PHILADELPHIA — Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford returned to practice Monday after completing concussion protocol and being cleared to play by an independent neurologist.
But he was a limited participant, throwing in individual drills but not participating in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 work. Because this is a short week and the Eagles are playing on the road at Detroit on Thanksgiving, Bradford probably won’t start against the Lions. Mark Sanchez, who started for Bradford on Sunday, is expected to start against the Lions, with Bradford returning the following week against the New England Patriots.
When coach Chip Kelly addressed the media before practice Monday morning, he wouldn’t even acknowledge that Bradford had been cleared to play.
“We’ll see what happens when he goes out on the field,” a surly Kelly said. “I’m done with (injury) updates. You guys will see him on the field. You guys can get it then. I gave you an update last week and I was wrong. So I don’t want to be wrong again.”
Last Thursday, Kelly said his five-time Pro Bowl left tackle, Jason Peters, who had missed the previous two games with a back injury and who had not practiced the previous day, wouldn’t be practicing. Fifteen minutes later, there was Peters, ankles taped, participating in practice.
Apparently, the team’s trainer had told Kelly that Peters wasn’t going to practice, only to have Peters change his mind and practice.
Kelly admitted “we were out-coached” in Sunday’s 45-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that dropped the Eagles to 4-6. Sanchez completed 26 of 41 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns, but he threw three interceptions, including one that was returned by linebacker Lavonte David 20 yards for the Bucs’ final touchdown.
“I feel confident in the guys we have right now,” Kelly said. “I think we have a really good football team. I’m very confident in our football players.”
INJURY NOTES: Left tackle Jason Peters was limited in practice Monday. Peters, who missed two games with a back injury, played Sunday against Tampa Bay, but removed himself from the game late in the third quarter. … Tight end Zach Ertz suffered a concussion Sunday when he was flipped over and landed on his neck and head. He didn’t practice Monday and isn’t expected to play Thursday. … Running back Ryan Mathews didn’t practice Monday. He sat out Sunday’s loss and still hasn’t cleared concussion protocol. His status for Thursday’s game is very uncertain. … Linebacker Kiko Alonso was listed on the injury report with an ankle injury, but was a full practice participant Monday. He still doesn’t appear to have completely recovered from the knee injury that forced him to miss six games. The Eagles have been monitoring his snaps.
REPORT CARD VS. BUCS
–RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus. Even without Ryan Mathews, the Eagles did a decent job of running the ball against a defense that came into the game ranked third in rushing average (3.6 yards allowed per carry). They finished with 136 yards, including 80 in the first half, and averaged 4.9 yards per carry, which was their third highest average of the season. DeMarco Murray had 64 yards on 13 carries.
–PASSING OFFENSE: D. Mark Sanchez looked decent at times, but he also had three interceptions and more off-target throws than a starting quarterback in this league ever should have. And getting into a disagreement with Darren Sproles after his third interception was not the smartest thing he has ever done.
–RUN DEFENSE: F. The Bucs rushed for 283 yards against the Eagles, which was far and away the most of the Chip Kelly era. Doug Martin, who had just 165 yards in the Bucs’ previous three games, had 235 of those 283 yards, including 84- and 58-yard runs. The Eagles gave up four runs of 17 yards or more. Their tackling and gap discipline was awful.
–PASS DEFENSE: F. Jameis Winston became only the third rookie in NFL history to throw five touchdown passes in a game. Winston and his receivers carved up the Eagles, particularly on third down. He entered the game with the third worst third-down passer rating in the league and completed 9 of 12 passes for 101 yards and 3 touchdowns on third down. Eight of those nine completions went for first downs. Coordinator Bill Davis’ decision to replace safety Malcolm Jenkins in the slot with E.J. Biggers backfired.
–SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus. The coverage united did a nice job and Caleb Sturgis made his only field-goal attempt – a 43-yarder. But with the exception of a 39-yard kickoff return by Josh Huff, the Eagles’ return game wasn’t very productive. Sproles had seven yards on two punt returns.
–COACHING: D. Not one of Davis’ better games. He opted not to blitz Winston and Winston picked the Eagles apart. And his decision to use cornerback E.J. Biggers in the slot in nickel rather than drop Jenkins down also backfired as Bucs slot receivers Adam Humphries and Russell Shepard had big games.