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Bradford Fits What Eagles Want At QB

Posted Mar 16, 2015

Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur knows quarterback Sam Bradford as well as a coach can know a player. Their history rekindles in the present ...

Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur knows quarterback Sam Bradford as well as a coach can know a player. Their history rekindles in the present.

"He did a great job for us," Shurmur says of the performance from Bradford in 2010 when the rookie quarterback helped lift St. Louis from a one-win team the season before to a 7-9 team in 2010 when Shurmur was the offensive coordinator there. "He helped us win seven games in that first year coming off a horrible year the year before and we fell a few plays short of winning the division with him as a rookie quarterback. He was Rookie of the Year.

"He's a tremendous player, a tremendous person and I think as the people in town get to know him, he's got this quiet confidence, a great charisma about him where he is going to play really good football. People are going to enjoy having him here."

Coming off that 1-15 season in 2009, the Rams held the first pick in the 2010 NFL draft and Shurmur looked into every quarterback available (and the Rams looked into every player available). It wasn't close, really. Bradford easily outdistanced a quarterback class that included Tim Tebow (first round, 25th overall to Denver), Jimmy Clausen (second round, 48th overall to Carolina), Colt McCoy (third round, 85th overall to Cleveland) and Mike Kafka (fourth round, 122nd overall to the Eagles).

St. Louis badly needed a quarterback and selected Bradford over defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy. The moment, says Shurmur, wasn't overwhelming for Bradford.

"He played at Oklahoma, so he played on a large stage. It really didn't faze him. It wasn't too big for him," Shurmur said. "He came in, we had A.J. Feeley at the time so he and A.J. worked together and Sam became the opening-day starter. He handled it extremely well."

St. Louis incorporated some of the spread-offense concepts used at Oklahoma into its offense with Bradford at the helm and had success. They saw how Bradford thrived in the up-tempo, quick-decision, get-the-ball-out approach and tailored the scheme just a bit for Bradford.

That's really what Shurmur and Kelly have done here working with the varied skill sets of Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley and Mark Sanchez.

Playing to Bradford's strengths is the next step for the offense.

"He's going to come here with a lot of background in what we do," said Shurmur, who moved on from St. Louis after that season to become the head coach in Cleveland the next season. "We're going to be able to connect the dots very quickly.

"He's a quick thinker, a quick, good-decision maker and he understands the importance of executing quickly. I think, for those reasons, he'll be a good fit for us. He can make every throw. He's proven that.  Now we have to get him in and get him going."

The Eagles gave up a good player in Nick Foles to get a good player in Sam Bradford. The process of assimilating Bradford into the offense begins, actually, in the athletic training room rehabbing Bradford's torn left anterior cruciate ligament. Phase 1 of the offseason starts in mid April, so between now and then the coaching staff can't talk X's and O's with Bradford.

There is plenty of confidence, though, that once Bradford looks at the playbook and discusses concepts with Shurmur and head coach Chip Kelly the flow will come very quickly.

"He's going to understand what we're doing. He did some of it at Oklahoma in that spread they ran. Sam was very successful there and we have high hopes for him here as well," Shurmur said.

Bradford won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma and then transitioned to the NFL and became the Rookie of the Year under Shurmur's guidance. He and Shurmur are together again, and the scheme should look familiar and there's the fact that former Sooners teammate (and roommate) DeMarco Murray is signed and ready for action as an Eagle. Bradford is walking into a welcoming setting.

The pieces are in place for him to have success, to build on what he and Shurmur started together way back when, in 2010 when Bradford was the first pick in the draft and then lived up to the billing.

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