Wide receiver Jordan Matthews (above) said Bradford is cerebral enough to handle the change to Doug Pederson’s offense. That was something Matthews noticed when he and tight end Zach Ertz spent five days working out with Bradford at Bradford’s home in Oklahoma.
By Mary Cunningham
So, Eagles fans, this is the melodrama we should get used to between now and Sept. 8, when the Birds strap it on for real against the Cleveland Browns.
Who’s the quarterback?
Sam Bradford, Carson Wentz, Chase Daniel?
Call it a distraction or call it an extraction.
Whatever you call it, it is not good for the team’s chances to improve from last season’s putrid 7-9.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson has often made it clear that there isn’t a quarterback competition, at least during the spring workouts.
Bradford is the starter, Daniel is the backup and prized rookie Wentz is with the third team, trying to learn as much as he can so he can be ready perhaps as soon as next season to take over.
Is Bradford truly invested in the team after taking a two-week leave and having his agent request a trade? Can Daniel become a dependable backup after throwing just 77 passes in six NFL seasons? And what kind of potential does Wentz have?
So far, only two practices have been open to the media. But from that, it’s clear that Bradford is the most polished passer. During Tuesday’s session, he finished the last period by completing every pass down the field, culminating in a touchdown.
The quarterbacks weren’t available to the media Tuesday, but various players and even defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz gave their impressions.
“He really had a good day,” right tackle Lane Johnson said about Bradford. “We tried to give him plenty of time back there and let him pick them apart. He’s really been progressing the last few weeks.”
Daniel seemed most effective on the dump-off passes, a staple of Pederson’s West Coast offense. He did this often with running back Wendell Smallwood. On one play, Smallwood took a short pass over the middle and accelerated past linebackers and into the secondary.
It should be noted that players aren’t allowed to wear pads or tackle during OTAs. Still, Smallwood showed off his pass-catching ability and speed.
Wentz, meanwhile, showed nice touch on a deep sideline pass to Chris Givens, hitting him in stride. But he also overthrew Cayleb Jones on a deep ball into the end zone.
The three quarterbacks seemed to interact well with each other. Last week, Bradford promised to help Wentz along as much as he could.
“Sam, Chase, Carson all are on the same page,” Johnson said. “I think breaking the ice of the past few weeks is over. So I think we’re in a good spot.”
It would also seem like Bradford would thrive in an offense like Pederson’s, where he can audible at the line of scrimmage, something he wasn’t able to do under previous coach Chip Kelly, who ran a no-huddle, uptempo scheme.
Wide receiver Jordan Matthews said Bradford is cerebral enough to handle it. That was something Matthews noticed when he and tight end Zach Ertz spent five days working out with Bradford at Bradford’s home in Oklahoma.
“People underestimate how intelligent he is,” Matthews said. “I tried to play him in some mind games when I went to stay with him. I lost every single one and I went to Vanderbilt. I couldn’t even beat him at Scrabble.
“He wants to learn all the checks. He wants to be able to go in the play-call, in the huddle. He’s embracing it.”
It seems like Wentz is embracing it, too.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz knows about the development of a top draft pick like Wentz. In 2009, as a rookie head coach with the Detroit Lions, Schwartz hadMatthew Stafford, the No. 1 pick in the draft.
“Don’t judge him on somebody else, and then, also, don’t predetermine the results of the race,” Schwartz said. “Just let him go play. Don’t put pressure on him … I think that when we drafted Stafford, we just let it play. Was he our best quarterback? Was he ready? Unfortunately, he got hurt both his first and second year, probably from holding the ball a little too long at times. He learned those lessons, and his third year, he really, really took off.”