We know it's only preseason, but WOW!

YOU CAN TAKE the path of least potential heartbreak and note that this has only been the preseason.

You can protect yourself against potential disappointment and qualify everything the Eagles have done by saying their opponents are limiting their playbooks to base looks and schemes.

You can have the stereotypical "Negadelphia" reaction and think things will be different for the Birds once the season starts and the stakes are raised.

You could take any of those stances and I would be hard-pressed to say that you are wrong. Everything could change once the Eagles kick off their real 2015 season at the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night, Sept. 14.

Of course, you also could evaluate what you have seen from the Eagles thus far and be optimistic that the Birds just might make something special out of the upcoming campaign.

The NFL is a week-by-week evaluation, and something can change based on the next performance. But all we have to judge right now is what the Eagles have done up to this point.

Poll

Is it too early to start thinking Super Bowl for the Eagles?

With that as the criteria, how can you not like the Eagles' chances going into 2015?

Saturday's 39-26 manhandling of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field came in the third preseason game - the one in which most teams give their starters their most significant amount of playing time.

In the first half, the Eagles rolled up 39 points, scored five times in the red zone, gained 325 yards and had 21 first downs.

Certainly, the fact that Packers All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not play cannot be ignored. But the staggering first-half offensive numbers the Eagles rolled up came against defensive players whom Green Bay will rely on to help produce a Super Bowl-contending season.

Granted, it was a preseason game, but it is now easy to see why Eagles coach Chip Kelly thought the upside of quarterback Sam Bradford was worth the gamble of his twice-surgically repaired left ACL.

In three series against the Packers, Bradford connected on 10 of 10 passes for 121 yards and led the Birds into the end zone three times.

Bradford, like most of the Eagles starters, is done for the preseason. He will go into Atlanta with the confidence that the Eagles scored touchdowns on each of his four preseason drives.

He completed 13 of the 15 preseason passes he threw. Whatever the planned steps of progression for Bradford were, he is right on track.

"I think it would be a little unrealistic to think you're going to have that type of game every time out," Bradford said Saturday. "It was good to see the work we put in during the week pay off tonight.

"We got into a rhythm, and hopefully it's something we will be able to continue to do . . . I'm sure I missed a few things, but we just have to continue to work on our timing and rhythm in the passing game. By no means is it perfect. We have two weeks until we play Atlanta and we have work to do.

"I am sure there are still some things we are going to put in before we play in that season opener."

The defense has not been without some shaky moments, but it still appears to be much improved.

In my opinion, the most vital defensive statistic is how many points you allow. Back in the heyday of the Jim Johnson-era defense for the Eagles, the mantra was bend but do not break.

Obviously, it is hard to be completely accurate during the preseason because of the limited amount of time starters play, but a rough estimate is that the Eagles have given up 17 points in four quarters against starting offenses.

Last season, the Eagles gave up an average of 25 points a game.

It is easy to dismiss what happens in preseason games, and I will be the first to admit that their final scores do not mean much about how the regular season will go.

Still, at this stage, the preseason is all we have to judge things by and it is good to see how the players perform at game speed against players who are trying to create the opposite result.

The third preseason game is traditionally the best indicator for how players might perform once things count in two weeks.

Nobody is suggesting that you should stake out a position on Broad Street for a parade in February. But if you are evaluating the Eagles on a systematic basis, how can you not feel positive about the way things stand right now?


Email: smallwj@phillynews.com

Columns: ph.ly/Smallwood

Blog: ph.ly/DNL