There have been no setbacks. Not a hint of swelling. Sam Bradford's knee feels fine, thank you very much, and he's eager, excited, and really looking forward to playing Saturday night in the preseason game against Baltimore.
That sound you hear is Eagles fans everywhere collectively holding their breaths ...
"I think there are a lot of emotions. I'm excited to get back on the field, first of all," he said. "It's been a long time. Last year I felt I worked really hard to get back to being in football shape and I was ready to go. Obviously, then I got hurt again. I'm just ready to go and excited to get back out there. I think there are some butterflies in there getting back out on the field knowing that I'm going to take a few hits, get up and get going again."
Bradford's recovery from a second ACL injury, suffered last August, has been meticulously planned and executed. He didn't start taking reps in 11-on-11 training sessions until Training Camp began, and since then Bradford's program acceleration has been rapid. He's not only been taking reps, he's been performing at a high rate of efficiency. He is, to borrow the rant/phrase from former Cardinals head coach Denny Green, what the Eagles thought he would be.
And now comes a pivotal next step: True game action. No red jersey. Bradford may not play too long, but he knows Baltimore has a strong front seven and a good pass rush and that he's not going to play in bubble wrap. He's going to get hit and fall down and get right back up and move on to the next play.
Just like old times.
What does Bradford feel he needs to show on Saturday night? Just play, baby.
"I think it's just getting out there and getting a feel for the speed of the game," he said. "It's been good practicing against the Ravens this week. The tempo has picked up a little bit from what it was in our previous practices. I think just getting out there, getting a feel for the game speed, not only there guys, but our guys. I feel like everyone moves just a little bit faster, things happen a little bit quicker, just getting back into that mode."
Bradford stood on the sidelines on Sunday in the preseason-opening win over Indianapolis. He was part of the chain of communication when head coach Chip Kelly sent the play calls into the quarterback -- first Mark Sanchez, then Matt Barkley and finally, Tim Tebow.
"It's really fast, even faster than how we go in practice and I think that's part of the success that we have," he said. 'It was exciting. It was a completely different tempo on game day. Listening to Chip (Kelly, head coach) on the headset, the plays come in quick, we're trying to go as fast as possible. I thought our guys did a great job on Sunday. I think we actually snapped the ball quicker than in any practice. To see that tempo come to life was cool to see."
It was pretty obvious, at first glance, that the Eagles have a lot of offensive weapons. Plenty of them. The scheme works and it's been proven to function at a high level in the NFL. The Eagles are banking on Bradford making quick reads and good decisions and to deliver the football with "repetitive accuracy."
In a very short period of time Bradford recognizes the upside of this offense.
"I think the sky is the limit. I think if you look across the board at our offense, I think we've got depth at every position and especially the skill positions," Bradford said. "We were talking the other day -- it's nice to be able to roll in a second group with fresh legs and not miss a beat. I think that's where we're at. With the tempo that we play, I think being able to rotate guys in, having the depth to do that, I think it's just going to be another reason why this offense is going to be explosive this year.'
The wait for Bradford then, almost one year to the August 23 date in 2014 when he was injured playing for St. Louis, is nearly done. He's done everything to prepare for Saturday night. He's going in with full optimism.
"It's going to be fun to get back out there. I've missed the game so much," he said. "I'm going to go and play my game and have confidence that everything is going to be OK."