June 07, 2016
A week ago at Philadelphia Eagles OTAs, head coach Doug Pederson said fairly clearly that Sam Bradford is going to be his starting quarterback in 2016. At the time, Pederson was asked if Bradford had separated himself from Carson Wentz and Chase Daniel based on his performance on the field during OTAs.
"I think so," Pederson acknowledged. "I think he's done an outstanding job. When you're spreading reps equally with three guys, that's what you want to see, and I think he's really done a nice job of taking that next step to be the leader of this football team and be the starter. He's done a good job."
Clearly, Bradford appears to the Eagles' quarterback of the present. As Bradford's short two-year contract and the fact that the Eagles traded up to the No. 2-overall pick to draft a quarterback would indicate, Bradford's tenure with the Eagles is very clearly on rented time.
That notion was made even more clear on Tuesday when Pederson talked about the way practice reps would be divided throughout training camp. It was already known that Bradford, Daniel, and Wentz would split reps throughout OTAs and the minicamp this week, but it was somewhat likely that Bradford's reps would increase once the Eagles got into training camp.
Not necessarily so, according to Pederson.
"Frank Reich and myself are still kind of discussing how we're going to handle training camp," said Pederson. "I would say that (this minicamp) is not the last time (Wentz's) reps won't be cut. Right now, it's equal. It's thirds. It's equal, and right now we're leaning toward that heading into training camp."
When asked what Wentz has shown to deserve equal reps with Bradford, Pederson downplayed that angle.
"I don't know if it's anything he's shown," said Pederson. "The way training camp is usually set up, and by no means is this set in stone, you get to that first preseason game and usually you're playing your two's and three's, and that's just the nature of the deal. So why not give your two's and three's equal time? You're trying to ramp your starters up for the regular season, and so it's not necessarily anything those guys have done outside of we want to see what they can do. By giving him more reps and more opportunities, it sort of gives us that insight into where we can use him down the road."
When asked when Bradford would begin to get more reps than Daniel and Wentz, Pederson said it likely wouldn't be until close to the start of the season.
"When you get to that point," Pederson explained, "which is usually around your third preseason game, when your starters take the bulk of that game, at that point then you start making the decision that your starters need to get 60, 70, 80 percent of the snaps in practice. But right now, we're in the negotiations of splitting that time equally with all the groups."
When asked if that was the approach when he was the offensive coordinator under Andy Reid in Kansas City, Pederson said, "No, we gave the starters more reps."
The Eagles third preseason game will take place on August 27th. They will play their first game roughly two weeks later, on September 11th. There is a very high likelihood that if Bradford is indeed the starting quarterback and Chase Daniel is his immediate backup Week 1, Carson Wentz will be inactive and won't even dress for the game.
And yet, Wentz could get an equal share of the practice reps all the way up until 15 days prior to the start of the NFL regular season.
This training camp is going to more about the growth and development of Carson Wentz, and less about making sure Sam Bradford gets as many reps as possible to have the most short term success in 2016.
As it should be.