Photo By Jeff Fusco
Leading up to training camp on August 2, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We’ve covered the running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and the offensive line so far. Today, we’ll take a look at the quarterbacks.
The pressing question: Will there be a legitimate QB competition during camp and the preseason?
The answer is yes. You’ll hear some suggest that Chip Kelly didn’t give up a second-round pick and Nick Foles to pay Sam Bradford $13 million as a backup quarterback. And in a general sense, that’s true. The Eagles acquired Bradford to be the starter.
But as we’ve discussed before, Kelly’s entire operation is based on competition, and if Mark Sanchez clearly outperforms Bradford in August, he’ll be the one getting the nod in Week 1 against the Falcons. It really is that simple with Kelly.
“I think it’s always an open competition,” Kelly said last month. “You still have to go out and earn your jobs. If Sam throws 14 interceptions and Mark throws 14 touchdowns, I can’t sit there and tell the team that Sam’s going to start and Mark’s not going to start. It doesn’t work that way.” Read more »
Photo courtesy of USA Today
Here is a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.
Peter King of MMQB lists Sam Bradford’s progress as one of the most interesting stories heading into training camp:
Chip Kelly better know what he’s doing. (Somehow, I don’t think that’s the first time that’s been said this off-season.) In the 31 months since New Year’s Day 2013, Bradford, the first pick in the 2010 draft, has played seven football games. He’s lost four. His 2013 and 2014 seasons were both ended by a torn ACL. Kelly acquired Bradford from the Rams in March, then tried like crazy to trade for Marcus Mariota six weeks later. And so this is a mildly important training camp for Bradford. And for Kelly.
NFL Analyst Mike Mayock praised Kelly’s offseason moves:
“Oh, I don’t think there’s any doubt they’re better,” Mayock said. “Again, they were 22nd in points allowed last year and they gave up all kinds of yards. They’re gonna get better on defense and if they take care of the ball on offense, run the ball with DeMarco—we keep forgetting about DeMarco Murray and running the football again. Run the ball, take care of Sam Bradford. Yeah, I think they’re a better football team.” Read more »
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Today’s question comes from reader Nick, via Twitter:
I don’t think it’s a college notion, and I hear what you’re saying Nick, but Chip Kelly is talking strictly about injury when he says he needs two quarterbacks. And it’s not a controversial opinion. Coaches around the league would agree.
When you look at Kelly specifically, he lost Michael Vick in Year 1 to injury, then lost Nick Foles and had to play a rookie in Matt Barkley. Last year, Kelly lost Foles and had to go to his backup again. Now he’s rolling the dice on Sam Bradford, so he better have a capable backup.
In 2013, Kelly held a true QB competition between Vick and Foles. In Year 2, though, Kelly was clear that Foles would start and Sanchez would back him up. He may have paid lip service to the whole “competition” notion, but Kelly had his starter before training camp had opened. Foles had earned that with his performance in 2013. It’s not like he was going into the season anticipating both QBs playing.
What about this year?
Read more »
Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco
A good number of Eagles gathered in San Diego this week to get some work and a little bonding time in before the start of training camp.
There were 11 team members in all, including Mark Sanchez, Darren Sproles and Zach Ertz, who joined forces to host their own mini minicamp of sorts.
Sanchez has held offseason get-togethers dating back to his New York days — a week that was once known as “Jets West.” This year was more of a collaborative effort, as it was conducted with the help of renowned trainer Todd Durkin and his staff at Fitness Quest 10. Durkin, whose client list includes stars such as LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees, has been working with Sproles for the past seven years and with Ertz since February. Together, they came up with a comprehensive program for the week.
“Every day they’ve had field work where they’ve been on the field and doing their install,” said Durkin. “After they do the weight room work they go over to the high school and they watch film for about an hour and then we do our warm-up with them and bring them through all their agility and movement stuff, and then Mark leads their install and they do all that.” Read more »
Steve Weatherford (Noah K. Murray/USA Today)
It’s not exactly LeSean McCoy vs. Osi Umenyiora.
But it’s June 28, so it’s something.
Giants punter Steve Weatherford appeared on WFAN recently and took a jab at the Eagles quarterbacks, according to NJ.com. Weatherford said he wouldn’t want Tim Tebow taking any snaps for his team and then weighed in on Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford. Read more »
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Here is what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell, a Charleston native, discussed last week’s shootings in Robert Klemko’s Monday Morning Quarterback:
“When it happens in your hometown, you have a different perspective,” Maxwell told me by phone Thursday night. “When it’s about race, it affects everybody. Honestly, that could’ve been my family. He could’ve walked in anybody’s church and did that. It’s hard to accept that.”
“At first you feel shock. Anger. Disgust. Then the next question is, what do we do about it?” he said. “How do we stop things like this from happening?” Read more »
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Further evidence surfaced this week that the Eagles are trying to lock up Sam Bradford. NFL.com’s Albert Breer echoed earlier reports that the Eagles and Bradford have had preliminary contract talks, but that no real progress has been made to this point.
The issue, as we’ve laid out previously, is that Bradford doesn’t have a ton of incentive to sign a deal right now. He has already banked $65 million over his career and is scheduled to make an additional $13 million this season. The 27-year-old isn’t exactly hard up for cash. He can afford to bet on himself. Given that he is coming off a pair of ACL tears, his leverage isn’t at its max at the moment. Any offer would probably reflect that. That leverage shoots north for the free-agent-to-be, however, if he thrives this season under Chip Kelly.
So it won’t be easy, but they’re trying to find some common ground. And who knows? Maybe they will.
Kelly was asked: If something were to get done before camp, wouldn’t that essentially eliminate a true quarterback competition? Read more »
JaCorey Shepherd and Eric Rowe. (Photo by Jeff Fusco)
Here’s what we saw during today’s session.
12:23 – We’ve mentioned on multiple occasions how Eagles vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz quarterbacks certain drills during practice. Chip Kelly was asked about that today.
“Every person in this building that can contribute is out there contributing,” Kelly said. “You’ll see guys that are in the video room catching passes. You’ve got guys out there with referee shirts spotting the ball for us. So anybody that can help us and make us better in practice can do it, and I’ve seen Ed throw. Ed can throw. He actually throws a couple times when we’ve been out on Pro Days or college visits, and it helps Cory [Undlin] coach. Instead of Cory being the guy that throws the ball in those drills, he’s got someone like Ed that can throw it.”
12:39 – I was asked recently to compare Sam Bradford’s arm strength to a number of different quarterbacks. Based on what I saw of him on film in St. Louis and what I’ve seen in practice, here’s how I would rank it (assuming full health): Read more »
Brett Brown and Chip Kelly.
Here’s what we saw during Eagles OTAs on Monday.
12:25 – A shoutout to Andy Reid off the top today. We’ll start with injuries. DeMeco Ryans, Marcus Smith II, Earl Wolff and Julian Vandervelde are working off to the side. Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles are not here. The Eagles did not provide any reasons why. The OTAs are voluntary.
12:30 – I hate to keep providing video of the defensive linemen, but they are the guys who have been practicing closest to us. Here, they’re working on their pass-rush and their hands with Jerry Azzinaro. Read more »
Photo by Jeff Fusco
The crowd around Tim Tebow last week was ran deep. His fame outweighs his production, but this was the first time reporters had a chance to talk to Tebow in an Eagles uniform.
The gathering around Sam Bradford was huge too. He barely participated in practice, but there’s a lot riding on his surgically repaired left knee.
And then there’s Mark Sanchez, the quarterback who started eight games last season and has been lining up with the first team this spring. The group of reporters was smaller, but Sanchez touched on a variety of topics, including what his expectations are and why he chose to come back to Philadelphia.
When Sanchez re-signed, he expected to be competing with Nick Foles. But a couple days after he made his decision, the Eagles swapped Foles for Bradford.
“Whether I was surprised or not, I knew there was gonna be competition either way,” Sanchez said. “I had a great relationship with Nick so I expected to compete with him, but when that didn’t happen, I knew Sam was gonna be another guy in the quarterback room. And all of us are competing to play. Read more »