Ranking or Tanking: Sam Bradford


On November 3, 2015 NFLNow Host Marc Istook tweeted a photo comparing Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick’s stats. To many of his followers’ surprise, the stats were much closer than people thought. Istook also pointed out, and rightfully so that “One’s an MVP candidate. The other is benched…”

The internet is an interesting animal. For the most part, it doesn’t take much to stir the pot. Especially with so many people passionate about players, teams, etc. Twitter just happens to be the biggest to stir that pot.

I understand what Istook was trying to get across. He brought up a great point, but more importantly (at least to me) that the numbers do not always tell the whole story. Yes, Newton and Kaepernick’s stats are pretty good, but one is clearly playing better than the other.

Which got me thinking. If those two quarterbacks are that close, but seem so far apart; where does Sam Bradford fit in?

Sam Bradford has comparable stats as well. If you look at the numbers between the three quarterbacks, Bradford is right there with them. Is that a good thing or bad thing though? If anything, Bradford being in-the-mix just raises more questions. Is Newton really an MVP candidate? Is Kaepernick really bad enough to be benched? Do the numbers tell the whole story?

Obviously not.

While those previous questions are being discussed, I don’t feel either of them are true. Or more specifically that the answer should be “yes.” Newton is playing “good enough” football, with one helluva defense leading the charge. And while I have always thought that Kaepernick has been coasting on one good season that was half built by another QB, he isn’t bad enough to have Blaine Gabbert step in his place. However, there is simple rule in football: you are what your record is.

 Again, what of Bradford?

The numbers can be used to defend Bradford. Numbers don’t lie… right? Consider that most of Bradford’s stats came in the second half, coming from behind, in most games. Also consider that some of that was during garbage time. Bradford has a higher “Average Yards Per-Game” and “Per-Attempt” than both Kaepernick and Newton, but he also has the lowest QBR and the most interceptions. Bradford has also thrown more INTs than TDs. I may not be super smart, but I am pretty sure you need to have more of one and not the other. As bad as Kaepernick has been, he has still thrown for more touchdowns than interceptions. Bradford has not managed to turn that around yet.

So what does this mean? That was the point of this article, right? That was, but the question is harder to answer than you think. While my eyeballs tell me that Bradford is lackluster and isn’t helping the team, the numbers somewhat contradict me. Is he bad enough to bench? Yes. Then again, isn’t he playing well enough to consider him a viable starter?  Also yes. Ultimately, what do the wins say?

While the stats may look similar enough, the associated teams for which the QBs play are very different. The Panthers are one of the few undefeated teams in the league, which changes the way Newton is viewed. Good record, good team, he must be a good QB. The 49ers are considered one of the worst teams in the league. Bad record, bad team, Kaepernick must be a bad QB. See a pattern? The Eagles… well, the Eagles are a tough team to figure out. Mediocre record, sort-of a good team, Bradford is a [insert adjective] QB. Whatever you put there as you read that, is just a likely what he is than anything I could tell. Philadelphia is still in a decent position to take the NFC East, but the offense has not been consistent, and that starts with Bradford. Until he plays consistently well or bad enough to statistically, he still remains somewhere in the middle. And so will the Eagles.