Posts for sam bradford

The NFL’s Ridiculous Quarterback Market

Kevin Kinkead - March 15, 2018

If I had to pick a winner in the 2018 NFL free agency sweepstakes, I’d have to go with Sam Bradford’s agent, Tom Condon.

Sammy B signed a one, year, $20 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals, with $15 million guaranteed.

This is for a 30-year-old quarterback who appeared in just two games this season before going on injured reserve. Bradford has played eight NFL seasons but has never won more than seven games and has never made a playoff appearance, yet he’s earned the following dollar amounts since entering the league in 2010:

Not sure how it happened, but he actually turned a lost season into MORE free agent money.

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Oh Cool, We’re Asking T.O. About Sam Bradford Now

Jim Adair - May 5, 2016

You’re right TMZ, this is a bad look.

Notorious for his maturity and level-headedness, Terrell Owens wants you to know that he thinks Sam Bradford is being a coward. “I think it was not a great move for Sam to want to request a trade being that they were getting a #1 pick,” T.O. said, getting the only important fact wrong. “If it were me … that’s kind of a sign of a coward, to be honest.”

He’s right, Bradford is being cowardly. Not “say you’re going to hold out because you want more money, be the center of a media circus, and then show up with such a bad attitude you get suspended by the coach” cowardly, but sure, cowardly.

Eagles – Giants: 6 Random Thoughts

Mark Saltveit - January 3, 2016

That was the perfect end to the Eagles’ crappy season — failing to lose the one game they wanted to lose. There were just as many inept tackles, turnovers, dropped passes, stuffed runs, and big third down conversions surrendered as in any game this year, but New York’s defense proved even worse than Philadelphia’s and Eli threw another pick six to spoil Tom Coughlin’s (likely) final game.

Or maybe Coughlin outsmarted Pat Shurmur, getting his team a top 10 draft pick and a trip to London next year, as his grand finale. The Eagles will pick 13th, as well as facing Seattle on the road next year and crushing the hopes of the UK Eagles fan club.

Tragically, it appears that both teams were trying their hardest to win. They are just both so bad that it’s hard to tell sometimes.

Here are six interesting developments as a terrible season thankfully shuts down.

1. Sam Bradford’s price just went up.

People who think no other teams will want Sam Bradford are crazy. At least half a dozen teams are desperate for a QB, even if you don’t factor in the likelihood that at least one aging great (Romo, Brees, P. Manning) will retire. Brandon Weeden stank out loud for Dallas, got cut, and was signed by Houston, where he won a game as a starter. Teams will definitely want Bradford.

He’s been getting better all year and notching yet another big game today will boost his price even more. It’s too early to tell if he can really be a solid starter, but if the Eagles don’t keep him, what’s the alternative? Sanchez? Gamble everything on some rookie when three of four QB prospects fail in the pros?

Sam continues to improve every week and did well with more audibles today, a great sign for whoever ends up calling plays next year. The Eagles clearly need to draft at least one QB this year and hope he develops, but they’d be foolish not to keep Bradford as their starter while new talent develops.

Oh, and by the way?

bradford eagles record

That’s even with all the wide receiver drops. Note that Sanchez’ record was set last year, also under Chip. So if you think ditching Chip Kelly and Sam Bradford is the key to a better Eagles offense, well good luck with that.

All of this means that keeping Bradford won’t be cheap. The smartest move is probably a non-exclusive franchise tag. It’s cheaper, doesn’t lock them in long term and if another team signs him away, the Eagles get two first round picks. That’s a deal they should be happy to accept.

2. The Eagles need new linebackers coaches.

Rick Minter and Bill McGovern are just not getting the job done.

After three years, Mychal Kendricks keeps overrunning plays, and he’s teaching his technique to Kiko Alonso, hobbled as he is. It’s clear that Kiko shouldn’t have kept playing after re-injuring his knee this fall, but Chip no doubt felt pressured to produce. It backfired. With the outside OLBs, Marcus Smith’s lack of development is as legendary as Kiko was supposed to be.

3. The offensive line will remain bad.

OL weakness crippled this team, especially in the run game, and it is not likely to be fixed this off-season. Arguably everyone except Lane Johnson should be replaced. Jason Peters is rapidly declining, the guards are bad and Jason Kelce was under-sized even in Chip Kelly’s highly mobile system. When the team reverts to a more power-based offense, his deficiencies will be even worse.

DeMarco Murray started the game with a 54-yard touchdown run, leading folks to wonder if Chip had been unfairly holding him back. Nope. He gained 15 yards on 11 carries the rest of the way, actually losing 4 yards total on his next three carries. He may do better if he gets a good front line, but so will Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner.

4. The Eagles have a lot of talent.

At least three very good players missed most of this year due to injury — Cody Parkey, Jordan Hicks and JaCorey Shepherd. Kiko Alonso probably should have sat out as well. They will bolster an already talented team that underachieved this year.

I’m thinking that a lot of Chip’s acquisitions — Ertz, Agholor, Matthews, Mathews, Hicks, Thurmond, Shepherd, Rowe and Bradford – will eventually prove to be great players, but they developed too slowly for the pace of the NFL.

If Chip can figure out how to speed up the process, he may turn out to be a great coach some day too. But the Eagles and their fans were in no mood to wait and hope.

5. There’s a kicker controversy brewing.

He started out badly, but Caleb Sturgis has been steadily improving all year, especially on touchbacks. He didn’t allow a single kick return today. If the Eagles are confident in the recovery of Cody Parkey, who was better on field goals than Sturgis before his groin injury, they should look to trade one of the two this spring.

Sturgis has a year remaining on his contract, and good kickers are at a premium now, especially with the longer extra point kick. The Eagles are not going to keep a kickoff specialist so they ought to take advantage of their good luck.

6. Beware of statistics.

There are some revealing stats floating around today, hopefully even in this column. But a lot of the ones I’ve seen today are misleading. For example:

— Jordan Matthews didn’t reach 1,000 yards receiving.

Who cares? He had 997. That difference is no more important than the difference between 997 and 994. It’s like the odometer on your car rolling past 100,000. It’s just a number like any other.

Before the 2014 season, several people put down Jeremy Maclin by saying “he’s never broken 1,000 yards.” OK, but he had 964, 859 and 857 his previous three years as the #2 receiver behind DeSean Jackson. And when Chip featured him, he racked up 1,314 yards.

This year, he has 1,034 as Kansas City’s top target. That’s better than his pre-Chip high of 964, but just 70 yards better. No more, no less.

Then there’s this one:

Paunil Bradford yardage

Yeah, quarterbacks get a lot of yards when their team is behind a lot and can’t run, so they have to pass all the time. You know who doesn’t get many passing yards? Russell Wilson, who ranked 15th and 16th in the NFL in passing yards en route to two consecutive Super Bowls.

paunil ertz yardage

On a related note, a decent tight end on a team that has terrible wide receivers and has to pass a lot SHOULD rack up huge numbers. The bigger mystery with Ertz is why he didn’t start to explode like this a year earlier.

And finally, a defensive stat:

Berman thurmond

Walter Thurmond was a smart acquisition for Chip Kelly, and he’s had a great year. This ruling had nothing to do with the play Thurmond made, which scored seven points either way. But it means the difference between finishing 12th in the NFL with four interceptions for the year — tied with Josh Norman and Vontae Davis — and 19th (tied with Ricardo Allen and DRC).

Eagles – Skins: 4 Bitter Lessons

Mark Saltveit - December 27, 2015

Well, that sucked. The Eagles not only lost to Washington, but ended any hope of making the playoffs even in the miserable NFC East. Yes, there’s a game left against the Giants next week. But it’s time to start looking at the bigger lessons of this season as well as this game.

1. Cutting DeSean was not the problem.

It’s amazing how many people keep repeating that the Eagles “miss DeSean” or “got nothing in return for him.” He’s simply not that good, and Washington is going to cut him after this year too, also getting “nothing in return for him.”

He’s an aging, one-dimensional receiver with a poor work ethic who’s only asset — speed — is the one that is most hurt by age. Unlike, say, Larry Fitzgerald, he’s not going to work on his game in the off-season to develop new skills that offset his natural slowing.

His heart is not really into it, which is why he skips non-mandatory workouts and spends his time on partying, music and his reality TV show. There is no better example than the pass he caught at Philadelphia’s 43-yard line with 4:35 left in the first quarter. DJax caught the ball in the middle of the field with room to run, but as Malcolm Jenkins closed he ran backwards three yards, then literally cowered as he gave himself up before the safety could tackle him.

DeMarco Murray was rightly slaughtered for sliding on a run to avoid getting hit, but if you criticized that, you have to do the same for Jackson — whose team was trailing in a game to clinch the division title at the time. At least Murray didn’t run backwards to avoid pain.

Jackson had a career year under Chip Kelly in 2013 — the only year he’s played all 16 games since his rookie year in 2008. But his production has been dropping since, from 1,332 yards to 1,169 last year. With his (somewhat vague) injuries this year, he’ll be lucky to top 500 yards, and he hasn’t returned punts well since 2011.

Fans like to say he opens up the run game as a deep threat, and his absence has been killing the Eagles run game. But Washington is 18th in the NFL in rushing this year, even with RB Alfred Morris and a much-improved offensive line. For all its problems with DeMarco Murray and the OL this year, the Eagles were much better running, 11th overall with 1,623 yards to the Skins’ 1,420. After signing DeSean, the Skins’ rushing yardage dropped a ton, from 2,164 yards in 2013 to 1,691 last year and 1,420 in 15 games this year. So, no. DeSean doesn’t help the running game. Continue Reading

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Eagles – Cardinals: 4 Developments

Mark Saltveit - December 21, 2015

The Eagles made this game more interesting than you might have expected, well into the third quarter, even as defensive backs dropped like flies. Then they started turning the ball over and giving up big runs, and the Cardinals blew them out.

Which is exactly what you would expect with an 11-2 team playing a 6-7 team. This would have been an upset comparable to the Patriots game if the Birds had pulled off the victory. Keeping it close for a while mostly just made it more painful when the predictable collapse arrived.

So what did we learn, good and bad? Here are some new developments from tonight’s game.

1. DeMarco Murray dropped off the two-deep roster.

Though he was no longer the most-used back last week against the Bills, DeMarco still had the second most carries in that game and appeared to be part of a balanced three-way rotation.

Last night, that all went away. Murray didn’t get a carry until the second half and was an afterthought at best. So, when he finally did get the ball, did he come in all angry and fresh and rip off big runs? Nope. He ran twice for a grand total of three yards.

I don’t know if he mouthed off to the coaches, or they just finally admitted that he sucks and feeding him more snaps isn’t going to fix it.

Unfortunately, Ryan Mathews didn’t exactly seize the opportunity to cement himself as the number one back. He piled up 58 yards on 11 carries, including a 20 yard gain, but also fumbled away a drive, and miscommunicated with Sam Bradford on a short pass, leading to a pick six. And he failed to get the first down on a fourth-and-one at the Arizona 8, though the play call and blocking had a lot to do with that. Continue Reading

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Eagles – Patriots: Christmas Comes Early

Mark Saltveit - December 6, 2015

Just when the Eagles looked like they were hitting an all-time low, they string us out on a heaven’s high. Would you prefer to be an even-tempered, slightly above average Chiefs fan? Not me. This is the payoff that makes it worth it.

Everything was unpredictable about this game, to everyone except Kyle (who called the win).. Except that the NFL seems to work that way. As soon as something is obvious to everyone, you can be sure it isn’t going to happen. This is a Sunday where Blaine Gabbert not only led his team to victory, but also had a higher quarterback rating than Tom Brady and four times more rushing yards than Adrian Peterson.

So yeah, it’s crazy that the Patriots even struggled, much less lost, but it was sort of predictable. And their near-comeback from 21 points down was predictable, too. Tommy Lawlor called it:

tommy lawlors tweet about nervous with lead

But even given all that anti-logic, this was a crazy game. Here are five especially surprising miracles from today’s game.

1) The heroes of the game

Malcolm Jenkins and Connor Barwin did well, which is no surprise. It’s great that Jason Peters rallied despite injuries to throw a crucial block on third down and allow Bradford to extend the Eagles’ final drive. But he’s a stud. You expect that. Ditto Sproles’ big plays.

But no one predicted Riley Cooper would make two clutch, late plays to seal the victory — first, slapping an onside kick out of bounds, then catching the 14-yard pass that Peters’ block made possible.

We knew Tom Brady would try to pick on rookie Eric Rowe, since Nolan Carroll is out for the season with a broken ankle. We did not expect Rowe to break up the first and last plays of the Patriot’s final drive with two crucial shutdowns. Continue Reading

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Eagles – Bucs: 6 Good Things That Turned Bad

Mark Saltveit - November 22, 2015

A lot went wrong in this game, obviously. All of the Eagles linebackers were terrible, which is why Tampa broke big runs in the first half. Kiko Alonso gave up a TD to an unknown TE (Cameron Brate) that he was covering just by not turning around. On a third and three from the eight yard line.

The Bucs kept making big plays with simple formations that Philadelphia couldn’t adjust to, empty sets and Stanford-style extended offensive lines. Vincent Jackson scored a TD on a play where he and a TE were the only likely receivers. The odds were about 97% that they were passing to Jackson, but the Eagles played off of him and it was an easy TD. There was no reason not to double team him. Hell, triple team him.

But the most frustrating part of the game for me was how even the good things that happened for Philly just set up worse things to follow.

1. Near miss turnovers.

The Eagles gamble on a lot of turnovers, and often do well by it. They lead the NFL in forced fumbles. But it can also bite them.

At the start of the second quarter, the Eagles forced two fumbles in a stretch of three plays, but couldn’t come up with the ball. At least that resulted in a punt.

Near the end of the first half, the Birds batted down (and nearly intercepted) two passes — after which Charles Sims made an amazing catch for a touchdown on the next play. Byron Maxwell tried for an interception at the one yard line instead of breaking up Sims’ catch, which he easily could have done with a hard hit. Touchdown, Tampa Bay with 1:05 left in first half.

2. Over-aggressive play.

The Eagles clearly gave up in the second half, or (at least for the defense) maybe were just too exhausted to play hard. But when they did throw themselves into the game , that often helped the Bucs too.

Zach Ertz knocked himself out of the game attempting to vault over a defender on a shot pass that wasn’t going anywhere. He flipped and landed painfully on his head and neck, suffering a concussion. With only four days until the next game on Thanksgiving, there’s no way he’ll clear the protocol in time to play against Detroit.

There were three neutral zone infractions by linemen trying to get a jump on the pass rush, and one by Brandon Graham in the first half extended the drive that later included Doug Martin’s 58 yard run, and the Bucs first touchdown.

3. Josh Huff trying to do it all.

Huff had a great 39-yard catch and run for the Bird’s first touchdown, and 40- and 30-yard kick returns. But he also ran out a couple of kickoffs he probably should have downed. That resulted in a Philadelphia drives that started at the 8, and a weird confused handoff attempt with Riley Cooper that only got to the 16. Last year, he got injured and missed the first part of the season attempting to make something happen on a similar deep kick in a preseason game.
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Does Sam Bradford Need Contacts?

Mark Saltveit - November 17, 2015

Sam Bradford had a pretty good game against Miami before he got injured. But looking at the coaches’ tape emphasizes how skewed he was in favor of short passes. The three big catch-and-runs to Brent Celek hid this fact statistically, but Bradford left a lot of meat on the bone with his reluctance to throw long. Either he just hates to throw long, or he literally can’t see receivers more than 8 yards away. Let’s chip in to get the man an eye exam.

This was a big factor when things started to sour in the second quarter. Just after the two minute warning, Sam threw short of the sticks on 3rd and five — which takes some effort — but Huff fought through three defenders to get the first down anyway.

Then, after a run was stuffed, it was 2nd and 14. Bradford threw to Sproles just over the line of scrimmage, even though he had Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews five yards down field, crossing each other on mesh routes, wide open. Yes, Sproles is good in the open field, but on this play he was flat-footed and facing the backfield, while Agholor and Matthews (if hit in stride) were in much better position to run past nearby defenders for a big gain.

Sproles in the flat? Why?

Sproles in the flat? Why?

Even if they were tackled immediately, they would have had five more yards than Sproles got. No matter how short the passes available to him are, Bradford seems more comfortable throwing shorter yet.

The following play was 3rd and 12. (See the photo at the top of this post.) Cooper came wide open running an out from the seam, safely past the sticks. Sam threw instead to Ertz, with two men on him, six yards short of a first down. (He also threw behind him, resulting in an incompletion and a punt.)

When a short catch-and-run might have been a good choice, Bradford still picked the wrong one. On the play right before the blocked punt, facing 3rd and 14, he didn’t wait quite long enough for the stick route by Huff to develop, out near the first down marker. Instead, he threw at Ryan Mathews in the flat, 12 yards short of the promised land.

Checkdown to Mathews; Ertz was wide open, Huff had a stick route

Checkdown to Mathews; Ertz was wide open, Huff had a stick route

OK, I don’t have to face Ndamukong Suh racing in to flatten me. I get that. But there were two check down receivers wide open on the play– Mathews running toward the left sideline and Zach Ertz mid-field. Sam threw to (and way behind) Mathews, who spun counter-clockwise to get his hands on it but couldn’t hang on. But even if he had pulled it in, or Bradford had hit him in stride, the odds of getting the first down were very slim. All the closing CB had to do was push him out of bounds, with Mathews’ own momentum helping.

Ertz was on the right hash mark with room to run, and Eagles tight ends already had 120 yards on three tight end crosses at that point in the game. I still think the longer pass to Huff was the better choice, despite a tighter window, but hitting Ertz in stride was the only way a short pass was going to pick up this first down.

Sam Bradford was generally pretty good Sunday (19-25 for 236 yards, 1 TD), and I haven’t given up on him yet as a quarterback. He has even shown he can go long, in the Washington game. But he defaults to ultra-short, and the Eagles’ coaches need to correct this tendency. Bradford now has a couple of weeks to study film all day and get on top of this. If he doesn’t, I’ll join everyone else in concluding he has no upside worth exploring.

UPDATE: Some commenters argued that the first picture was taken after the ball was thrown and reflected the DBs moving to the ball. OK, here’s an earlier still taken as the ball was thrown. That cornerback (McCain) was not in any position to contest a sideline pass to Cooper. He was flat-footed and never dropped below the 36, while Cooper was in stride crossing the 30 and headed downfield. The other CB, Jamar Taylor, actually would have been in a better position to make a play but he was plastered to Miles Austin and going the other direction full speed.

Mathews INC as Bradford threw; McCain flat-footed at the 36

Mathews INC as Bradford threw; McCain flat-footed at the 36