cut bait. That did happen at times earlier this year. It hasn't happened lately. I didn't see a lot of downfield yards at New England that Bradford passed up. As Tom Brady is learning, throwing the ball to mediocre-to-terrible receivers can be quite frustrating, especially if you're constantly having to shift the platform because of pass-rush pressure.

The Eagles tweeted Sunday that Bradford has a 105.6 passer rating over his last three starts, and the team is 5-2 in the last seven games he has started and finished. Bradford, who returned Sunday from missing two games with a concussion and a left AC sprain, now has gone three games in a row without an interception. He took just one sack Sunday, for no yards.

Chip Kelly said Monday he'd wondered 'Where does he pick up?,' Bradford having left the lineup just as he'd started playing well.

'I thought he did a real nice job,' Kelly said after reviewing the film. 'A lot of those throws were contested throws. They have a good pass rush, and they can really push the pocket, and he stood in there and really delivered the football.'"

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