By Harry Allison

Okay, it’s only three preseason games, but the Eagles look like the cream of the NFC East.

Chip Kelly waved goodbye to LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles, Evan Mathis, Trent Cole, most of the secondary. Former general manager Howie Boy Roseman got a “promotion,” but less influence over personnel as Kelly dramatically re-made the roster. Kelly attacks personnel at the same pace his offense attacks the play clock. It’s fun, but exhausting.

The Eagles got aggressive at logical positions like quarterback (Sam Bradford) and cornerback (Byron Maxwell), and zigged while the rest of the league zagged by spending big bucks at running back.

DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews (above) now form the best 1-2 punch in the league. You know it’s an insane offseason when acquiring the 2013 Defensive rookie of the year (Kiko Alonso) was roughly the seventh-most interesting decision Kelly made.

The Eagles are putting their sports science secret formulas to the test. So many of the Birds’ pickups are coming off serious injury or at extra risk of injury: Bradford, Murray, Mathews, Alonso and safety Walter Thurmond. Kelly also spent big money to retain DeMeco Ryans, coming off an Achilles tear. An avalanche of injuries is a worst-case scenario and another injury to Bradford would put the Eagles right back into the Sanchez Zone: Good enough to win games, but not as a real Super Bowl contender.

The relative hysteria about Bradford’s recovery from minicamp season looks overwrought now. There’s no way to know if Bradford can survive a season, but he’s proven he’s ready to play physically with a strong preseason. Bradford has taken some big hits, shown strong accuracy and looked comfortable in two preseason games. He’s the most talented pro quarterback Kelly has worked with, and expectations have risen quickly.

With Jordan Matthews establishing himself as the team’s No. 1 receiver, the biggest surprise from Eagles camp has been the lack of drama. The roles in the secondary were established quickly, with Thurmond and cornerback Nolan Carroll as starters. This team knows what it wants to be.

The Eagles own the NFC East again, proving to be among the NFL’s elite for the first time under Kelly.


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