July 25, 2016
After the first practice of training camp, Sam Bradford was asked about a recent trip that he and a group of teammates made to San Diego. The 28-year-old initially spoke about the general idea of building chemistry away from the NovaCare Complex, but there was a more specific question on everyone’s mind.
What did the 2016 Eagles starting quarterback learn about Carson Wentz, the likely 2017 Eagles starting quarterback?
“He’s a good dude,” Bradford said. “We had a good time. We went paddleboarding one day, it was a lot of fun. I guess him being up north, he was used to the cold water. I wasn’t a big fan of the Pacific Ocean. But just going out there and spending time with all of the guys, I think it was great.”
The Eagles signal callers enter the 2016 season in a sticky situation that doesn’t have anything to do with the oppressive heat players dealt with on Monday morning. All eyes will be on the team’s three quarterbacks as the organization tries to strike a tricky balance between present and future goals.
And while there is an undeniable awkwardness that goes with the situation (only made worse by Bradford's short holdout during voluntary workouts), all of them head into August channeling their inner Alan Garner:
As a former top pick, Bradford has been in Wentz’s shoes before, feeling the weight of great expectations. The key difference, though, is that he was thrown into the fire right away in St. Louis. The plan for Wentz, as has been oft-discussed in the Delaware Valley, is to initially let him watch from the sidelines for a certain period of time.
“I’m sure you can ask him and I’m sure he could probably give a better answer [about the situation],” Bradford said. “I don’t want to speak for him. I’m sure it’s challenging, though.”
Wentz, who said that his relationship with Bradford is “going great,” was also asked about the idea of sitting out. While the No. 2 overall pick feels more prepared for a higher level of football than when he redshirted at North Dakota State five years ago, he said that the Eagles’ plan is out of his control.
“The biggest thing I’m focused on is just helping this team get better and getting myself better,” Wentz said. “And I can guarantee whenever my number is called, I’ll be ready.”
Taking practice reps in between Bradford and Wentz on Monday was the Eagles backup quarterback, Chase Daniel. The 29-year-old came over from Kansas City with Pederson, and many have questioned why the Eagles gave Daniel a three-year, $21 million deal with money and resources already tied up in Bradford and Wentz.
One of the reasons for Daniel’s presence, presumably, is to counsel the rookie while Bradford can focus on winning games. What was some of the advice that Daniel offered Wentz coming into his first training camp?
“You’re a rookie, first and foremost,” Daniel said. “The draft, it doesn’t really matter what position you went right now. Just keep your head down and work, and that’s his mentality. He’s a blue-collar guy, so he brings his A-game every day to work.”
Another benefit of having Daniel around is that he already knows Pederson’s offense. Wentz said all three quarterbacks spoke a lot about specific footwork within the Eagles offense during the three on-field throwing sessions in San Diego.
Now back in Philadelphia, Wentz talked about the idea of the quarterback room and how productive he has found it so fair. Bradford echoed those sentiments.
“I think when you have that many guys who are doing the right thing, it’s easy to learn from those guys,” Bradford said. “It’s easy to pick up things on tape. I think we’ve all made each other better.”
Months after Bradford's holdout, the Eagles quarterbacks are saying what you would want to hear. That's the easy part. Now they have to follow through do the right things, too.
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