Sam Bradford the Next Drew Brees? Chip Kelly Thinks So

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The NFL off-season was filled with talk about Chip Kelly and Marcus Mariota, the match made in heaven that was so good it couldn’t possibly happen — and it didn’t. Now they’ve moved on to talking about Kelly and Sam Bradford. Kelly’s the coach so desperate for a headline, he traded for a QB coming off of two ACL tears in the same knee — or the coach so desperate to be different, he signed Tim Tebow. Much of the critique leveled at Kelly thus far has been attacking the fact that he traded a very solid QB in Nick Foles for a QB who, despite showing great promise, is consistently injured.

Bradford looks to be the star of the Eagles passing game this season.

Wikipedia

Bradford looks to be the star of the Eagles passing game this season.

In his article for ESPN, Phil Sheridan described how Kelly views the risk of trading for an injury prone quarterback like Bradford. Sheridan quoted Kelly as saying, “I don’t know any quarterback that hasn’t missed time … our research in terms of dealing with guys with two ACLs, there’s a 10 to 12 percent chance of re-injury. That’s an 88 to 90 percent chance that they’re going to be successful.” Those numbers are very interesting, as they go against the common thought process that players who are injury-prone will continue to get injured.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Bradford will have better talent around him than he had in St. Louis. The combination of a strong offensive line, talented skill position players, and a passing game based on quick passes and screens will give Bradford a much better chance of staying healthy than he had in St. Louis.

Drew Brees is what Sam Bradford could be at his best.

wikipedia

Drew Brees is what Sam Bradford could be at his best.

As Sheridan detailed, “… [Kelly] looked around and saw that elite quarterbacks only occasionally changed teams … usually because they were injured.” Also quoting Kelly, who has much bigger expectations for Bradford than most people might have thought, “We looked at everything … if you’re not going to pick No. 1 or No. 2, how do you go get a quarterback? … Drew Brees switched teams because of injury. We went down that route.” Although Kelly was not drawing a direct comparison between Bradford and Brees, it can be drawn.

At least, on how they play the game, Brees and Bradford share many similarities. Both players are at their best when allowed to stand in the pocket and throw short to intermediate timing routes. Both quarterbacks can make plays from outside the pocket when they need to, but are more at home throwing from the pocket. Bradford has also shown — although in limited fashion — the type of decision-making skills needed to be a successful west coast offense quarterback.

Bradford’s accuracy and quick decision making makes him the ideal quarterback for packaged plays as well as short passes and screens. The Bradford/Brees comparision can also be seen in the way that Kelly and Sean Payton‘s offenses are similar, with both coaches using short passes to spread the defense from sideline to sideline. Once the defense is spread out that wide, it creates seams down the middle of the field. Kelly uses these seams to run the ball for huge gains, while Payton has traditionally used it for deep passes over the middle to tight ends, slot receivers, and running backs — very similar methods, very different offenses.

Plan B?

wikipedia

Plan B?

Everything this offseason, from trading LeSean McCoy and Foles to attempting to trade up for Marcus Mariota and signing Tim Tebow has proven one thing — Chip Kelly is going to go according to his plan, no matter how crazy it seems. At the end of the day, if Bradford stays healthy, he’ll likely be a star for the Eagles and make Kelly look like a genius. If he doesn’t, perhaps Tebow can pull it off.

Top photo by Kevin Cline

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Noah Smith

Noah Smith

Noah is an undergraduate student from just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. Noah is currently pursuing a communications degree with the goal of becoming a sports journalist. Noah is a die hard Duck fan, mainly because of his obsession with football's X's and O's. In his free time he enjoys watching both pro and college football games,playing and listening to music, and drawing up his own playbooks.

  • BushCheney2016forMerica

    Philadelphia Eagles – Where NFL Players with bad knees go to retire!

  • MAITAIDUCK

    The only thing keeping Bradford from being an elite QB is his health and his knee’s. That offense is or will be great for Bradford who has a high IQ for that position. I hope for Chips sake and Bradford that he has a healthy year so we can all see if he was over rated or he really is good.

  • Cris de Campos

    It’s amazing that people make such a big deal out of Chip’s trade for Bradford.
    We saw what Foles is last year. Sanchez outperformed him. So, what do you gain from keeping him?
    If they kept him their ceiling this year most likely would have been Sanchez and your floor would have been Foles, and if that’s not true then they would have been indistinguishable.
    In the current situation they have a ceiling of a healthy Bradford and a floor of Sanchez. To me it’s pretty logical.

    • Cris de Campos

      And I don’t mean to sound down on Sanchez. I actually think he’s a very competent QB. I think he’s probably better than 10 other QBs that will be starting on Sundays. But, Bradford has the potential to be elite. If you watch his tape, it’s really hard to not notice. If you read what scouts think, really hard not to notice. If you realize several teams would have paid been bidding for him had the Rams released him, it’s hard not to notice. If you realize several teams offered Chip their 1st round for him, it’s hard not to notice.

  • Duckmark

    Ever since Foles played for ASU he would perform well in an important game and then, ultimately, self-destruct. He is one of those players who will get you almost there.