While the Philadelphia Eagles’ first game against the Cleveland Browns is still a little over three months away, rumors are heating up regarding the quarterback competition between Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, and Carson Wentz. Signed in the offseason to fill a backup and mentor role, Daniel was never in consideration to win the starting job, but he could open the season as the team’s backup quarterback.
New Eagles coach Doug Pederson named Bradford the team’s starting quarterback after the Eagles drafted Wentz in April, but various reports came out after saying that there was a chance that Wentz could win the job. Regardless of the reports, it appears as though Pederson has finally closed the door on all of the rumors as he announced that Bradford is still his guy.
As reported by USA Today, Pederson is extremely high on Bradford and feels as though there is a lot of potential for the offense this season.
“Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Friday morning that ‘barring injury’ Sam Bradford will be the team’s starting quarterback in September. Pederson said ‘It’s unbelievable’ what Bradford is doing in practice.”
Since it is still only June, it is somewhat peculiar that Pederson is so adamant about naming Bradford the starting quarterback. While Bradford was upset and demanded a trade after the Eagles drafted Wentz, he is still a professional and should not be immune to competition. It is unknown whether or not Pederson is being entirely truthful regarding his stance on Bradford being the starting quarterback, but it could put him in a dangerous position.
Since Bradford has historically been extremely prone to injuries over the course of his career, there is a very real chance that he gets hurt before the start of the season. Assuming that he stays healthy through training camp and the preseason, he is going to have to play at an extremely high level for Eagles’ fans to accept him as their starting quarterback. While Bradford looked great in the preseason last year, he was not exactly stellar during the regular season. Sure, his play improved towards the second half of the season and the offensive line had problems of their own, but that is how Bradford has been his entire career — great in the preseason and mediocre in the regular season.
In today’s NFL, fans want to see young quarterbacks start immediately. Since Wentz came from a smaller school, it is somewhat reasonable for Pederson to think that he may not be ready immediately, but the Eagles traded a lot to move up to the No. 2 overall pick in order to draft him. Even if Bradford eventually wins the job, Wentz should at least be given a fair chance to win it. While Pederson views Bradford as the team’s best option to win games during the 2016-2017 season, he is not in the organization’s long-term future. If Wentz is capable of starting this year and Pederson still goes with Bradford, he is only putting off the development of his young rookie quarterback.
As ESPN reports, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich feel as though Wentz should be given a real chance.
“Last week, though, both of Pederson’s coordinators made comments that raised questions about the team’s plan. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who was head coach of the Detroit Lions when they drafted Matthew Stafford in 2009, said he believed that a rookie should play when ready. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said that the pecking order gave the team structure but that competition could change Bradford’s status.”
Regardless, Pederson is the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and he has final say over the team’s starting quarterback. Barring injury, Sam Bradford will be the quarterback when the Eagles open up their season on September 11, 2016.
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