The Philadelphia Eagles training camp is in full swing and the first preseason game is only a couple of days away. I have been following the Eagles reporters tweets closely and it is becoming obvious that Sam Bradford is far better than any other quarterback that Chip Kelly has ever had so far. When Bleeding Green Nation writer Brandon Lee Gowton was asked about the difference between Sam Bradford and Nick Foles, this was his response:
I am certain that is true and I am not surprised whatsoever that Bradford is looking great. Anyone who has looked at Bradford’s college and NFL tape knows that he is an extremely talented quarterback with a big time arm. Practice will always suit players like this and his arm strength has clearly impressed the Eagles reporters. I remember Michael Vick always looked great in practice too. Bradford was the number one overall pick for a reason, he’s very talented.
There is one big reason why I refuse to completely jump on the Bradford bandwagon yet. It isn’t to do with his talent and it isn’t to do with the possibility of him getting injured again. If Bradford does get hurt again I will just see that as bad luck, anyone can get injured. My biggest concern with Bradford is something that he cannot show me during training camp. I worry about how he is mentally after two ACLs.
This tweet from Philly Voice reporter Jimmy Kempski highlights just how different training camp is to a real game and how much movement Bradford is having to do:
So why do I worry about Bradford? I don’t think he would have made the decision to continue his career if he was not mentally ready to do so. He has made a lot of money already so I think he could have walked away if he wanted to. I am worried however about what will happen when he gets hit in the pocket for the first time and how he reacts.
Will he ever be able to completely forget about the two ACL injuries that he has previously suffered? Or after a sack, will he be just a little bit nervous on the next play and throw the ball just half a second too early to avoid being hit again. Throwing a ball in the NFL half a second too early could be the difference between a completion and an interception.
Will he stand in the pocket and deliver a throw knowing he is about to get hit? No matter how good he looks in practice, that won’t help him if he can’t do this. Even if the Eagles offensive line is very good, if Bradford starts seeing ghosts and worrying about being hit he won’t be productive. Even if he plays all 16 games and never gets hurt. Seeing ghosts will force him to check down to running backs in order to avoid being hit and he could then miss open receivers downfield.
This is why I cannot go all in on Bradford yet. I don’t question his talent at all but I do still have concerns about the mental side of his game. Chip Kelly himself cannot be sure, he has no idea how Bradford will react when an opposing defence sends an all out blitz either and aims to hit him. This isn’t happening in practice. Still, hopefully Bradford continues to impress and gets some snaps on Sunday so we can see how he looks in the pocket. I really hope he looks comfortable and gets the ball out on time but not too quickly in order to avoid being hit. Preseason normally doesn’t mean a lot for starters but in Bradford’s case I think it does.
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