A WISE MAN, or maybe it was Gisele Bundchen, once said that quarterbacks get too much credit when things go well and too much blame when things go bad.

That often has been the case here in Philadelphia, where we've had a soft spot for one-hit wonders like Bobby Hoying and Ty Detmer and have verbally abused some of the Eagles' best-ever throwers, including Ron Jaworski, Randall Cunningham and Donovan McNabb.

Three games into this young season, many of you already have seen fit to render a verdict on the Eagles' latest starting quarterback, Sam Bradford.

His poor, 14-for-28, 118-yard performance Sunday in a 24-17 win over the Jets, which came on the heels of his second straight two-interception performance a week earlier in a 20-10 loss to the Cowboys, was enough to convince you he isn't a franchise quarterback, isn't the savior who is going to take the Eagles from good to great.

I'm not going to stand here and tell you that Bradford has played well the last three weeks. He hasn't.

But I am going to tell you that you might want to give him a little more than three weeks before you start making plans to run him out of town.

Jordan Matthews is going to tell you the same thing.

"The biggest thing I hate is that he gets so much of the blame" for the problems with the passing game, the Eagles wide receiver said. "That's unfair and it's not true. We have to go out there and make plays for him. That's what helps get him going. He's putting it on us. We have to go out there and do it."

Matthews has a team-high 22 receptions and 231 receiving yards in the first three games. But the rest of the Eagles' wide receivers have barely been heard from. None of the team's other wideouts has more than four catches. In the last two games, they have combined for five receptions for 51 yards.

And then there have been the drops. The Eagles, who had just 25 drops all last season, already have 11, including five against the Jets.

Three of those drops last week - by running backs Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews and rookie wide receiver Nelson Agholor, came on the Eagles' first two possessions.

The third-and-13 throw to Agholor was low but catchable. It would have given the Eagles a first down.

A second drop by Mathews, early in the second quarter on a second-and-9 pass, negated a big gain. Sproles had a second drop on a wheel route on third-and-8 midway through the third quarter that almost certainly would have been a touchdown if he had caught it.

Jordan Matthews didn't have any drops against the Jets, but he had three in the first two games.

"I know it kind of goes with the job of quarterback," Matthews said of the criticism of Bradford. "But at the same time, when you turn on the film, we see the game differently than everybody else. We turn on the film and we're saying, 'Man, we could've gotten open for him there. We could've created better separation. We could've caught the ball.

"But people look at the numbers and say it's all his fault. We've got to go out there and help him out. And we're going to do that."

After the Eagles averaged just 2.1 yards per carry in season-opening losses to Atlanta and Dallas, it looked like they'd never be able to fix what was wrong with their run game. Then they went out Sunday and rushed for 86 yards on 20 carries in the first half against a very good Jets run defense.

Matthews feels the same thing is going to happen with the passing game.

"It's early," he said. "We still have a lot of games left to play. Nobody's panicking. Nobody's going, 'Oh, no. We can't throw the ball.' We know we're going to be a great passing team. We know we have to go out there and help Sam."

Matthews said Sproles, who has 15 catches in the first three games, came up to him yesterday and assured him the Eagles are thisclose to getting their passing game rolling.

"He said, 'We're on the cusp,' " Matthews said. "Darren's a veteran. He's been around a long time. I'm still trying to feel my way through. But he came to me today and said, 'We're on the cusp.' I have confidence in him. I've got confidence in this team. So I know we're going to get it going."

If the Eagles are going to get it going, they need Agholor to start making an impact. Next to Amari Cooper, who was the fourth pick in the April draft, Agholor was considered the most NFL-ready wideout in the draft.

With the Eagles' playing almost exclusively "11" personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) in the first three games, Agholor is getting plenty of playing time. His 174 snaps are second among the team's wideouts to Matthews' 175.

Bradford has targeted Agholor 12 times in the first three games, but he has just four receptions for 36 yards with his longest catch being 12 yards. He and veteran Miles Austin, who played a season-high 44 snaps Sunday, were targeted eight times by Bradford in the game but had no catches.

"We're close, we're really close," Agholor said yesterday. "I felt a lot of guys got separation. I felt Sam made great decisions.

"This is my first year in the league. All I know is the game of football is a process-driven deal. We're going to go out here every day and work to get better. We'll continue to have the same habits, and soon a nice product is going to be put out there."

Asked whether he expected to be a bigger contributor in the passing game at this point, Agholor said, "I had no expectations besides my effort. I expected to prepare and play hard."

Agholor spent much of Sunday's game being shadowed by Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.

"I felt like I competed for four quarters, and at the end of the game, he said to me, 'Keep working. You're going to be fine.' I was happy about that.' "

Agholor is a rookie who is only going to get better. Bradford still is trying to get back to where he was before his two ACL injuries. That doesn't happen overnight, no matter what that 10-for-10 preseason display against the Packers might have indicated.

I can't tell you what to think. But I can tell you that you might want to wait a little longer than three games before getting out your crayons and drawing your "We Want Sanchez" sign.

"We're only three games in," Matthews said. "The story of the whole passing game is going to be told midseason, 12 games in.

"Then you'll be able to say, 'OK, this is how things are shaping up.' This early, I don't think you can really make an assumption about the overall picture of the passing game."

Blog: eagletarian.com