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Four reasons to be concerned about Sam Bradford

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Besides injury.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

[Ed. note: The following is authored by BGN Radio host John Barchard. John has been tweeting about Bradford a lot lately so he figured it would be best to turn his thoughts into a series of posts. Here's the second one.]

Last week I went over what I believed to be the biggest myth about Sam Bradford and his unwillingness to throw the ball down the field. But at the end of the day, who cares? Even if Bradford's YPA goes up while he's in Philadelphia, that factor alone doesn't tell us if he's good or not.

I don't know about everyone else but I like the bad news up front. So we'll start there.

The Sam Badford

Locking On To His First Read

No matter what season it was, the most consistent worst trait was that Sam would lock on to his first read. This concern improved in 2013, but it would pop up again if there was consistent pressure or if he was getting hit a lot. Even when he had a clean pocket it was pretty noticeable at times. This would cause a lot ‘trying to fit it in there' throws and, as evidenced in the first example below, missing the open receiver. Tavon Austin is wide open for a first down:


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Also gets lucky here, but it's still a bad decision to throw:

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Bad Short Passer

For as much praise as I will give Bradford for his arm strength, tight window throws, and long ball accuracy, his short passing game is a bit of head scratcher. If he wasn't in shotgun, throwing quick slants was the moon to him. The passes were often behind or in front of his wideouts. Although his receivers didn't help him by winning some of their battles against defensive backs, Bradford always looked awkward throwing the slant. Along with the slant issues, there were plenty of 95 mph fastballs (shades of Donovan McNabb) to the running backs in the flat and to the receivers running short hitches. I am not saying he doesn't have touch on these passes, but he tends to speed up his mechanic process, which leads to an ugly stance, a bullet throw, and usually a drop.

Not Seeing The Linebacker

This also relates to locking on to his first read. Bradford tends to look through the linebackers in coverage rather than see them in the throwing lane. There is really nothing I can explain in terms of what he's looking at because it's as clear as day that the linebacker is there and yet he makes throws like these:

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Forcing It

I already touched on this a little bit but Bradford is pretty big on trying to squeeze the football in tight spaces. Granted, most of the time it's when the Rams are losing (so pretty much every game) but he tends try and make the play rather than take what's in front of him. Now, is it necessarily a bad thing that your quarterback is trying to do anything he can when the team is down by 21 points? Well, yes. Sometimes his passes were drive killers that turned an easy first down into a punt and a 28 point deficit.

The other part of forcing passes Bradford's tendency to just throw it up there to avoid taking a sack. This happens most often when the opposing defenders are running free to rip his head off. I can understand not wanting to take a hit, but this leads to a lot of dangerous throws. Sometimes he gets away with it and the ball makes its way out of bounds or uncatchable for anyone. But other times:

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There are other issues I could pick on but they don't happen often enough for it to be considered an ongoing problem. Being in shotgun with the Eagles the majority of the time and having bigger windows to throw in will certainly help address some of these issues. But there are plenty of reminders of why Bradford didn't succeed in St. Louis and it certainly wasn't only the system, the coaching, or the weapons. It was him, too.

On Friday I will lay out all that is good in the world of Bradford. As always feel free to look at all of the Badford and Goodford on my Vine channel.