In addition to a concussion, Eagles QB Sam Bradford also suffered a separated shoulder in Sunday’s loss to Miami, according to ESPN. It looks like it’ll be Mark Sanchez under center for at least the next game, which, given Bradford’s play, may or may not be a good thing as Philadelphia desperately needs to string some wins together to save what’s been a disappointing first season with Chip Kelly making the personnel calls.
Bradford left the game in the third quarter after being sacked by LB Chris McCain, and though he walked off appearing to favor his left arm, the only official report from the Eagles was that Bradford had been placed in concussion protocol. The report of a separated shoulder makes his return in time for this weekend’s very winnable game against Tampa (and next week’s against Detroit) even more questionable. Chip Kelly said he can’t know how Bradford’s shoulder is healing because the QB can’t take part in any activities until he clears the concussion protocol.
Bradford’s not the only banged up Eagle. Ryan Mathews, who for much of the year has looked like the team’s most effective running back (though DeMarco Murray has come on in recent weeks) also suffered a concussion and hasn’t practiced. Then there’s Darren Sproles, who complained yesterday that he’s not being used as much as he’d like. “You’re standing on the sidelines,” Sproles said. “It’s kind of frustrating.”
The Eagles’ offense hasn’t measured up to the hype, especially in light of Chip Kelly winning a power play last winter to assume effective GM powers and build the unit to his specifications. But Kelly made the somewhat odd claim that there hasn’t been that much change on offense.
“Four changes” is significantly underselling the overhaul. No position is more important than quarterback, and Bradford has been mediocre even before these injuries that remind you he came with a reputation as fragile. There are two new running backs, who haven’t impressed even as Kelly figures out how to use them. Two additions to the wide receiver corps, Nelson Agholor and Miles Austin, have both been busts. And Kelly’s most discussed offseason moves—replacing both starting guards from last year—have proven as damaging to the line as cynics predicted.
Despite Kelly’s protestations, those are sweeping changes, and they’re all his. Maybe the Eagles will figure things out—at 4-5, they’re just a half-game back in a weak division. If not, it all comes back to Kelly. When you’re picking the players and calling the plays, there aren’t many excuses left.