October 26, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Sam Bradford isn't getting much help from his receivers.

The Philadelphia Eagles are dropping passes at an alarming rate seven weeks into the season. They had about 10 drops in a 27-16 loss at Carolina on Sunday night, including some perfect throws and some slightly off-target ones.

''I thought Sam threw it well and threw it with authority, but the drops hurt big time,'' coach Chip Kelly said. ''We've got to get an answer to that. I thought he put the ball on people. We just got to catch it and help him out.''

Jordan Matthews let a pass go through his hands into a defender's arms for an interception. Josh Huff couldn't hang onto what would've been a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone and the Eagles settled for a field goal. Darren Sproles and Zach Ertz dropped balls on third downs that would've extended drives. Then Miles Austin didn't grab a ball on fourth down that sealed the loss.

''We've got to do a better job catching the ball for Sam,'' Ertz said. ''He's doing all he can out there. The protection isn't perfect. The throws aren't perfect, but we've got to do our job when the ball is in the air and as a receiving corps, we're not doing that. We're not helping our quarterback now.''

Matthews and other receivers have spent countless hours after practice catching balls off a passing machine. The second-year pro had an excellent rookie season, but leads the team in drops this season.

''I can't pinpoint one thing,'' Matthews said. ''There is no rhyme or reason to it. It's new to me. I've never had this situation. I didn't have a lot of drops last year. I didn't have a lot in college. It's just something I have to work through. Our team needs me to make plays, so it hurts me to come off the field knowing that I've left something on the field. I have no other solution other than to keep working at it.''

The Eagles had Pro Bowl receivers in each of Kelly's first two seasons and didn't bring them back. DeSean Jackson had his most productive season in 2013 and was released. Jeremy Maclin had a career year in 2014 and was allowed to walk away in free agency.

Kelly drafted Matthews in the second round in 2014 and Nelson Agholor in the first round this year. Agholor didn't play against the Panthers because of an injury, but only has eight catches so far.

''I don't think it's talent,'' Kelly said. ''I just think it's sometimes a concentration issue with some of those guys. I think sometimes they may actually be thinking too much instead of just relaxing and going to play. Some of them need to just take a big, deep breath and do what we know they can do. And they have made some big-time catches in games for us and can continue to do that for us. But, I think sometimes they are overthinking a little bit.''


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