Postgame Review: Eagles regulars, and others, deliver another strong outing

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Repetition and consistency. That is a way to silence the doubters and be a competitive team that is forced to be reckoned with.

Again, it is only the preseason. But two weeks in, the Eagles appear to have all the makings of a dominant offense and a much-improved defense that will make them a competitive team.

Saturday's 40-17 win over the Ravens followed a 36-10 victory over the Colts, a showcase of talent in the two games in front of the home fans at Lincoln Financial Field.

Here again are a few observations from the second preseason game.

All eyes were obviously fixed on Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray in their preseason debuts. Both performed about as well as you could have hoped.

Murray was backed by a strong performance from the offensive line, getting holes on several rushes including his two-yard touchdown run.

"It obviously felt good to be out there with my teammates," Murray said. "I thought we had two good drives and obviously we need to watch film and learn from the things that we didn’t do so well. And continue to do the things that we did well and continue to grow from those things. I thought it was a good first game."

Bradford was 3-for-5 passing for 35 yards. He did throw a few passes high and long to receivers, however, for a first game, the most important thing for Bradford was durability. He managed to get hit and get back up.

"There were a lot of emotions. I think most of all I was just excited," Bradford said. "It was a great feeling. Hearing the crowd, getting back out there, playing football again. It’s been a long time and there has been a lot of work that has gone into it, and to get out there tonight and actually get to play again, it was just a lot of fun."

"I thought he looked good for the first time back out there," head coach Chip Kelly said. "I think we'll get back in the film room with him and find out what his thought process was and where he was. But I think he's happy, just got his chance to get back on the field and play football again."

That fear will always be there with Bradford. So much of the Eagles season will ride on his health, and for fans who watch from home, every hit will spark a little bit of fear until Bradford returns to his feet. That said, he passed the first test and seems optimistic that the injury is behind him and not on his mind.

So forget the few miscues in a preseason game. Bradford will get more in-game reps in the final two games in preparation for the regular season and that will come with time.

Seeing Ryan Mathews strike for a touchdown in the same quarter as Murray could certainly be a sign of things to come. The Eagles has a wealth of talent at running back – we'll get to that later – but Murray and Mathews are going to be the focal points. 

"I thought they hit it," Kelly said. "You watched those guys, they hit it and came out the other side a couple times. Ryan's touchdown. [Jason Peters] and [Brent] Celek did a great job on the back side, but that ball got to the secondary; he didn't get touched. And DeMarco showed a little pop today, when you watched him hit it and come out the other side. I was happy with all three of those guys."

"Obviously we have a good group of running backs," Murray said. "Mathews and [Darren] Sproles, those guys are very phenomenal, great guys who work extremely hard. So it’s going to be hard for teams to really focus on one running back and I think it is going to be good that we are all going to be fresh and going in and out of the game."

Speaking of running backs, Kenjon Barner continued to impress as a running back and return man. His second punt return touchdown of the preseason continues to make a case for him as a special teams player. Given his overall performance, it could be hard to overlook.

"He's making a huge case," Kelly said. You go back‑to‑back weeks with a punt return for a touchdown. I think he made some good plays in the run game. I know him and I've known him for a long time. He's a productive player."

Defensively, the Eagles continued to remain solid up front, but it is the secondary that is starting to show signs of improvement. Most notably, the first-team defense managed two interceptions off Joe Flacco while having not allowed a pass play of more than 20 yards. All this without Mychal Kendricks, Kiko Alonso and DeMeco Ryans. Kelly has an interesting theory to the reason why the secondary looks so improved.

"I think they are lactose intolerant in terms of they do not bite the cheese in front of them," Kelly said. "When they have a deep zone, they play the deep zone. A lot of mistakes we made in some of those deep balls last year were we were just biting each either a play action fake or we are biting an underneath route when that's not our responsibility. I think our guys are playing their responsibility. So right now we are good lactose intolerant secondary.

"When you look at what they did, I think the first two were interceptions and then after that, I think we had five stops. So I think they are starting to come together. Then when you can get Kiko [Alonso], DeMeco [Ryans] and Mychal [Kendricks] back in with them, I'm kind of hopeful that we're going to be better than we have been there."

The Eagles next game will come in Green Bay against the Packers. At the moment, Kelly isn't quite sure who is playing. Again, he has an interesting reason why.

Right now, I don't know, no.," Kelly said when asked if Bradford would play in Green Bay. "He could get sick and have Legionnaire's disease and not play next Saturday. He could play. I don't know."

"If this was a game and this counted and this was the regular season, all three of those guys would have played," Kelly said of linebackers Kendricks, Alonso and Ryans. "I don't know if they will play, again, the Legionnaire's problem, next Saturday, but we are hopeful that they don't contract anything and they are able to play against the Packers."

The Eagles meeting with the Packers on Saturday begins at 8 p.m.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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