On Saturday, the Green Bay Packers host their first home game of the preseason. Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation was kind enough to answer some questions about the Philadelphia Eagles and provide insight into their strengths and weaknesses.
APC: Sam Bradford survived his Eagles debut last week. How much of him will we get on Saturday?
"Survive" is a great way to phrase it after a few of those hits he took. I can't imagine the Eagles want to see him getting killed like that again against the Packers, but I think he'll get some decent run. Under Chip Kelly the past two preseasons, Eagles starting quarterbacks have played about 45-48 snaps in the third exhibition game. I'm not sure if Bradford will play that much. I do imagine he'll play more than the one series he played against Baltimore. My guess is he'll get at least three drives.
Chip Kelly said something about the weather impacting Bradford's playing time, since it might rain, but the media wasn't sure if he was joking or not.
APC: The Eagles remodeled their backfield this offseason, trading away All-Pro LeSean McCoy and acquiring 2014 rushing leader DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to fill the void. How has the backfield looked so far, and do we know yet how Chip Kelly plans to deploy his new toys?
DeMarco Murray was kind of limited in training camp but looked fine against the Ravens last week. Ryan Mathews has had a great offseason. Darren Sproles can still run the ball well but the team is seemingly looking to get him more involved in the passing game by having him line up in the slot. The Eagles obviously have no shortage of talent at this position.
As far as usage goes, I project the Eagles to run the ball about 32 times a game on average. Based off that number, I see 19 carries for Murray, 11 for Mathews, and two for Sproles. The team signed Murray to a big deal so he's obviously the focal point. Mathews should get a decent amount of work in, though, and Sproles can be a change of pace guy. It's a formidable group.
APC: What concerns you the most about the Eagles heading into the season? The least?
I hate to be obvious, but the most concerning thing about the Eagles has to be Bradford's health. Based on what I've seen out of him in training camp, I think he can have a really big year if he stays healthy. Chip Kelly got the best out of the likes of limited talents such as Michael Vick, Nick Foles, and Mark Sanchez. Bradford is a clear upgrade over those quarterbacks when it comes to pure talent. The team needs Bradford to contend for a championship.
The least concerning thing about the Eagles is their front seven. It's stacked. Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, and Cedric Thornton combine to form one of the NFL's most underrated defensive lines. Brandon Graham is a good pass rusher and Connor Barwin is a versatile OLB. Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks are both athletic and very talented playmakers at inside linebacker. Vinny Curry had nine sacks off the bench last year for Philadelphia and he'll be subbing in at both defensive and and outside linebacker. This is a real strong unit.
APC: What happened to Cody Parkey?
I think the 23-year-old is ultimately going to be OK, but you're right, he has been something of a concern for the Eagles this summer. Kicker is just a fickle position. Some guys get hot and cold. The team doesn't have much of a choice but to ride with him since now there's no one else really out there.
APC: How many two-point conversions does Chip Kelly attempt on Saturday, and how did you arrive at your answer? Make sure to show your work, the preseason is important business.
I'm going to say ... none. Come on, you know Chip can't spoil his Tim Tebow Two Point Conversion Secret Weapon Package when the games don't count.
We'd like to thank Brandon for answering our questions. Be sure to check out our Q&A session over at Bleeding Green Nation as well as their fantastic coverage of all things Eagles. As always, keep your Internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Saturday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Eagles vs. Packers.