Bradford appeared in total command of the huddle during Thursday’s training camp practice at the NovaCare Complex, making sharp throws and dazzling teammates while Sanchez, his only competitor for the starting job, endured ups and downs.
Bradford, who’s coming back from two ACL tears in a 10-month span and wasn’t medically cleared for full practice until the start of training camp, shined in the 7-on-7s, team drills and was the only quarterback to lead the offense to paydirt in the hurry-up drill near the end of practice.
“He was throwing lots of touchdowns today,” right tackle Lane Johnson said. “He’s very accurate. I haven’t seen accuracy like that from a quarterback in a long time.”
Bradford, who’s shown as-advertised accuracy throughout camp, came out firing, starting with the first set of 7s. He arced a pretty fade over rookie cornerback Eric Rowe into the hands of Riley Cooper down the left side and then rifled his next pass in the end zone to tight end Trey Burton. He connected with Burton again during a red-zone 11-on-11 drill for another touchdown and found Seyi Ajirotutu in the left corner of the end zone for another.
After a slow start on day one of camp, Bradford seems to be finding his way. It's still only camp, and we all know the key to Bradford is going to be staying healthy, but so far the news is encouraging for adding Bradford to a deep fantasy QB class. He continues to be one of those many QB2 options who has fantasy upside to succeed in the Eagles offensive system.
If Eagles HC Chip Kelly needed to pick a starter right this second, no question he’d hand the ball to Sam Bradford and direct Mark Sanchez toward the sideline. Bradford masterfully picked apart the defense and threw with more confidence than he’d shown since the start of camp. In 7-on-7s, he arced a lovely fade to Riley Cooper past Eric Rowe that set up his TD pass to Trey Burton on the very next play. In red zone drills, he zipped another TD pass to Burton, and then another TD on a fade to Seyi Ajirotutu. In the hurry-up drill at the end of practice, with 63 ticks on the clock and the ball near midfield, he was the only quarterback to lead the offense to a touchdown. Bradford’s consistency is key. The other three QBs tend to have good and bad days. Bradford has some down moments but is stringing together some pretty good practices.
Over the last two seasons, Philadelphia quarterbacks have averaged 16.7 passing game-only fantasy points. Bradford isn’t much of a runner, but he adds about 0.7 FP per game as a rusher. That adds up to 17.4 FP, or about what Eli Manning averaged as the #10 QB in 2014. The Eagles’ offense has lost their top receiver – DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin – in each of the last two seasons, but Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz are emerging and the team added Nelson Agholor in the draft. If Bradford ends up starting for the Eagles, we wouldn’t expect anything more than high-end QB2 numbers, but this is a definite system upgrade due to the overall effectiveness of Chip Kelly’s offense.
Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane:
The Zach Ertz Catch of the Day had been a part of the last note in my observations after the previous two practices, but it deserves to go straight to the top after the tight end’s performance on Tuesday. Ertz had several standout moments, but his best grab came late in the session. QB Mark Sanchez threw a pass just slightly behind Ertz on a seam route, but with great body control he went up for the ball over LB Mychal Kendricks and came down with the catch. Ertz was slow to get up, but walked it off and returned. But that wasn’t all. During one series, he caught all three passes from Sanchez – a comebacker, a toss over the middle with LB Jordan Hicks on his back, and on a crosser. Ertz continues to work with the second team offense behind Brent Celek.
Ertz was the #13 TE in both standard and PPR formats despite only playing half of the Eagles’ snaps in his second year. Most (73%) of his snaps came on passing downs, so if his playing time is going to increase, a majority of the additional snaps are likely to come in run formations. Still, there’s upside with Ertz if he begins to see starter’s snaps. The Eagles lost their leading receiver -- first DeSean Jackson and then Jeremy Maclin -- in back-to-back seasons, so there will be opportunity from a targets standpoint.
Monday, August 3, 2015, 4:19pm
Eagles camp notes from Monday:
- Jordan Matthews gets my “Camper of the Day” award. Practices that limit contact tend to highlight the passing game and those mostly involved, but Matthews had a standout performance by any estimate. He did most of his damage from the slot. I think we’ll see more of Matthews on the outside than we did last year, but why limit his effectiveness when there probably isn’t another option as comparable on the roster? Most of his catches came from Sam Bradford and there were a variety.
- DeMarco Murray was back in action after sitting out team and 7-on-7 drills yesterday. He said it was a coach’s decision to limit his action on the first day of camp. I’m not sure why he would need to rest after a six-week layoff, but he looked fine on Monday. He didn’t seem to go 100 percent when he was involved, but after last season when he logged almost 500 touches, it doesn’t seem necessary for Murray to push himself this early.
- A day after taking all of the first team repetitions at quarterback, Bradford was under center for the majority. He looked a little more comfortable on Day 2.
- Mark Sanchez took his first series of snaps with the first team. I’m not sure that constitutes as a quarterback competition, but it’s a start. His best toss during the series was downfield to Huff on a comeback route. Working with the second team, Sanchez knew who would butter his bread. He kept going to Nelson Agholor on the outside. The rookie wide receiver continued to get the best of rookie corner Eric Rowe. Contact at the line is limited, so I wouldn’t make any assumptions about Rowe just yet, but Agholor has looked more than competent.
- Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow split third team reps again. If Kelly wants a pure quarterback at the third spot, the job is clearly Barkley’s. But if he wants someone that has an “X” factor or can be effective in zone read plays, then Tebow would seem to have the advantage.
Monday, July 6, 2015, 9:35am
It's fair to say that Eagles head coach Chip Kelly pulled the rip cord on the entire quarterback position this offseason.
Not only did Kelly trade Nick Foles and a second-round draft pick to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for Sam Bradford and a draft choice, but Kelly also installed Ryan Day as the third quarterback's coach the third-year head coach will work with in the NFL.
Day quarterbacked Kelly's offense when he was the signal caller at the University of New Hampshire and Kelly called the plays as the Wildcats' offensive coordinator. He knows how to thrive in the uptempo scheme.
Throughout the spring, QB Sam Bradford shined, albeit in a limited role while still recovering from his twice-torn ACL. Bradford has yet to throw 11 on 11 in practice, but the target for that next step appears to have been training camp, all along.
Bradford ran a similar offense at Oklahoma so there are some high hopes for Bradford as an Eagles this year. Staying on the field, however, will obviously be the key. Right now Bradford has QB2 value, but that could climb if he stays healthy heading into and through camp. We've seen Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez put up solid fantasy numbers in this offense and a healthy Bradford should be able to do the same.
At this point it is clear that Mark Sanchez is ahead of San Bradford when it comes to his ability to move the offense. Sanchez was on fire during both the seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills, getting his team into the endzone twice. Sanchez's best throw of the day came to tight end Brent Celek, who he hit for a touchdown over the fingertips of two defenders. If head coach Chip Kelly really does open up the competition at quarterback, Bradford has his work cut out for him.
We're expecting Bradford to win the job, but if Sanchez continues to play efficiently, Bradford will have to play that much better to win the job in training camp. Whoever wins the job should offer high-end QB2 numbers in Chip Kelly's offense.
Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane on the status of QB Sam Bradford:
Sam Bradford, as Chip Kelly said was likely, practiced during seven-on-seven drills. The new Eagles quarterback took about five snaps, splitting time with Mark Sanchez, with the first team on Tuesday. He didn’t participate during the second set of seven-on-seven drills and sat out all of team drills, as expected. Bradford threw the ball well. The drops he took weren’t strenuous. While his full return still appears to be a ways off, Bradford took a small step forward. That is a positive.
He warmed up to the side as most of the team went through conditioning at the start of practice. He then partook in individual drills with the other quarterbacks, jogging to the next station whenever the drill moved. I didn’t notice a hitch in his step as he ran. Bradford walked with a noticeable limp after practice last Thursday, but I didn’t get to see him walk off the fields on Tuesday.
Over the last two seasons, Philadelphia quarterbacks have averaged 16.7 passing game-only fantasy points. Bradford isn’t much of a runner, but he adds about 0.7 FP per game as a rusher. That adds up to 17.4 FP, or about what Eli Manning averaged as the #13 QB in 2014. The Eagles’ offense has lost their top receiver – DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin – in each of the last two seasons, but Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz are emerging and the team added Nelson Agholor in the draft. If Bradford ends up starting for the Eagles, we wouldn’t expect anything more than high-end QB2 numbers, but this is a definite system upgrade due to the overall effectiveness of Chip Kelly’s offense. The health of Bradford's knee is the biggest concern heading into 2015.
But with each passing day that Bradford is not completely back from tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, the specter of Sanchez under center on Sept. 14 in Atlanta becomes more and more of a reality.
Bradford wore a large brace around his left knee Thursday. He was the only player who did not participate in conditioning warm-ups. He threw only during individual drills. He jogged without a limp in between the drills, but when he walked off the field after practice he was clearly favoring his left leg.
But if Bradford isn't participating in seven-on-seven drills next week, as Kelly said he expected him to, or if he isn't taking 11-on-11 repetitions by minicamp in mid-June, or if he isn't ready by training camp in early August, then how ready will he be learning a new offense in a short time? More important, where will he be mentally?
Bradford was shaping up as a sleeper, but it's not good to hear that he's still favoring the leg. We'll reassess as training camp gets started, but he needs reps to learn Kelly's offense.
“Really just talking with Coach Kelly and knowing I’m coming with the opportunity to compete for the starting job,” Sanchez said, via CSN Philly. “That was important to me. There were some other opportunities out there, but I didn’t want to switch systems again. On a one-year deal, it’s different for maybe a defensive player then for an offensive player, especially a quarterback. You’ve got to learn a whole new language again. I started to feel real comfortable and I felt like to be honest, personally, there’s some unfinished business we left out there. I know I can play a little bit better than that. I know we can get this team in the playoffs. I think we have the talent to do that.”
We believe that it's Bradford's job to lose. Over the last two seasons, Philadelphia quarterbacks have averaged 16.7 passing game-only fantasy points. Bradford isn’t much of a runner, but he adds about 0.7 FP per game as a rusher. That adds up to 17.4 FP, or about what Eli Manning averaged as the #13 QB in 2014. The Eagles’ offense has lost their top receiver – DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin – in each of the last two seasons, but Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz are emerging and the team added Nelson Agholor in the draft. If Bradford ends up starting for the Eagles, we wouldn’t expect anything more than high-end QB2 numbers, but this is a definite system upgrade due to the overall effectiveness of Chip Kelly’s offense.
Rapoport reported that the deal was worth $11 million per season. Maclin was the #9 wide receiver in both standard and PPR formats last season. However, he did most of his damage in the first eight games (46-801-8, #2 WR) and faded from Week 10 on (40-528-2, #23 WR). His targets dropped from 10.5 per game in the first half of the season to just 7.5 T/G down the stretch, but this decrease basically coincided with Mark Sanchez taking over for Nick Foles at quarterback. Now he’ll have Alex Smith as his quarterback and should see plenty targets alongside up-and-coming TE Travis Kelce. HC Andy Reid is very familiar with Maclin, so we would expect his transition to be a smooth one, though this appears to be a system downgrade. Maclin averaged 4.6 catches for 61 yards and 0.50 TD (solid WR2-type numbers) from 2010-2012, while playing for Reid.
The wild ride of subtraction and addition will apparently continue with the Philadelphia Eagles because receiver Jeremy Maclin plans to reunite with former coach Andy Reid on the Kansas City Chiefs once free agency officially begins on Tuesday, according to league sources.
The Chiefs will need to clear salary-cap space to sign Maclin, whose new contract would project in the range of what Randall Cobb received to stay with the Green Bay Packers at $10 million per year. It's possible Maclin could slightly exceed Cobb's salary when negotiations are finished. Unlike Cobb, who chose to remain with his team, the Green Bay Packers, Maclin is prepared to depart Philadelphia, coming off his best season, in which he had 85 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. Maclin played on a one-year, $5.25 million contract in 2014 after missing 2013 with an ACL injury.
Update: The deal is reportedly worth around $11 million per season.
Maclin was the #9 wide receiver in both standard and PPR formats last season. However, he did most of his damage in the first eight games (46-801-8, #2 WR) and faded from Week 10 on (40-528-2, #23 WR). His targets dropped from 10.5 per game in the first half of the season to just 7.5 T/G down the stretch, but this decrease basically coincided with Mark Sanchez taking over for Nick Foles at quarterback. If the report turns out to be true, he'll have Alex Smith as his quarterback and could hog targets alongside up-and-coming TE Travis Kelce. Reid is familiar with Maclin, so we would expect his transition to be a smooth one, though this appears to be a system downgrade.
Sunday, March 8, 2015, 7:16pm
It's possible that we've only seen the tip of the iceberg from Jordan Matthews. He was great in his role as the Eagles' slot wide receiver, but with the speed and production he showed this season, Matthews could be vying for an outside wideout position come Training Camp. He certainly has the size and the hands to keep producing at this level for the forseeable future. With a full offseason to tighten his game and develop a rapport, Matthews should be able to use his rookie season as a stepping stone to bigger and brighter things in 2015.
Matthews averaged 4.1-39-.29 (or 9.8 PPR fantasy points) in the seven games that Nick Foles started and finished. He posted 4.4-70-.63 in the eight games that Mark Sanchez started and finished, but he actually averaged fewer targets with Sanchez (6.4 T/G) than he did with Foles (6.9 T/G). So while he was more efficient with Sanchez, he was targeted more heavily by Foles. The Eagles like him in the slot, but he's a candidate to start outside and then move inside in three-receiver sets. If that's the case, he will see his snaps played increase from his rookie season (65%) and he should be able to improve on his #25 finish in PPR formats.
Monday, December 29, 2014, 11:00am
Eagles coach Chip Kelly stiff-armed a question about how important it is to identify a franchise quarterback Monday, but Kelly spoke encouragingly of Nick Foles, saying Foles just needs to continue his improvement trajectory in the offseason.
Though Kelly talked again of thoroughly reviewing the quarterback position, Foles would seem to be the most likely 2015 starter.
Kelly said Foles "just needs to continue to work. One thing I do not fault Nick (on) is (his) work ethic. He's been outstanding in that. I watched how he attacked his rehabilitation ... what he did every day. He's been outstanding from that standpoint. I think he's continuing to grow as a quarterback. I think that's part of the maturation process in this league ... you kind of almost need to do something, make that mistake and then learn from that mistake. That's the one thing I admire about Nick is, he processes things well, if he does make a mistake, rarely does he make the same mistake twice.
"I think he just needs to continue on the trajectory he's headed on right now."
Realistically, Foles seems like he'll be the starter for the Eagles in 2015. Philly local media often points out that Foles doesn't always appear to be Kelly's guy, so these were pretty encouraging words from Kelly about Foles. Foles was never afraid to throw the deep ball, something Mark Sanchez didn't always have success with, and that seemed to limit the Eagles offense over the last few weeks. Foles is a nice fantasy option to wait on at QB, especially if his target area is the seventh or eighth round again in 2015 drafts.
The writing has been on the wall for a long time, and now it's reality: the Jets have fired Rex Ryan. Second-year general manager John Idzik was also let go.
The pair was informed of their fate early Monday morning, the team announced.
The popular head coach brought the Jets out of relative obscurity in the world's biggest market back in 2009. He led New York to the AFC title game twice in his first two seasons and even scored a book deal and contract extension. But he never reached the playoffs again.
The defensive-minded coach's time was marred by inconsistent quarterback play, a knock on his resume that he was never able to overcome despite going through several different coordinators. The team drafted two quarterbacks in the first or second round -- Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith -- neither of whom could buoy an offense strong enough to complement Ryan's dominant defenses. Ryan leaves the Jets with a 46-50 record.
Jets owner Woody Johnson issued a statement following the news.
"Both Rex and John made significant contributions to the team, and they have my appreciation and gratitude for their efforts and commitment. Over the years, Rex brought the Jets a bold confidence and a couple of great post-season runs, which all of us will remember. I am beginning our search for new football leadership, effective immediately, with guidance and support from respected football experts, including Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf, two Super Bowl winners with decades of valuable experience."
As NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport noted on Sunday, Johnson is searching for a candidate with more of a personnel background. As Rapoport also noted, Ryan will search for another head coaching opportunity. Potential openings in Chicago, Oakland and Atlanta would certainly be appealing. If not, Ryan will go into television -- he retained a media agent in the event that he would move in front of the camera.
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