Reasons to believe in Sam Bradford’s big preseason

Eagles QB Sam Bradford was 10-for-10 with 3 TDs Saturday versus the Packers. Will that success extend to the regular season?

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Reasons to believe in Sam Bradford’s big preseason


New Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Sam Bradford put up some impressive numbers in the Eagles’ preseason win over the Packers on Saturday, completing all 10 of his passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns.

We don’t yet have grades of his performance — we’ll update those on the website once we do — but what our data of past seasons can tell us is this: If Bradford is able to stay healthy this season, he could have a good year as the Eagles’ starting QB.

For one, Bradford quietly earned a positive grade from us in each of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. His PFF rating entering the season is 70.6, which ranks No. 23 in the NFL, just behind Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler. Eagles fans may not be too excited about that company for Bradford, but what it does say is that based on how he has played in the league to this point, he is in the range of other league-average passers.

The reason why that is encouraging is because most of the excitement over Bradford is tied up in the potential of what he can do for Philadelphia — both based on whether he can stay healthy, and how much better he’ll be playing in Chip Kelly’s offense.

We’ve seen what the latter has meant for QBs in the form of Nick Foles’ 2013 season, during which he ranked No. 1 in PFF’s QB rating, No. 5 in accuracy when under pressure, No. 6 in overall accuracy percentage and No. 7 in deep-ball accuracy. Some of those numbers were a little inflated — in our grading system, Foles ranked just 17th in the league in 2013 — but it does go to show the potential for a previously average NFL quarterback to perform very well for Kelly’s Philadelphia offense.

Moreover, the key trait that presented itself more than once in those stats is accuracy, and as colleague Nathan Jahnke noted previously, that’s an area in which Bradford has stood out during his injury-limited career.

None of this evidence provides the same confidence level that, say, Aaron Rodgers’ PFF grades over the last five years would. Nobody is doubting that Rodgers should have another outstanding season in 2015, whereas we are left projecting with Bradford based on his limited play to this point in his career, while also taking into account his considerable injury history and whether he’ll even be able to stay healthy for a full season.

But Eagles fans can feel good about two key factors: 1.) When he has been on the field, Bradford has been a slightly above-average NFL quarterback. 2.) In Kelly’s offense, that could translate into a really good year.

| Editor-in-Chief

Jeff is the Editor-in-Chief of PFF, and a regular contributor to The Washington Post's NFL coverage. He previously worked as the editor for ESPN Insider's NFL, Fantasy, and College Football coverage.

  • Joseph Edward IV

    So we Eagles fans will have to hold our breath all season and offer positive vibes to try and insure that Bradford STAYS HEALTHY! It looks like he has good weapons at hand, and his accuracy was beautiful last night, so there are reasons to believe that Bradford may be the guy Chip Kelly wanted for this team (though we all know that he really wanted Mariota).

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  • Anthony Digiglio

    I CANT WAIT UNTIL BRADFORD DOMINATES, THEN ALL YOU NAH SAYERS AND PEOPLE THAT DONT WANT TO PUT DUE STOCK IN HIM, WILL BE FACED WITH YOUR FOOT IN YOUR MOUTH…IT SHOULD BE SQUARLEY UP YOUR ASS THOUGH !

    • Tim Edell

      Very intelligent comment!

      • Anthony Digiglio

        well when you have to type fast, that happens. you all get the point. don’t be mad, its ok.

    • cka2nd

      I hope Bradford is healthy and plays well this season but your spelling and grammar need work:

      “can’t”

      “naysayers”

      “don’t”

      “…in him will be faced…” – the comma wasn’t needed

      “squarely”

      “though!” – the space wasn’t needed

      • Anthony Digiglio

        well, my typing may be terrible, you get the point. shows how much of a hater you are if your come back is about my typing . lol. loser

        • cka2nd

          What I hate is the abuse of the English language that I hear every single day on TV and read every time I am on the internet. I have my own faults as a writer but I at least try to copy edit anything I am about to post. You’d benefit from doing the same.

  • crosseyedlemon

    The over/under for games Bradford can play before getting hurt again for the umpteeth time is probably about 5 or 6. Team trainers are always assured of staying employed when Sam is around.