Saturday, March 14, 2015

Can the Eagles win a Super Bowl with Sam Bradford?

The new Monty Hall of the NFL when it comes to "Lets Make a Deal" is undoubtedly Eagles' head coach Chip Kelly. In just two short weeks, he has completely reshaped his team's offense with a new quarterback, two new running backs and a gaping hole in the receivers' corps.

Among a number of shocking moves, Kelly decided to trade Philly's starting quarterback Nick Foles, who had shown some tremendous promise in his first three seasons in the NFL for the St. Louis Ram's starting quarterback Sam Bradford, who was the first overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. At face value this trade appears to heavily favor the Eagles, but given the fact that Bradford has only started seven games in his last two seasons due to multiple ACL injuries, it would have to be considered a risky move at best.

The bigger question than can the Eagles win a title with Bradford at the helm would be can Bradford remain upright long enough to even have a chance to hoist the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy? He did start all 16 games in his rookie season while throwing for 3,512 yards and 18 touchdowns. He completed 60 percent of his 590 attempts while getting picked-off 15 times which is not all that bad for a first year quarterback in this league.

He only made it through 10 starts in 2011 before suffering a season-ending injury, but he did go the distance in 2012 with a full 16 starts. A season-ending knee injury limited Bradford to just seven games in 2013 and he never even made it to opening day last season after going down with another torn ACL in a preseason game.

If Bradford can stay healthy in 2015, he will have one of the best backfields in the NFL to take some pressure off the passing game with both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews now in the fold. The bigger issue could be who will Bradford be throwing the ball to when he drops back to pass. The Eagles failed to come to terms with Jeremy Maclin, so they are now without a true No. 1 wide receiver. Jordan Matthews showed some tremendous promise in his rookie season last year with 872 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches, but it remains to be seen if he can elevate his game into that No. 1 position in 2015. Riley Cooper is a decent possession receiver and both tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz have shown some excellent pass catching ability. Throw in Darren Sproules catching the ball out of the backfield and you have a decent receiving corps, but hardly one that would be considered a championship caliber one.

Getting back to my original question of can Bradford leads the Birds to the Promised Land, my answer right now would be a very non-committal maybe!

You would have to think that Kelly has a few more tricks up his sleeve to try and address a few serious holes on defense so it is hard to say what the final version of Philly's roster will look like come opening day.

One thing that I can say with a certain level of confidence is that if all of the new faces that have joined this team stay healthy for the entire 16-game regular season, the Eagles will be back in the playoffs in 2015. The problem is that this "IF" is the biggest two-letter word in the world for our beloved Birds' title hopes.

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