QBs Going No. 1
The excuses are astounding, the rationales amazing.
In this, Sam Bradford’s prolonged audition to be franchise quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, the extent to which those ruled by hope or disbelief that he couldn’t possibly be so mediocre deny and deflect the reality that, yes, he really is so mediocre, is positively mind-boggling.
Can’t give up on the Eagles? OK.
Can’t accept someone with such “pedigree” isn’t better? Got it.
Can’t fathom Chip Kelly making a decision that would be fatal to the franchise? Check.
All understandable. All indisputable if that’s how someone, anyone truly feels.
All well and good even … for a period of time.
But at some point, everyone has to put the remote down, get firm hold of the chair and start grasping what is unfolding before their very eyes. He is not rusty. He is not coming off a 2.5-year break from playing, as so many mathematically challenged gurus and sportstalk radio yakkers somehow consistently manage to incorrectly point out.
Put bluntly, Sam Bradford is not that good, people. This is not an aberration. This is not an athlete struggling to regain some special form he once possessed. This is who he is.
Mediocre, with flashes of pretty passes.
Expecting any more from the Eagles starting quarterback is on you, not him. He is doing what he is capable of doing. Stop equating where a guy is drafted as being the end-all, be-all telltale sign of how he will perform at the NFL level. The list to the left shoots down that thinking, even while admitting that Bradford has been the best QB of his draft class, an abundantly weak one for signal-callers.
The danger with this foray into Sam being the man was alerted to all with flashing, neon-red signs of two ACL surgeries to his left knee, a severe shoulder injury in college and three years of less-than-stellar, while-healthy play in the NFL. Apparently, most failed, or chose not, to see them.
Frankly, if he were to turn into a franchise QB, that would be a case of Bradford completely erasing all evidence to the contrary.
Yes, he compiled great statistics at Oklahoma. Yes, he so impressed pro personnel honchos enough to become the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. But yours truly has seen this act play out for almost a decade now, not just through a couple mini-camps, one summer of two-a-days and six NFL regular-season games, and, just keepin’ it real, he is the same as he’s always been.
To all the experts and analysts who keep breaking down his game and stating how he seems to being playing scared because he lacks confidence in his reconstructed knee, just stop. Get a grip. The guy always has displayed those “deer in headlights” eyes and played skittish at times. Even after having time to gel with teammates.
His success in directing the Sooners? Really kinda hard not to put up insane numbers when you’re given the keys to, say, the NFL Giants against the Little Giants on a weekly basis. When he came up against quality competition, Bradford would be little more than average.
His biggest game in college was a BCS title matchup against Florida following his 2008 Heisman-winning season. In it, Bradford completed 26 of 41 passes for 256 yards and two TDs … and two picks. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, and certainly nothing special. Classic Bradford.
He and OU lost to the Gators and Tim Tebow, 24-14, in that one.
But let us digress.
The only bill of goods being sold here has been by Kelly, who tried to pitch that getting Bradford either as a new starting QB or as a bargaining chip to get another would be a step up from what the Eagles already had.
Not true. Didn’t have a chance to be.
For starters, the team was never going to succeed in offering Bradford, picks and other players for the right to draft Kelly’s favorite son, Marcus Mariota of Oregon. More importantly, Nick Foles, the guy at the controls for Philly prior to Bradford, was, is and always will be a better professional QB than Bradford.
Unless some dramatic, unforeseen change happens.
Newsflash, remember that awful season Foles turned in last season with the Birds? Well, Bradford would have to step up his play to match it.
Foles 2014: 270.4 ypg, 7.0 ypa, 13 TDs, 10 INTs … 6 wins, 2 losses.
Bradford 2015: 260.2 ypg, 6.8 ypa, 9 TDs, 9 INTs … 3 wins, 3 losses.
At least those numbers are comparable. The career ones are embarrassingly heavy in Foles’ favor.
Thing is, Bradford is showing exactly what he is and has been as an NFL QB.
That is reality, and no excuses or rationales are ever going to change that.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org