Some NFL quarterbacks have the privilege of playing for the same head coach and the same offensive coordinator in the same system for years and years and years.
And then there’s Sam Bradford.
The former No. 1 overall pick is playing for his third team in three seasons and has the unenviable task of learning Minnesota’s playbook essentially overnight. How hard will it be for Bradford to learn that system and adapt right away?
“I read a stat, and I don’t know it was accurate, but it said Sam Bradford in six years has had five different head coaches and six different offensive coordinators,” CBS Sports NFL analyst Trent Green said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “You’ve got all that stuff spinning around in your head. I was fortunate. I played on a bunch of different teams, but for the most part, the system I played in was the same from team to team. Now I had to learn some new words and protection calls and stuff like that, but the base concepts were all the same. Now he’s going to Minnesota with Norv Turner and I spent four years with Norv Turner and I know how wordy that offense can be. I’m not sure in all the other previous head coaches and stops that Sam had if he had any of that. I know that Chip Kelly’s offense is not the same, so what he was dealing with there isn’t the same. I know the words he was using with Doug Pederson weren’t the same because Doug is more of a Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid, West Coast kind of guy. So I know those are all different systems.
“When you talk about more trades are happening, it’s crazy enough to trade a position player,” Green continued, “but for a quarterback to come in as quickly as what they’re expecting Bradford to do, it’ll be surprising how much of the game plan or how much of the offense he has at his grasp. I did see yesterday that they’re still talking about Shaun Hill (starting). I would have a real hard time thinking they’re going to start Shaun Hill, even though Shaun is much more prepared and much more ready to run the offense. I just think you’re really risking yourself if Shaun Hill goes in and plays really well and the team plays really well. It’s all of a sudden, ‘Hey, good job, Shaun. Now Sam knows the offense. He’s going to go in.’ I think that it’s too much of a risk. You’ve got to put Sam in there.”
But why would that be a risk? If the object is to win games, why would it matter?
“All of a sudden questions start arising in the locker room,” Green explained. “I’ve been in locker rooms where it doesn’t matter what position it is, but the quarterback is the one everybody wants to talk about and the quarterback is the one that’s on all the guys’ phones and social media. That’s what the fans are saying. That’s who they’re talking about. It can easily happen. So I just think in order to alleviate that drama, I would be surprised if Hill starts.”
Green also previewed the Browns/Eagles game he is calling this Sunday. With Bradford traded to Minnesota, the Eagles will start No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz against Cleveland.
Green, for one, has high hopes for Wentz.
“He has the size, the arm – he has more mobility than you think,” Green said. “I think that’s a good thing. When you look at what Andy Reid did with Donovan McNabb, what Andy Reid did with Alex Smith, Doug Pederson is going to run that same type of stuff. Alex gets like 400 yards rushing. I’m not saying he needs to 800 or 900 yards rushing, but I’ms saying if you have that as part of your repertoire and you can attack defenses in that way, I think that bodes well for Wentz in Pederson’s offense and it’s a matter of getting everything in sync.”
Looking ahead to Sunday Night Football, Jimmy Garoppolo has a tall task awaiting in Arizona, but the Pats don’t need him to be a Hall of Famer. They just need him to take care of the ball and not lose games by himself.
“Garoppolo could be 4-0 and be the No. 1-rated quarterback in the NFL and he’s going back to the bench (when Brady returns),” Green said. “I think he will play well. He’s been there long enough. If he doesn’t play well, then he’s going to fall off the face of the earth. If he doesn’t play ell, then next season New England will release him, he’ll be on the waiver wire, he’ll bounce around the league as a backup for a while, and he’ll be done in seven or eight years. This is an opportunity. You’ve been in the system long enough, you know what it is Belichick likes to do, you’ve been able to sit behind Brady and see what it is to do – he needs to go in and play like Cassel did when he had an opportunity. Now Cassel didn’t go on and have a lot of success in other places, but Cassel stepped in and performed (when Brady was out).”