Matt Rourke/APThe Philadelphia Eagles have begun OTAs, and the quarterback drama that preceded them doesn’t seem to be going away.
The Eagles agitated Sam Bradford when they traded up for the No. 2 pick in the draft and selected North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.
It became clear that Bradford, who signed a two-year deal to stay in Philadelphia, was only a short-term option at quarterback for the Eagles, who committed a ton of assets to nab a QB for the future. Bradford requested a trade, but no NFL teams bit due to his pricey contract and the Eagles’ high trade demands.
Though Bradford wasn’t pleased with having a rookie in the fold, it seemed he could take solace in holding down the starting job again this year. Furthermore, many in the NFL world thought that Wentz would need a year or two to develop on the bench before becoming a starter.
However, shortly into OTAs, that perception seems to be changing. On Tuesday, several reports indicated that Wentz wowed at practice while Bradford disappointed.
ESPN’s Phil Sheridan reported that Wentz “outplayed” both Bradford and fellow backup Chase Daniel. Sheridan wrote that Wentz looked more comfortable in the pocket, took his time on his throws, and looked more “dynamic” than Bradford and Daniel.
Jeff McLane of Philly.com differed slightly, saying that Bradford looked sharp, but it’s easy to see why the Eagles fell in love with Wentz. McLane noted the ball “explodes” out of Wentz’s hands and that he thinks Wentz looked better than other Eagles rookie quarterbacks in recent years.
On Wednesday, Eagles’ offensive coordinator Frank Reich told the “94WIP Morning Show” that despite head coach Doug Pederson listing Wentz as third on the depth chart last week, there’s very much a competition for the starting job (via CBS Philadelphia).
“No, that’s probably not the right impression. I’ve been around this business a long time as a player and as a coach, and one of the things I’ve really come to appreciate is it’s not a contradiction to say you’ve got to have order. Because if you don’t order it’s chaos. So, if you’re the head coach you gotta come in and you’ve gotta establish order. There has to be organization, there has to be order, but the other thing that — as coaches — that you’ve got to establish is a culture of competition. This is one of the most competitive industries in the world and so, to say that there’s not competition, that’s just the furthest thing from the truth.”
Reich also showered praise on Wentz, saying, “He’s got a contagious personality, he’s a winner, incredibly smart. For a young guy, about as smart as you could be. Showed all the right signs in every way.”
This is only the very beginning of OTAs, and there’s still a long way to go to training camp, preseason, and then Week 1 of the regular season. Much can happen in between, including regression from Wentz or the rust coming off for Bradford.
But that the Eagles are even considering Wentz shows that, thus far, his talent lives up to the reputation, and Bradford’s job may not be so secure.