Sam Bradford ended his hiatus from the Philadelphia Eagles Monday. Even after working with Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews this off-season, Bradford wanted no part of Philadelphia because of how the front office handled the quarterback position. Obviously Bradford initially signed the contract, but his understanding was he’d have a legitimate chance to be the long-term answer in Philadelphia. Bradford did the smart thing by ending his holdout before mandatory mini camp, but he really didn’t have a choice. After the Eagles couldn’t move him, Bradford would only hurt his wallet and his understanding of yet another new offense.
Bradford definitely wanted out of Philadelphia, but I don’t think this situation is that awkward. Time helps. People won’t forget that Bradford was a holdout in April and early May if he throws a pick in the first snap of the preseason, but the fact that August’s months away helps Bradford. Plus, Bradford now has plenty of time to familiarize himself with the new system, so it won’t matter Bradford was absent from Philly’s facility for 15 days if he performs anywhere near the top half of NFL quarterbacks. The Eagles won’t contend for the Super Bowl, but they should have a much better defense and if they get even average quarterback play, a chance to win a division that hasn’t had a repeat champion since 2004-2005.
The Eagles offense has flaws. It has improved offensive line, but that might not mean anything if Jason Peters can’t stay healthy. Ryan Mathews was their best running back last year, but running backs get worse with age and he’s only been healthy for a full season once. Darren Sproles will be used, but how much can you rely on him? And rookie Wendell Smallwood was drafted in the fifth round for a reason. Smallwood, however, will be asked to do more than most fifth-round picks. Matthews enjoyed success in Chip Kelly’s friendly offense, but how will he fair on the outside? If you remember Kansas City wide receivers didn’t catch a touchdown for an entire season in 2014, so the production of Philadelphia’s skill players is up in the air. Ertz, however, looks to benefit the most from playing in Pederson’s offense. Travis Kelce enjoyed great seasons under Pederson, so Ertz should put up solid numbers.
The Chiefs relied heavily on their running game with Doug Pederson as offensive coordinator. According to Teamrankings.com, Kansas City finished in the top-10 in rushing play percentage the past two seasons. No team passed the ball fewer on first down than the Chiefs last season. Bradford’s role in the offense will be similar to Alex Smith’s, I’d imagine. Smith’s much more mobile. He can actually create offense with his feet. But accuracy wise Bradford and Smith play similarly. Smith completed 65.3 percent of passes last year; Bradford completed 65. Bradford will have the opportunity to change the play at the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t have to be a robot.Now is that a good thing? Bradford has been, at best, an average NFL quarterback. But watching him down the stretch last season, the talent was there. Maybe it’s foils gold. He probably isn’t that good. But I’m a believer in chemistry. The fact that Bradford, Ertz and Matthews worked together this off-season might pay off big time this season. Also, Bradford will have three quarterback minds teaching him, and career back-up Chase Daniel trying his best to take the starting job.
Bradford’s back in Philadelphia. His stay won’t be long, but he has every chance to ensure his next team will finally be his team.
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