The Philadelphia Eagles did a quarterback swap with the St. Louis Rams this offsesaon, flipping Nick Foles for former Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford. It appears the Eagles are invested in Bradford, and want him to be the starting quarterback entering the 2015 season. But are they wise to rely on such an inconsistent quarterback?
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An anonymous NFL executive told NJ Advance Media earlier this month that Chip Kelly is “the one guy” that can fix Bradford. And while that may be true — Foles and Mark Sanchez have both thrived in Kelly’s system and he’s been successful in getting players healthy — not all experiments pan out. But if Bradford is healthy, it’s on him to succeed. Should the former top pick fail, he’s probably out of excuses.
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Kelly’s QB-friendly system aside, the Eagles have a manageable schedule early on. While Atlanta, Dallas and the New York Jets (Philly’s first three opponents) all present their own sets of challenges, each game is winnable and the Eagles should be able to get a sense of whether Bradford is the guy to lead their team. With a very beatable Washington waiting in Week 4, it should be very obvious by the end of the first month of the season.
There should be no reason that the Eagles give Bradford serious cushion. While he’s struggled with injuries throughout his career, he’s no rookie, and he’s at the point in his career where it’s boom-or-bust. And Mark Sanchez, who thrived as the starter in 2014, is also waiting in the wings.
Especially if Bradford doesn’t have it together by Week 8, Sanchez should be the team’s starting quarterback coming out of the bye week. He was more than competent last season, leading the team to a 4-4 record in eight starts with 14 touchdown passes, and should be even better now with another offseason of work behind him.
It’s quite plausible that Bradford could come out of the gates looking better than ever this season, because as previously stated, he does have an ideal situation to work with. With what should be a great running game to lean on and a talented core of receivers to throw to, one would think he’ll be the next average quarterback to look great under Kelly.
But if that doesn’t end up being the case, the Eagles need to be willing to make a change instead of waiting for Bradford to magically have a breakout performance out of nowhere. They have other options to turn to, so like Bradford, they don’t have any excuses.
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