It seems like just about every day a new rumor comes out about the Eagles' quarterback position. "The Eagles want to trade for Quarterback X," "Quarterback Y is on the Eagles’ radar," or "The Eagles are positioning themselves to move up and take Quarterback Z."
At this time of the NFL offseason, it is difficult to weed out what’s fact and what’s pure speculation. For any curious fan, the best advice is to fall back to what members of the Eagles’ front office and coaching staff have said publicly. What we do know goes back to what head coach Doug Pederson said on March 10, shortly after the first big wave of free agency –
Bradford, of course, was re-signed to a two-year contract before the free agency period began. As it turned out, evaluating the quarterback position was one of the first major tasks that Pederson had to tackle upon arriving in Philadelphia as the franchise’s 23rd head coach.
After talking to others in the building and breaking down the film, Pederson saw everything he needed to in order to bring Bradford back into the mix.
“I went in thinking that (Bradford) was going to be the guy. I honestly did,” Pederson said at the NFL Annual Meeting last week. “That was probably the number one thing that I did first and foremost when I got there was evaluating that position and evaluating Sam’s performance, and that’s what led to him wanting to stay in Philadelphia. I wanted him to stay in Philadelphia, and we got him signed.
“He’s a guy that makes good decisions. He’s an accurate thrower. He’s got a good arm, can make all the throws that are necessary to the passing style of the game that I’ll bring. A leader of the football team and just really gives you a little bit of a leg up on the things that I’m going to ask him to do. We did a lot of things with Alex (Smith) utilizing one of his strengths, which is the ability to think. Sam’s that same type of quarterback, a sharp guy that we can use to get us in and out of situations. Put more on his plate, so to speak, and he’s definitely got the ability to do that.”
When Bradford was re-signed, it obviously sent a strong signal that he would be the clear-cut starter in 2016. Some fans, however, began to question that once Chase Daniel was signed to a three-year deal. But Pederson has made a point to state clearly that Daniel is Bradford’s backup, though the head coach knows the importance of having someone like Daniel in the locker room.
“I view Chase as another coach for me on the football field,” Pederson said. “He’s got a great understanding because I’ve been with him for three years. He really knows the offense. He could literally step in and call plays tomorrow. That not only helps him, but it helps him with the rest of the guys on offense, and it’s going to help Sam kind of speed up his learning process with offense and picking up terminology and understanding reads and progressions, so for me it’s kind of a little bit of a security.
“It’s a lot like when Andy (Reid) brought me in 1999 to Philadelphia and drafted Donovan (McNabb). It’s that same dynamic, someone who knows your system, someone who can teach the quarterback and the other offensive players on the team about the offense.”
With the trade of Mark Sanchez to the Denver Broncos, there’s still a question about who the number three quarterback on the depth chart will be.
With that in mind, Pederson spoke about how he is going to get an up-close look at the quarterbacks in this year’s draft class.
“I think it’s important to evaluate all of them, especially those top three, four, five six guys and really spend some time, because you never know when someone is a free agent,” Pederson said. “You’ve got to exhaust all of the positions and it’s something that I look forward to doing in the next couple of weeks.
“I won’t go to the Pro Days as much. I prefer the individual workouts, where you can go a little bit more hands-on with a guy.”
Over the past few days, reports have circled about Pederson and Howie Roseman flying to the West Coast to work out some of the top quarterbacks in the draft. If that is indeed the case, it only confirms what Coach Pederson said last week about his preference for seeing all of the quarterbacks in person.
“I’ll have an opportunity once these meetings are over and we’re back in Philadelphia, to really start diving in again now that Combine is over, and really start evaluating that position again, maybe taking a couple of trips and going to work some guys out and just gathering a lot of information on everybody, but there are a lot of guys I like as a number three,” Pederson said. “I don’t know about (taking a quarterback with the eighth overall pick), but I know that if you’re looking for that third quarterback, there are some good ones in this draft. Taking out say the top three, there are still some guys that you can take and develop who could be good fits at a number three.”