Signs Of Encouragement For Bradford
During a seven-on-seven period at Monday’s practice, Sam Bradford set up in shotgun, dropped back, surveyed the field and lofted a ball down the right seam.
It was a beauty, hitting Zach Ertz in stride over the outstretched arms of inside linebacker Najee Goode.
The spring has featured several updates on Bradford’s left knee, and that will continue throughout the summer. But Monday offered encouraging signs as Bradford participated in more of OTAs than he had up to this point.
“Everything the past couple weeks has gone exactly how we wanted it to, and I think we’re gonna keep going with the plan,” Bradford said afterwards.
“They’ve been monitoring my workload, and it’s been increasing 10 to 15 percent each week, and I think we’re just gonna keep that increase.”
Fans in the Delaware Valley want a timetable, but Bradford is hesitant to provide one. The date that will bring about either hope or panic is Aug. 2. That’s when the Eagles start training camp.
“I hope so,” Bradford said when asked if he’ll be 100 percent at that time. “I’m excited about that date. I think if everything continues the way it has, I’ll be ready for that.
“You don’t want to set concrete dates because you set a concrete date, and then you don’t make it, and you feel like it’s a setback or a disappointment. We continue to take it day by day. Like I’ve told you guys probably 10 times already, if we keep going the way we’re going, we’re gonna be in good shape.”
It’s impossible to observe Bradford and not notice the black brace on his left knee. He’s worn it every day at practice but is unsure whether he’ll keep it on once the game starts.
“When Coach [Jeff] Fisher got to St. Louis, we had to start playing with them, so I’ve played with them the past three years,” Bradford said, adding that the brace doesn’t inhibit him. “Obviously I don’t think they’ve really worked the past couple years. But I’m sure as we get closer to the season, I’ll sit down with the training staff here and we’ll have that discussion.”
In terms of the mental aspect, Bradford sounds confident that picking up the offense will not be an issue. Chip Kelly values accuracy and decision-making in his quarterbacks. The coaching staff and front office clearly felt Bradford could excel in those areas, or they wouldn’t have traded for him.
Asked what he likes about the offense, Bradford said: “The ball comes out. There’s a lot of options. We’ve got a lot of playmakers. It reminds me of when I was at Oklahoma. My job is just to distribute the ball and get the ball to those guys.
“I think this is my fourth or fifth offense in six years. I’ve seen a lot of different plays, a lot of different offenses. I’ve ran variations of all the plays that we’re running now. I think it’s just a matter of getting out there and developing the chemistry with the guys who are out there with me.”
The Eagles put an emphasis on reconditioning, which requires preparing the entire body for competition, not just rehabbing the specific injury.
Bradford said the other aspects of training, aside from the knee, are still developing.
“Obviously when you don’t play football for a year, I think the mind slows down a little bit,” he said. “You can watch as much tape as you want. You can try to simulate as many things as you want. But to get out there and actually make those decisions in a split second, I think I’ve noticed each day I’ve gotten out here, it’s gotten a little bit better, and it’s gotten closer to normal. Last week, it was a little rusty. I felt like everything was going about a hundred miles an hour, but I feel like each day it comes back.”