Philadelphia Eagles News

Believing In Bradford's Progress At QB

The numbers don't add up, and that's one reason Sam Bradford is confident that the mistakes he's making now are "correctable errors." He has thrown 9 interceptions in 228 pass attempts in 2015 (3.9 interceptions percentage), an INT percentage far above the 2.4 percent he compiled in his 49 games as a member of the St. Louis Rams.

So maybe there are certain parts of Bradford's opening six games that are an anomaly. Like the interceptions, for example. And some inconsistency in his mechanics -- both head coach Chip Kelly and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur have pointed to Bradford's footwork as a reason he's made some throws he would like to have back -- although it's probably fair to say that missing all but seven games in 2013 and 2014 is legitimate reason for that.

The Eagles are solidly in Bradford's corner and are more than willing to help him work through his hiccups. They've won two consecutive games, three of their last four, and at 3-3 prepare for Carolina and another nationally televised game on Sunday night.

Nobody expected Bradford to play without a period of acclimation after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in consecutive seasons. Bradford, remember, didn't take his first rep in 11-on-11 training until the first days of Training Camp in August. The Eagles did their research when they traded Nick Foles and a 2016 second-round draft pick for Bradford, as Kelly explained the day after the deal went down.  I think he's got an outstanding skill set. He's a big, strong, physical quarterback. He's over 6 4, he's 240 pounds, he's smart, he's intelligent, he's one of the most accurate throwers when you see him throw the football. I think he's smart. I think he's wired right.

I think we had some inside information because [Offensive Coordinator] Pat Shurmur had the opportunity to coach the kid for a year [in St. Louis], so he knows what he's like in the meeting room and he know what he is like on a daily basis and he knows the consistency that comes with him and he understands his work ethic. He's an unbelievable competitor.

You know, talked to the people who have been around him who were his coaches in the NFL and who were his coaches in college. Kevin Wilson is now the head coach at Indiana and was his offensive coordinator [at Oklahoma]. I talked to Kevin about him. I talked to [Oklahoma Head Coach] Bob Stoops about him. The kid is wired right. He's a competitor.

"I think he's got an outstanding skill set. He's a big, strong, physical quarterback," Kelly said on March 11. He's over 6-4, he's 240 pounds, he's smart, he's intelligent, he's one of the most accurate throwers when you see him throw the football. I think he's smart. I think he's wired right. I think we had some inside information because Pat Shurmur had the opportunity to coach the kid for a year (in St. Louis), so he knows what he's like in the meeting room and he know what he is like on a daily basis and he knows the consistency that comes with him and he understands his work ethic. He's an unbelievable competitor.

"You know, (we) talked to the people who have been around him who were his coaches in the NFL and who were his coaches in college. Kevin Wilson is now the head coach at Indiana and was his offensive coordinator (at Oklahoma). I talked to Kevin about him. I talked to (Oklahoma head coach) Bob Stoops about him. The kid is wired right. He's a competitor."

Bradford isn't going to back down from the challenge of improving his game. Despite his 9 interceptions, 4 of those in the end zone, Bradford has come a pretty long way since the regular season opened in Atlanta on September 14. He has involved every pass catcher on the roster who has been able to get some reasonable reps in the offense, and Bradford is an equal-opportunity pass thrower. He spreads it around nicely. The deep passing game, which struggled so much early in the regular season, has been potent in the last three games. Bradford's mobility has improved significantly as he's gotten back some timing and comfort in game action at a high rate of speed. He's taken every snap, while bouncing right back to his feet after taking some big-time hits in six games.

The offense, as a whole, has made many positive steps in the last month. The running game has come to life. The Eagles are sustaining more drives. The offensive line is winning more battles.

And Bradford is gaining confidence, even with a three-interception game the most recent example on display. He wasn't happy with his performance, but he's got every expectation of correcting his mistakes and moving forward.

"No, no. It's not even a question. It was just inconsistent, missing throws," Bradford said after the 27-7 win over the New York Giants. "There was some good, there was some bad. But I know for us to be where we want to be, I have to play much better."

Carolina is going to be a huge test. The Panthers are 5-0 largely because the defense has been stingy, punishing and punitive to teams making mistakes. Quarterbacks must make quick decisions and accurate throws in tight windows against an aggressive scheme. Bradford is going to see a variety of blitzes and coverages, so the next few days of film study will be vital to him establishing a level of comfort with what he's going to see on Sunday night.

The goals are high for Bradford and for the football team. Much improvement remains for a team that opened the season 0-2. Bradford is the quarterback and the Eagles are fully behind  him and believing in him, understanding that he -- like everyone else on the team -- has a lot of improving to do for the Eagles to reach their expectations.

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