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Why are Eagles fans surprised by Sam Bradford? NFL Unfiltered Week 3

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Belief in Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford means complete faith in coach Chip Kelly and his once prolific offense.

It’s the only explanation for why both fans and media were so enamored with Bradford, and are now surprised by his less than stellar start.

But you have to ask yourself, is his play thus far really all that surprising?  

To this juncture, Bradford has had a mediocre career. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to think of a signature Bradford moment that does not involve him coming up lame. Yet, we keep hearing people say “Bradford has to step up …Bradford needs to play better.”  Even Bradford himself said as much after his team’s 24-17 win. But what does better actually mean?  Does it mean better than he has this season, or better than he ever has?    Photo: BleacherReport.com

And while excuses abound about why he has not fulfilled the promise of the first pick in the 2010 draft, it is now fair to wonder if Bradford himself deserves most of the blame for his struggles.  

Naturally, his trouble staying healthy played some role, but even when he did play, Bradford never showed a willingness to attack defenses with his arm and intellect.  

Instead, he often chose short, quick passes. The kind of completions that prevent quarterbacks from getting hit (as his career 6.3 yards per pass attempt indicates). To put that statistic in perspective, the Bengals’ Andy Dalton, not known for his downfield passing prowess, averages nearly a yard more for his career than Bradford at 7.1 yards per attempt. Even the Chiefs’ Alex Smith, who many see as a game-manager personified, has a career 6.6-yard average on his pass attempts.    

Of course, many also dismiss Bradford’s Rams career based on the belief the Rams did not give him much talent to work with.  But look closely as this Eagles offense. Are you certain they have more talent than, say, the 2012 Rams, which was Bradford’s best season as a pro?  To my way of thinking, it is at least comparable.    

Maybe Bradford is similar to an old boxer, one who has taken too many beatings and no longer has the stomach for violence. Or, this is simply who he is: just another number one pick, who played a long time and never distinguished himself as anything more than ordinary, very much like Smith.  

After 2,203 throws in the National Football League and another 122 he intended to pass but suffered a sack, it’s hard to fathom Bradford suddenly becoming the kind of quarterback willing to get hit in the chest just to connect on a risky pass. In fact, he has hit the reset button on his career so often, one could argue he knows more about rehabilitating injuries than he does about dissecting defenses.  

Even with rules implemented to protect quarterbacks, getting hit for the sake of success is still part of the job.  

Unfortunately, Sam Bradford plays like it’s a job he no longer wants.  Assuming of course, he ever did.       

A top online sportsbook has the odds for the Eagles' game next week against Washington

 

THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 3

-It boggles my mind that quarterbacks as limited as Washington’s Kirk Cousins continue to take risks that put their teams in peril. It’s likely Cousins has permission to play more conservatively if he chooses. Which begs the question: Is risk-aversion by quarterbacks nurture or nature?

-Speaking of Dalton, Cincinnati is 3-0, but there isn’t much intrigue about the end of this, or any other season, as long as Marvin Lewis is the head coach and Dalton is the quarterback.   

-Anticipation is another part of the job, but guessing is something else entirely. New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick throws too many passes without actually seeing the field.  Oftentimes, he seems to just heave the ball in a particular direction.  

-Odd to see the Jets allow Sam Bradford to get comfortable.  He had not threatened defenses with long passing in two games and the Eagles lack speed at wide receiver. Yet, coach Todd Bowles decided against the kind of blitzing he is known to use.  

RELATED: Eagles Hold Off Jets: The Morning After

-Referees can control the flow of any game they wish.  Case in point, the Steelers/Rams game began about 25 minutes late.  But somehow, they still played the entire first half in a little over an hour. The likely reason? Three accepted penalties! Obviously, the NFL did their best to make sure that game didn’t run long. Interesting.  Photo: 52isthemike.wordpress.com

-Here’s hoping 49ers’ linebacker Navorro Bowman is playing because he wants to and not due to any financial obligations, because he is dragging his left leg around the field like a wounded wildebeest on the Serengeti.  

-Memo to all NFL teams: if you’re not getting consistent productivity from your starting quarterback, it’s time to move on. And what makes up consistent productivity?  Simple: Is your quarterback part of the problem, or part of the solution? Current examples include the Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill and the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, who are killing their teams.  

-In my view, NFL films’ Greg Cosell has not always been fair in his criticism of Kaepernick. However, he’s right when he says Kaepernick does not see the field as well as he should. Though, I’ve never heard him mention his feet as the primary reason.

-If Ed Hochuli told the Panthers’ Cam Newton he hasn’t been around long enough to get certain calls from officials, it’s no big deal. It happens in every other professional sport in America. 

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

If you enjoyed Earl's article, you might also like:

 NFL Unfiltered Week 1: Who Will Plug Chip Kelly's Holes?
 

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

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Thumbnail: USAToday.com

Bradford Photo: BleacherReport.com

Kaepernick/Newton photo:

Photo: 52isthemike.wordpress.com