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Offense’s Talent Level Best-Ever For Eagles?

This feature is a weekly piece on titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.

It's early and the preseason games will soon be a distant memory, but we see what we see and what's we've seen from the Eagles in three preseason games has been breathtaking offensively. They lead the NFL in average points per game (38.3), total yards per game (429.7) and rushing yards (150.7) and they are second in average passing yards per game (279).

In other words, wow, what an impressive preseason.

The point here, though, is not to celebrate preseason statistics. It's to dig deeper into what this offense can become in 2015 with what I think is the most talented roster of players the Eagles have had since at least 1987, when I began covering the team for the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pa.

There have been some good offenses since that year, of course. The 1990 Eagles rode the brilliance of Randall Cunningham (30 touchdown passes, 942 rushing yards and 5 rushing TDs scored) to win 10 games and reach the playoffs. That offense relied on Cunningham to do just about everything, and he did just about everything, spreading the football around to talents like Keith Byars (81 receptions), Keith Jackson (6 touchdown catches) and rookie wide receivers Fred Barnett and Calvin Williams, who combined for 17 receiving touchdowns.

But the Eagles were doing it with a bit of smoke and mirrors, too. Cunningham's improvisational skills were remarkable, but he played behind a so-so offensive line - Ron Heller, Mike Schad, David Alexander, Ron Solt and Reggie Singletary from left to right - and the running game, led by Heath Sherman when it wasn't Cunningham, wasn't special at all. The Eagles scored just 6 points in a playoff loss to Washington to end the season.

The Andy Reid-coached teams of the early 2000s scored bunch of points, but there were talent deficiencies. The offensive line was always strong, the tight end spots were good and the backfield was excellent. But until Terrell Owens came along in 2004 the wide receiver positions were not particularly talented - oh, how I remember those heated back-and-forths with Eagles fans in those years - and yet the Eagles still scored big points, still won division titles and reached NFC Championship Games.

I'm talking pure talent here. I don't know how this Eagles offense will fare in the regular season, but things sure look promising. And in terms of talent the offense is unmatched as far as I can remember. Top to bottom, the offense is loaded.

Quarterback Sam Bradford has terrific pure passing skills, as we've seen. He was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2010 for a reason. Bradford has the innate quarterback clock in his head, makes good decisions, is extremely accurate and throws a very catchable football. A healthy Bradford equals huge performance in this scheme.

The running back situation is as good as any team could want. DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles have all played in Pro Bowls. Murray and Mathews are the big backs who run downhill. Sproles is the matchup nightmare with speed to the edge. All three are good pass catchers. There is no running back committee more talented.

At wide receiver, the Eagles don't have a Pro Bowl player, necessarily. But the talent there is undeniable, preseason games or not. Jordan Matthews had a superb rookie season and is clearly better now. Rookie Nelson Agholor can play. Josh Huff still has a bunch to prove but he's an explosive talent. Miles Austin and Riley Cooper are big bodied-veterans playing their roles in the rotation. The plan is to rotate the group and keep everybody's legs fresh and exhaust defenses. What separates this group from past Eagles wide receiver rooms is the depth here. Having Austin or Cooper as a third, fourth or fifth option is so much better than having, say, Greg Lewis or Freddie Mitchell. No slight at them, because both made contributions to those teams of the early 2000s, but neither offered the range or size or versatility the bottom of this group has.

Tight end is a position of strength, too. Zach Ertz is in line for a breakout season after catching 55 passes a year ago. Brent Celek is a solid veteran who still has game. Trey Burton is a developing player who has played tight end exclusively for only a year and change after he was a jack-of-all-trades at the University of Florida.

Those offensive lines of the early 2000s were really good, but so is this line. Jason Peters is a Hall of Fame left tackle. Center Jason Kelce is a Pro Bowl center. Right tackle Lane Johnson is ready to play at that level, too. The guards here aren't great, but both Allen Barbre and Andrew Gardner fit well into what Chip Kelly wants up front.

I'm talking talent here, that's all. The offensive scheme is tested and true and it works very well. The Eagles scored plenty of points in 2013 and 2014, before Chip Kelly revised the offensive roster. Combining tempo with his genius touch at play-calling and exploiting defensive weaknesses has allowed Kelly to stay far ahead of the defensive curve in the NFL.

Now he's got talents. Scads of talent. The right kind of talent for his scheme. The best talent I've ever seen, top to bottom, for an Eagles offense. What that means for the regular season, well, we're going to find out. The appetizer has been off-the-charts great. The main course has me salivating with anticipation.

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