May 11, 2016
So, we are all supposed to feel better that Sam Bradford is back in the NovaCare Center, supposedly all pumped up and ready to get prepare to lead the Philadelphia Eagles into the 2016 football season.
So, we are all supposed to believe that sports is sports and business is business and that there will be no issues when the Eagles prepare to launch their season.
We are all supposed to also believe that as things shake out, the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles will be patient enough to wait for a rookie named Carson Wentz to develop, all the while convinced that Bradford will play well enough to make everybody forget about the politics of the past few weeks.
And, in addition to all of that, we are also being asked to believe that in order for all of this work, the Eagles needed to sign backup quarterback Chase Daniel to a 3-year, $21 million contract, $12 million of which is guaranteed.
Even beyond the absurd decision by Bradford to try and have his agent talk his way out of town, the whole scenario is dangerous. Making it more even dangerous is that this whole mess has been placed into the hands of a rookie head coach – Doug Pederson.
Although a veteran of the NFL, a former Eagle, and a long time assistant, Pederson has never run the whole show. For even the most experienced coach, this is a volatile situation, and Pederson was partly hired because he does not have the deaf-to-everybody-else-in-the-world personality of Chip Kelly.
At least from this side of the page, the whole Wait-for-Wentz game plan will be difficult to navigate for three reasons:
First, Bradford is not that good.
Second, the Eagles are not that good around Bradford.
And, third, there is very little patience in all of sports these days. Players come up and are given their opportunities very early. The days of wait-and-see have turned into the days of show-me-today, and Wentz seems like the type to be able to handle that pressure.
If not, why take the risk of selecting him with the second pick of the entire draft?
This is not a case similar to the Philadelphia Flyers who tried as hard as they could to allow a young Shayne Gostisbehere to develop in the minor leagues before they were forced to call him up – at which time he starred for the team.
The Ghost was not nearly as high a draft pick as Wentz, hockey is not nearly as popular a national sport and the expectations of a rookie in the NHL is not nearly as high as a top quarterback pick.
Even at that, Flyers fans were howling that Gostisbehere should have been brought up to play, and they are already starting to scream that defenseman Ivan Provorov should be brought up next season.
The fact of the matter is that the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies combined don’t have fan bases as loud and demanding as the Eagles, and Wentz is coming into the city with far higher expectations that anybody on skates, basketball sneakers or baseball cleats.
The Eagles had better figure out very early that this idea of letting Wentz sit and learn is not going to play well, certainly not with the fans and hopefully not with Wentz.
For whatever you think of the way Bradford’s agent handled the situation, you have to give him and Bradford credit for one thing – they read the whole Carson Wentz in waiting a whole lot more realistically than the Eagles organization is trying to spin it.
At best, Bradford has been a mediocre quarterback, and at best, the so-called backup quarterback Chase Daniel can only aspire to be a mediocre quarterback. So, when the Eagles go to camp, it seems logical that most of the reps will be taken by a couple of guys with little future here while Wentz gets shorted the playing time he really needs to develop.
If you are telling the fans that Wentz can learn a whole lot behind Bradford and Daniel, you will understand why this whole game plan is not destined to go smoothly. The Eagles can preach patience all they want, but it won’t sell.
This is like the fans getting a present under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, and have a sing on it that says “Do not Open until Fourth of July.”
Right, it’s the kind of situation that makes you understand why you might throw snowballs at Santa Claus.