Sam Bradford Isn’t a Championship Quarterback

Missanelli: We were duped.

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The Philadelphia Eagles find themselves in a quagmire of an NFL season with two directions: With several wins in a row they hey can re-establish their pre-season status as one of the better teams in the NFC, or they could go down the drain faster than a dropped Advil in the sink.

(Think about it, have you dropped an aspirin and saved it from sliding down the black hole?)

As I look out unto the football landscape, I see more bad things going on with the Eagles from this point than good. The bad deals mostly with the quarterback Sam Bradford. There are two schools of thought with Bradford. One, he is a quarterback still on the mend, both physically and mentally. Coming off of two ACL surgeries, Bradford is said to need more time to find his groove playing the most trying position in the NFL. The other theory, the one I believe most, is that Bradford has lost his edge as a professional player, that battled by injuries and inconsistencies in his pro career, he no longer possesses the requite competitive instinct needed to succeed at the championship level.

The Eagles quarterback looks skittish in the pocket, as if he no longer has confidence that his battered lower body can hold up fighting off angry, rushing NFL behemoths. His immobility prevents his coach Chip Kelly from running any formation that includes Kelly’s vaunted read-option. And Bradford has very few big play teammates that can make things easier on him.

We were duped. Bradford was merely the alternative to a dream, a dream that Kelly could somehow land Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in the NFL draft. Bradford was a plan B for Kelly. The Eagles coach didn’t like Nick Foles, his quarterback for the better part of two 10-6 seasons. So he figured, at the very least, even if he couldn’t land Mariota, he’d have a better quarterback than Foles with Sam Bradford. We were duped by that notion and also by that one game in the pre-season where Bradford was on fire against the Green Bay Packers, completing 10 of 11 passes in one brilliant third quarter flurry. Since then, Bradford has been a mirage.

What is the best the Eagles can do this year? They have been exposed, cut down from a team many experts thought could go 12-4 and play for the NFC title to a team that has playoff hopes on basic life support. I see an Eagles team that will be 3-3 after six games this season. With 10 games left, the best they can do I think is 6-4, which would put them at 9-7 and out of the playoffs. Yes, I know it’s a weak division and the next best contender, the Dallas Cowboys, will be playing a large amount of their season without stars Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.

But how much better can the Eagles get? Can Bradford blossom into Aaron Rodgers? Will his weak receiving corps, with starters Riley Cooper and Josh Huff (with tentative rookie Nelson Agholor) somehow turn into Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens?

A season we all thought could be championship caliber has turned, quickly, into a season on the brink.

Mike Missanelli is on 97.5 FM The Fanatic every week day from 2 to 6 p.m. He’s also on Comcast Sports Net’s Breakfast on Broad on Mondays and Wednesdays. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMiss975.