If Saturday night’s hit on Sam Bradford by Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs is going to incite this type of outrage and/or panic within Philly’s city limits and beyond, yikes. Not a single snap will go by this fall that avoids some internal, emotional-driven Gil Grissom-type investigation.
Really, that was illegal? That was dirty?
People, and, yes, that means you, Eagles fans and media, get a grip.
If that was malicious intent carried out to its ultimate fruition by one of the league's most fearsome defenders, then thank your lucky, hero-worshipping stars that is the extent of Bradford’s peril in 2015. Aside from the china-doll quarterback’s looking-skyward reaction to it, nothing that happened was worthy of a gasp, or claims of improper play by Suggs.
I keep playing the video over and over again to see what I missed … and, you know what, I’m fully convinced that I haven’t missed a damn thing.
Bradford hands off to Darren Sproles on the play and just about simultaneously is tackled by Suggs. It reads about as boring as it actually was, in reality.
For people fearing the worst with Bradford’s twice-surgically repaired left knee, yeah, no doubt, it had to be scary. The Ravens’ defender went low, wrapped up his prey’s legs and took him down. Bradford was vulnerable. He was left open to get hit. Suggs had a clear path to him.
I get the fear, the concern. But the condemnation of Suggs for making a play? No, this is what the Eagles are going to be facing potentially every time the team runs one of coach Chip Kelly’s beloved read-option plays. Be it Bradford or backup Mark Sanchez or anyone else, a quarterback running one of those is going to be put in harm’s way.
That QB, by league rules, will be viewed as a ballcarrier until it is clear he has distanced himself from being a running option. Sorry, but no way was that the case Saturday night. By the time Suggs began his launching into him, Bradford’s right arm, the one in which he was handling the ball, was still obstructed. Suggs couldn’t tell the ball had been handed off, and, accepting the laws of physics, he wouldn’t have been able to stop mid-launch or mid-flight to save poor Sam from having his heart skip a beat.
Frankly, having seen the play an ad nauseam amount, I’d actually say Suggs took it easy on Bradford. He dove away from the latter’s lesser/”injured” side, with his helmet obviously pointed in non-dangerous fashion at nothing more than air to the right of both of Bradford’s wheels. It almost looked like a buddy trying to help a fallen friend get back on the horse, so to speak. A WWE-type production if you will, where “danger” was suggested, but never really existed.
Going for the legs being cheap, especially in a preseason game? That seems more midnight green-colored rationale, because the guy making the tackle has made a split-second decision, is following through on that commitment and trying to get his target to the ground. Suggs, at the point he made his call, has no idea if Bradford does or doesn’t still have the ball.
As a football player, playing it legit, he had to make that play. He made the right play.
Get used to it, Eagles fans – because there was nothing illegal or dirty about it.
Otherwise, wow … expect a long, long season.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org