The second of Sam Bradford's three interceptions last Monday against the Giants - the eighth of his nine on the season - took place on a deep pass intended for Riley Cooper, one that didn't connect first and foremost because Cooper didn't happen to be anywhere near it.
Football at the NFL level can be as cerebral as you want to make it, or it can be as basic as pushing the other guy where he doesn't want to go. Take away the disguised coverages and the misdirections and the unusual formations and the multiple looks and it comes down to being better at smacking into one another.
When Chip Kelly wisely switched course from his I-coached-great-they-played-bad theme last week, everyone was a little shocked. He stopped talking about execution and spread around the blame for the team's poor start to include himself and the coaching staff, and that represented a true departure.
There is a reason that most NFL home teams choose the sideline with its back to the press box and coaching boxes. There is a reason coaches hold the play chart in front of their faces when calling plays or coverages. There is a reason locker rooms are guarded and practice facilities are inspected for hidden cameras and hotel trash cans are emptied lest a morsel of information fall into the wrong hands.
When the Eagles released James Casey, who served as a third tight end in addition to special-teams duties in 2014, Trey Burton knew there was a chance for him to seize that role - if he could, and if it still existed. Neither of those things was guaranteed.
Bob Ford is an award-winning sports columnist for the Inquirer. He is a four-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year, as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. His work has been cited numerous times by Associated Press Sports Editors judges, and he won an Eclipse Award for outstanding coverage of horse racing. Prior to becoming a columnist at the Inquirer, Ford was the 76ers beat writer for six seasons and then a general assignment feature writer with a specialty in Olympic sports. In 1995, he was designated a fellow of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. Ford has written sports in the Philadelphia area since 1981, when he served as the Phillies beat writer and later as a general sports columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times.