If the Eagles team from the first half of the Falcons game shows up at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday (at 4:25 on FOX), it will be a long, and likely short season for the Birds in 2015.
If the team from the game’s second half — the one that closed a 17-point deficit and saw Sam Bradford run a potent and consistent offense — shows up against the Cowboys (1-0), they could get back in the mix in the NFC East immediately.
It’s clearly a break that the Eagles (0-1) won’t face Dez Bryant, Orlando Scandrick or Greg Hardy. But if they can’t turn that advantage into a victory it won’t matter.
Here are the three most nagging questions dogging the Birds as kickoff approaches in Week 2:
Will DeMarco Murray get more carries?
The Eagles never got the run game going Monday nightand almost came away with a victory last week thanks to short passes to some very talented skill players.
But 16 carries total, and just nine to last year’s leading rusher Murray won’t cut it as the season progresses.
Even still, don’t expect 25+ touches by Murray this week either with Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles also sharing the workload. Chip Kelly intends to continue utlizing all three.
“In the last two years, we had one running back (LeSean McCoy)that was head and shoulders above the other guys, so he carried the ball a little bit more than everybody else,” Kelly said.But we want to be able to get enough guys in there. It’s a long season; it’s a 16‑game season. There are a lot of plays. You play four games in the preseason, and if guys warrant playing time, then they will get playing time.”
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Will the Eagles test Dallas with the deep ball?
Monday against the Falcons, the Eagles completed passes to 10 different receivers — but none of the completions eclipsed 25 yards. And the ones that came close were mostly screen passes and quick passes to running backs. Without a Jeremy Maclin or DeSean Jackson as a deep-ball threat, or a big arm like Michael Vick’s, will Birds’ fans see any long-balls this season?
“I think everybody knows we can do it,” Kelly said.”I mean, Sam [Bradford]’s got as strong an arm as anyone in the league.”
The Eagles got by taking the short passes the Falcons defense was giving them last week, and that’s just fine with them.
“If that’s what they are going to do, I don’t think you prove anything to anybody and say, ‘Even though they are back there, we are just going to throw the ball up.’ I mean, that’s kind of silly to be honest with you,” Kelly said.
Is Cody Parkeyokay?
Everyone knows about Cody Parkey’s missed 44-yarder Monday, the possible late fourth quartergame-winner that went wide right. But he also missed a couple kicks during the preseason, and even skipped a lot of playing time — partially due to injury and partially to give Kip Smith a look.
Should fans be worried?
Kelly has confidence, citing the Pro Bowl performance from Parkey as a rookie last year. He insists it was just a one-time mistake.
“On the one kick in the Falcons game, he just over-strided,” the coach recalled.”His plant leg was out a little bit in front of him.”