Philadelphia Eagles News

Good Early Signs For QB Sam Bradford

We're in a hurry. We're trying to fast forward a situation that requires patience and understanding. Sam Bradford, Eagles quarterback, is "good to go," he says and for right now that's the best news of all.

That Bradford was back on the field at the NovaCare Complex on Monday after taking all of his first-team reps on Sunday and that there are no reported problems with swelling or discomfort in his twice-repaired left knee is encouraging.

Many, then, want to jump ahead and position Bradford in a game situation and visualize how he will play in this offensive scheme and predict which receivers he will have the best connection with and, egads, wonder if a mid-round fantasy football league draft pick on Bradford would pay dividends.

In our instant-gratification world, the asks are understandable. It is, after all, a microwave world in which we live. But in this instance, there is no choice but to abide by the process. And the edict is that Bradford is a day-by-day proposition.

The Eagles know this and they're all over Bradford. This is not a short-term investment, even with Bradford on a one-year contract. The idea is to get him healthy (he's 100 percent as far as Training Camp goes) and to keep him that way, to knock off the rust accumulated from nearly two seasons without game action, and to let him loose when September 14 and the 2015 regular-season opener arrives in Atlanta.

"We don't have any restrictions in talking to the trainers and doctors on him right now, but that doesn't mean two days from now, if something flares up, we'll have to handle it," head coach Chip Kelly said on Sunday as Camp opened. "But right now, we are not anticipating a situation where we say, 'Hey, he is going to practice today and tomorrow we'll take him off.' Right now he's going to go until we see how his knee responds. He's had a great (offseason) when you talk to him, he feels really confident. I think he's right on track to where he wanted to be."

Bradford has some rust to knock off here and he knows it. The timing isn't quite there and the chemistry with his receivers continues to develop. Sunday, after all, was the first 11-on-11 work he's done in a calendar year. He knows that the steps he's taking are gradual, and very important. What matters is that Bradford continues to move in the right direction, with eyes on September 14.

The lingering questions are many. How many Training Camp reps does Bradford need to get in his comfort zone? How much will head coach Chip Kelly use Bradford in the preseason games? How does the offensive scheme change with Bradford on the field? Would Bradford be mobile enough to run the read option? Would Kelly risk exposing Bradford to injury in that scenario?

Because the Eagles take so many reps in these training sessions, they'll have all four quarterbacks -- including Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow -- well versed in the offense. Bradford is going to get his work. At the same time, there is way the Eagles can rush him, or skip steps, or become impatient after exercising so much patience since acquiring Bradford in the March 10 trade with St. Louis.

I know everyone wants to look ahead. I know there are members of the media charting every throw and keeping statistics and blowing up every dropback Bradford makes and every snap Bradford takes. It's over the top, but that's the nature of the NFL.

The word here is that Bradford is making the right kind of progress and that the Eagles are hopeful, but understanding of the big picture. It's a day-by-day deal here, and it's going to be be that way all season. Bradford has terrific skills and is an elite talent, but he has to stay healthy to thrive in this offense.

Day 2 was better than Day 1. Bradford is on the field and looking good. Take that and know it's the best-case scenario we're talking about for a quarterback who has so many steps to take before he is ready to go in the regular season.

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