When quarterback Sam Bradford headed off to the locker room after suffering an apparent injury in the third quarter of the Eagles 20-19 loss to the Miami Dolphins, you knew it wasn’t going to be good. Aside from the fact backup QB Mark Sanchez had to go out and try to win the game (which he couldn’t do), you knew that depending on the severity of the injury, this very well could have been Bradford’s final game as an Eagle.
Bradford had x-rays on his shoulder during the game, which came back negative, but now it has been revealed that Bradford suffered a separated shoulder as well as a concussion. The shoulder injury can be dealt with fairly easily depending on how much pain Bradford can tolerate (and with his injury history, that should be a lot) but it’s the concussion which is more worrisome.
Word is that Bradford couldn’t remember the first half of the game once he came off the field and will now have to pass the NFL’s concussion protocols before he will be allowed to play again.
As of this writing, it looks like Bradford will most likely miss this Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and could also miss the Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions.
Based on initial tests, #Eagles QB Sam Bradford expected to miss this Sunday & potentially Thursday, I’m told. Expect Mark Sanchez to start.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2015
Which means Sanchez will get the start and have a chance to not only prove that he can run head coach Chip Kelly‘s offense, but that he can turn around the Eagles season.
On Sunday, Sanchez completed 14 of 23 passes for 156 yards, looked more mobile and was able to extend plays with his feet more so than Bradford ever did. But he also threw an incredibly costly interception in the fourth quarter and obviously had some trouble with handoffs to running back DeMarco Murray.
What does all this mean for Bradford? Depending on how Sanchez plays, it could mean an awful lot.
Bradford is essentially on a one-year deal with the Eagles. At the end of the season he becomes a free agent and attempts to sign him to an extension have thus far been unsuccessful (Thank God). There has been nothing in Bradford’s performance this season to suggest that he is the team’s long-term solution at quarterback. The only thing Bradford really has going for him is the fact that he and Kelly are inexorably tied together at this point. If one fails, he’s almost certainly going to take the other one down with him.
If Sanchez can come in and win a couple of games and after Thanksgiving have the Eagles sitting at 6-5, they would still be in the hunt to win the NFC East and earn a possible playoff spot (for all the good it would do).
If that happens, Kelly may have no choice but to leave Sanchez in as the starter and have Bradford do nothing but warm the bench for the rest of the season. If he doesn’t and the Eagles start to flounder again, it could very well cost Kelly his job.
Which, if you ask some Eagles fans, wouldn’t be the worst thing.
Bradford getting hurt when he did couldn’t have come at a worse time for a QB trying to make a comeback in the NFL. Just when it seemed like Bradford was getting into a rhythm and having some chemistry with his teammates, he gets hurt and now has to watch as his backup tries to come in and save the Eagles season.
If Sanchez somehow does turn things around, it could mean the end of Sam Bradford’s time not only in Philadelphia, but the NFL as well.