Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly makes it clear every offseason that every position is up for grabs. There is always an open competition at every position every offseason. This year, with two potentially (I stress, potentially) good options, we must wonder who will start at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The “incumbent” is quarterback Mark Sanchez, who the Eagles signed in free agency last year. Sanchez started the second half of the season after starting quarterback Nick Foles went down with an injury. Sanchez, who really is not a great quarterback, had moments of looking good in Kelly’s very quarterback-friendly offense.
Sanchez is a very good backup quarterback. He’s one of the few plug-and-play backup-caliber players in the league. He isn’t really great at any one thing, but he is average at some things and better than average at others.
The only other option (get out of here Tebow-apologists) is newly-traded-for quarterback Sam Bradford. The Eagles acquired Bradford, the former number one overall pick, for Foles and a second round pick next year.
Bradford has one of the strongest arms in the league. The velocity with which the ball comes out is ridiculous. Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, who I might add played with Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in college, has said that Bradford has the strongest arm of any quarterback Ertz has ever played with.
Bradford is also extremely accurate. He excels at putting the ball where only his receiver can catch it. In some tape review of Bradford, what quickly becomes apparent is the dearth of talented pass-catchers that the Rams had in Bradford’s time there. Many times Bradford hit the receiver right in the chest and the wide receiver would plainly drop the ball.
Perhaps Bradford’s best attribute, though, is his mental acuity. Bradford is a quick decision-maker who does a good job of breaking down defenses pre-snap. What is nice about Bradford is, unlike Foles, Bradford can throw a receiver open or anticipate the receiver’s break, rather than having to wait for several moments before mentally registering that a receiver is open.
So, who will start? As of now I would have to say Sanchez has the edge. Sanchez knows the playbook, has had one full year in the system, and is healthy. Bradford is coming into a new system after missing two years due to ACL injuries to the same knee. His mobility are durability are major concerns.
Despite Sanchez having the current edge, I believe Bradford will be given every opportunity in training camp to win the job. The Eagles gave up some valuable assets to take on the roughly $13 million left on Bradford’s rookie contract. If Bradford can get healthy (and stay healthy) he is a far superior quarterback to Sanchez.
Bradford, who has one of the highest ceilings in the league, will be utilizing his tremendous skill set in what is already the most quarterback-friendly offense in the league. That, coupled with Bradford having viable targets for the first time in his career, will make Bradford one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
With Bradford under center, the sky is the limit for how high the Philadelphia Eagles will soar.
Fly Eagles Fly.
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