Eagles Droppings 5/6: Bradley's Stock Up, Kolb Does Interview
By Lance Epstein
Bradley Stock is Up:
Every week, ESPN NFC East beat writer Matt Mosley discusses the risers and fallers of the NFC East. This week a riser that should bring a smile the face of Eagles fans is none other than middle linebacker Stewart Bradley.
Last season, the Eagles lost their up-and-coming star [on his way to being a Pro Bowl player] linebacker before the season started. Mosley believes the loss of Bradley played a huge part in the two lopsided losses to Dallas in week 17 and the Wild Card round.
"I'm not sure we truly appreciated Bradley's immense talent until the Eagles were embarrassed in back-to-back games at Cowboys Stadium last season," Mosley wrote. "He's the rare player who can take on enormous blockers and also match speedy tight ends and running backs in space. Bradley was on his way to becoming a perennial Pro Bowl player before his knee injury in last year's training camp. But by all accounts, he's not suffering any lingering affects from ACL surgery."
It is obvious to everyone that Bradley athleticism to cover backs and tight ends was sorely missed as defensive coordinator Sean McDermott used six different linebackers to play middle linebacker position in 2009. However, the team also ignored the intangibles that he brought to the field on game day. Mosley said as soon as the team lost Bradley, it was an uphill battle for the Eagles to find a adequate replacement.
"The late Jim Johnson loved Bradley because he was able to quickly diagnose what opposing teams were trying to accomplish. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott tried his best to patch together a defense last season, but without Bradley, the Eagles were in trouble from the start," wrote Mosley on talking about the loss of Bradley in training camp. "There's a swagger that the former Nebraska player brings to the field. Everyone talks about the Eagles' youth movement, but Bradley's sort of an old soul."
One of the key reasons that Mosley is high on Bradley and has him on the rise is due to the fact he will improve the players around him and he instantly upgrades a defense that desperately needs it.
"His return should provide a huge boost and he'll make young players such as Moise Fokou feel a lot more comfortable," he wrote. "I know that safety Quintin Mikell felt all alone at times last season. With Bradley on the field, the Eagles' defense gets an automatic upgrade."
Hopefully, Mosley is right and Bradley can manage to return to his pre-injury form for the Eagles. Fans should remember that his presence in the middle was a major reason why the Eagles defense was ranked as a top three defense in the NFL in 2008. As he got more snaps as the season went on, he continued to improve with every passing week. Once he understood how to play the game at the NFL level, the defense took off to new heights.
Additionally, he is the only linebacker the Eagles have in their starting lineup that has significant playing time in the club’s defensive scheme.
Besides praise that Mosley gives Bradley, fans have another reason to be excited as Mosley has the Dallas Cowboys offensive line being on the decline. His first rationale is because of Doug Free will be the Cowboys starting left tackle. While he did a decent job at right tackle when Marc Colombo went down, left tackle is another animal. He will face team’s best pass rusher and he might not be ready for that challenge. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations that is not good news.
If that was not bad enough, he also interviewed Cowboys offensive line coach who could not answer what lineman would be the chief backup if someone goes down to injury. The Eagles and Giants significantly upgraded their defensive lines during this offseason, which might have been the motive in doing so.
Kolb Goes On Dan Patrick Show:
On Thursday, quarterback Kevin Kolb joined the Dan Patrick radio show to talk about becoming the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. One of the areas he touched on was Andy Reid calling him and telling him the news that Donovan McNabb had been traded.
Another topic Kolb went into was his relationship with backup Michael Vick.
"It's very good. Mike and I have always had a good relationship. We have a lot in common. He's kind of a country guy as well," Kolb said.
Here is a link to more of the interview with Kolb for those of you that want to hear it in full: