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Eagles' bye week comes at a good time for the team, and for fans

Happy Friday. There's no Eagles game this weekend, so that's something to look forward to.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Each week Patrick and Dave discuss the week that was. It's Two Guys Internetting Football!

Dave: I'm not saying I'm glad the Eagles don't play this weekend, but I'm also not annoyed they are on their bye either. Usually we get to a bye and you get upset that there's no football. (Remember when there were TWO bye weeks? Ugh.)

That's the state the Eagles are in: we're only midway through the season and we're not really going to miss them. This offense is painful to watch. The players can't get out of their own way and the playcalling is dreadful. What the hell happened to Chip Kelly? He had a ridiculous big play offense when he started. Now it's maddening dink and dunk play calls. This isn't what we signed up for.

Patrick: If you'll indulge me, I want to play armchair fan psychologist for a second. The dinking and dunking has been maddening, as has the seemingly inevitable toss to the running back in the flat for a minimal gain. Our own John Barchard pointed out that they aren't as common as it may feel, but I think the frustration is more representative of what we're seeing from this offense. This offense used to run roughshod on teams. Now it's lucky to score 17 points. There's plenty of blame to go around, and I think it falls on the players as much as the scheme and coaching.

Chip brought in new players, and those players have failed to achieve even the minimum of expectations. The drops have been out of this world, and a few injuries and down years from key players on the line were unexpected hits to the team. The coaches could draw up the best game plan in the world, but if the receivers can't catch the ball, the line can't protect the quarterback and the quarterback can't find the open man? Blaming the coaches only goes so far.

It takes a total team effort to win, and it also takes a total team effort to do whatever this is.

Dave: I agree that the players are equally to blame as the coaching. But since the coach now runs the whole thing, the two are linked. I'm not absolving the players of blame because of that, they have largely been disappointing. But much of it is on Chip Kelly now that he's GM. This is his hand-picked roster, and the offense is terrible.

And even when it's actually doing okay and moving the chains, it's near unwatchable. Kelly has dumbed down his offense to a Pat Shurmur level. That's not hyperbole:
3. Writing about Cleveland's offense leads me to a game I play every week at NFL Films. I sit in my office in Mt Laurel, N.J., put the Browns' attack on my screen and call a friend who was a coach in the league, but is now in between successes. I tell my friend the personnel group, the formation, where the ball is located on the field and what hash mark and describe the motion -- if there is any -- and ask him to tell me the exact play that will be run. He is correct about 95 percent of the time. No lie. The Browns are so integrated into the West Coast system that their predictability is becoming legendary around the league.
Tell me that's not a lot like the Eagles. We all know where the ball is going when Sam Bradford drops back--4 yards deep.

Patrick: So now we're in a chicken-and-egg situation: Is this on Bradford for either not knowing the offense well enough, or not being capable enough to make the right reads? Or is it on the coaching for not recognizing this and making necessary adjustments?

As with most things, I think the answer is "it depends". Bradford had the hype around him because he was supposed to be able to make the right reads, deliver the ball accurately and smartly. And we've even seen him do it! We saw it in the preseason, and we've seen it here and there in the regular season, too.

I also hesitate to beat down Bradford too much. He's been inconsistent, but there is definitely plenty of room for improvement. If the issue is missing a play here or there, it certainly feels like the kind of thing that is still correctable. At a certain point in the season the talent level is what it is, but with this many new players, I wouldn't be shocked to see a different-looking offense against Dallas. Plus, you have to figure that the coaches have done some recharging and self-scouting of their own this week.

Is it too much to expect a dramatic improvement over the second half of the season? Probably. But I'm going to expect a certain level of improvement for sure.

Dave: Patrick. You missed a golden opportunity there to call it a Catch-22... or is it a Catch-0 the way this season has gone?

Yeah Bradford looked good in the preseason, but that was two months ago, and it was the preseason. I'd say Bradford's woes are mostly on him. This is, or at least was, a "QB friendly" offense. Bradford is the fourth QB that Chip Kelly has started, is considered the smartest and most accurate of the four, and he's nothing close to advertised. He's made poor throws, poor decisions, and when he walks off the field after another damn three and out or interception, looks like hasn't a clue what just happened. *takes deep breath, goes to his happy place so as to not go on explicative laden tirade* Watching Bradford play is a miserable experience.

The coaches aren't faultless, but I can't blame them for Bradford failing to execute plays that supposedly inferior QBs were making. And considering that the Eagles run the fewest individual plays, there's really no excuse for not knowing the offense well enough or making the right reads, Chip Kelly has no issue running the same play again and again. Even worse, they've dumbed down the offense for him because of his limitations. There's next to no constraint plays and they're throwing short passes on third and long.

Maybe they've dumbed it down too much? Bradford has been horrific in the 1st half, when game planning is at it's most visible, but in the second half, where in-game adjustments are most visible, he's been much better. It's possible that this is just the result of a small sample, but it seems more likely that the coaching staff is doing a poor job Monday-Saturday. And it's not just the passing game, they run the ball better in the 2nd half, 4.0 ypc to 4.3 ypc.

The bye week is for heavy self-scouting, and the Eagles have their work cut out for them.