PHILADELPHIA – Sam Bradford put himself in very bad position this off-season with his “entitled” approach to the quarterback position. While he did succumb to an unwavering stand by Howie Roseman and Philadelphia Eagles, he also created a situation that the fans and the front office wont entirely forget.
With the selection of Carson Wentz second overall in the 2016 Draft, Bradford realized his days in the City of Brotherly Love were numbered.
I can understand his position to an extent.
When he signed a short term deal, that I called a “Prove It” contract, he was under the impression that he would be the long term play if he could prove himself on the field. To that same argument, it would be foolish for the Eagles to pass up an opportunity to get a top Quarterback with a top three selection.
The NFC East is currently a weak division with the Washington Redskins taking first in 2016 with a 9-7 record. The biggest thing to take into consideration here is, if the Eagles win the Division and make the Playoffs the earliest position they would be eligible to pick is 21st. With no first rounder in 2017, traded to the Cleveland Browns, that that would leave Philadelphia with the 21st selection of the second round.
So it all make sense from that view point, smart move to lock up Bradford as a stopgap. Smarter move to jump up in the draft and plan for the future.
Yet, this is still not the highest hurdle that Bradford will have to jump.
In week one the Eagles face the Cleveland Browns in Philadelphia for their season and home opener. Despite the Browns making some solid upgrades at key positions over this past off-season, they are not the true enemy for Bradford in early September.
On August 11, exactly one month before the season is set to start for the Eagles, Carson Wentz will take the field at Lincoln Financial. This preseason match up against the traveling Tampa Bay Buccaneers is where the “Wentz Wagon” will really start building momentum.
This will be the starting point heading towards a week one home opener and the City of Philadelphia’s peak of “Anti Bradford“.
Sam Bradford will come in the preseason like any other veteran player, we may not even see him in week one against Tampa Bay. He will see limited time in the next two games, before really getting some substantial playing time in week four. This is common, but it also means that Eagles fans will see a fair amount of Carson Wentz, at least for weeks one and two.
This is where the misrepresentation will sky rocket. Carson Wentz is listed as QB3 on the teams roster. When he does play in the preseason, he will not be facing opposing team starting lines up, likely will not be facing all of their back ups. He will look good. Hell, he may even look “Elite”. This will be a mirage.
A city already armed with animosity will lash out in verbal attacks aimed at Bradford and endless praise for Wentz will ensue. This is understandable, at this point the championship starved city of Philadelphia will have a face of the future and their scapegoat.
Do not take this article the wrong way, Carson Wentz is a stud. I had been pretty open leading up to Draft in my views. I was not a fan of the Eagles moving up for a quarterback, but Wentz was the only quarterback I liked in the years Draft, inside the top 10.
I know that you have read reports saying Wentz is learning the offense quicker than Bradford, but does that really shed light on anything? Wentz has been widely praised for what is between his ears. He has great whiteboard skills, football IQ and solid pre-snap reads. His learning curve starts once the balls leaves the center.
Wentz has some footwork issues that need to polished, but that is case for most quarterback coming out of college. His progression through reads it going to be where it all stacks, or it all breaks down. He struggled working through reads in the FCS, not the FBS, and it is almost certain that will carry through in some capacity to play in the NFL.
This issues will moderately be masked by sub-par competition in preseason match ups. Not only will Wentz likely be competing against second and third string squads, he will be running against vanilla, plain Jane defenses. There will minimal blitzing, a ton of base defense, and the simplest of play calling for the offense.
All of these factors will without a doubt lead to a preseason filled with endless praise for Carson Wentz and an over the top calling for Bradford’s head. If the Eagles do follow through with early reports that they intend to deactivate Wentz for regular season, which is common for a QB3, it will only add fuel to the fire.
Now, if Bradford is flawless through the four scrimmage games there may be a little bit of a short leash for some fans. For most, I believe even the smallest misstep will result in major backlash and the “We Want Wentz” chants will start ringing out. Wentz needs time to learn, grow, and better develop his game. Sitting his first season out, is ideal.
Photo Credit: RWM via Flickr