There is something different here, Sam Bradford knows, as he prepares for his first NFL start since October 20, 2013 when Bradford played for the St. Louis Rams. That day he was hit on the sidelines in a game against Carolina, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and then promptly missed the 2014 season with the same injury.
Long time, then. A swell of emotions have come and gone. Bradford is back now, and he's ready to take this offense and take it to its heights and that's really all that matters. He has gone through the ups and downs of two rehabilitations and he's got his head on straight. There is no holding back.
"Now I think I just enjoy things a little bit more, take some time to enjoy the small things out there and just have fun, because you never know when it's going to be taken away from you," Bradford said on Wednesday. "Besides the normal excitement and jitters, I'm just going to be myself out there.
"Who wouldn't be excited? Especially, I don't even know how long, a year, a year and seven months, I mean, nine months since I've played a regular season. I don't even know how long it's been but opening day is always exciting and when you haven't played in so long, I'm that much more excited to get out there and play."
Bradford played in two preseason games and the Eagles scored touchdowns on each of his four possessions. He was 13-of-15 passing, with three touchdowns. The expectations for this offense are high, then. The Eagles have a lot of weapons.
A national television audience will be watching.
"We're just going to go out and do what we do and execute our offense," Bradford said. "That's all. We're going to run our stuff. We're not going to do anything crazy."
Bradford is familiar with the defensive concepts run by the Falcons, who are coached by former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. It's not a complicated scheme, and that enables Atlanta to do what they do efficiently and effectively.
"We're expecting a lot of single high (safety). They're going to try to crowd the box and take away the run," Bradford said. "They're not overly complicated in what they do if it's similar, which it is, to what we've seen from Seattle in the past, from what I've seen, but they're really good at what they do. If you don't play a lot of coverage, you become really good at what you do.
"We have to be ready and be disciplined and take what's there."