Sam Bradford met with the media on Thursday for the first time since signing a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week. The quarterback touched on a number of topics, including a reflection on his career to this point and what he expects moving forward.
"I think it’s been up, it’s been down," Bradford admitted. "I think I’ve faced a lot of different challenges in my first six years just with some injuries, learning some new offenses."
"But I think my best days are ahead of me. Towards the end of last year, the last half of the year, once I got comfortable in the system, once I felt comfortable with the guys around me I felt I started to play at a pretty high level. I’m just looking to build on that and just continue to get better."
Much has been made of Bradford's improvement in the second half of the 2015. That legendary seven game stretch has been overrated by some, but maybe it's a sign of hope for things to come. For the Eagles' sake, it better be. Bradford clearly hasn't been good enough to this point in his career. He's never been part of an NFL team that's won more than seven games. The Eagles are clearly in a win-now mode so the pressure is on him to make this work.
Here are some of the other topics Bradford discussed during his press conference. You can rewatch the entire video here.
On contract length
"It really doesn’t change anything in the way that I approach it. I think every year’s a new year. I think you’re always trying to prove yourself. Whether this deal were two years, five years, 10 years, you know, I think I approach each year the same. I think if I go out there and continue to play the way I know I can, build on the way I finished last year, then I think the contract thing will take care of itself. So I’m not really concerned with the length of the deal."
On whether he was tempted to test free agency
"Not at all. Like I said a minute ago, this is where I wanted to be. Obviously, there was some change, some turnover, but I think we have a great group of guys in that locker room. I really enjoyed my time here last year. I built great relationships with some of those guys and that’s who I want to take the field with on Sundays and that’s why I wanted to come back here. There really wasn’t any temptation for me to [test free agency]. I told my agent after the season was over that this is where I wanted to be and I wanted him to get me back here. I’m thankful that he did."
On reports of him not liking Philadelphia
"I think you guys tried to ask me that last year. It was during the year and I didn’t bring it up. But I have no idea where half those reports come from. I’ve always enjoyed my time here. I think Philadelphia is a great sports city. Our fans are probably the most passionate in the league. We have a great atmosphere every time we step in the Linc. And then going back to the teammates that I have here, there’s never been a moment I haven’t enjoyed it here."
On the advantage of being healthy heading into the offseason
"Yeah, it’s huge. Obviously to be able to focus on my body, to try to put some weight back on, to put some strength in my lower body, to not have to rehab, to not have to worry about when am I going to be healthy, when am I going to be able to throw, when am I going to be able to take the field … to not have those question marks and be able to focus on getting myself into the best shape possible in getting ready for the Spring program, getting myself ready for OTAs, you know I think that’s a huge advantage. I think last year being limited during that time, trying to learn a new offense, obviously no one wants to do that. You want to take as many reps as you can. So hopefully this year being healthy, being where I am at physically, it will help on the field as well."
On the impression of Doug Pederson
"Well I better watch what I say because he’s standing right there. [Joking]. My conservations with coach have been great. I think the fact that he played the position was a huge bonus for me. I think being able to have conversations with someone who’s been on the field and who’s seen it from the quarterback’s perspective, I think that was huge. Also the fact that the offense is very similar to what we ran with [Pat] Shurmur when I was in St. Louis. It’s obviously something that’s going to be new. It’s going to be a transition. It’s going to take time. But it is something that I am familiar with. We’ve kind of briefly talked about the terminology and some of the words and things that we use are fairly similar. Obviously it’s going to take some re-learning because it’s been a few years since I’ve heard and used those terms, but I think my familiarity with that type of offense and that type of system, and obviously his pedigree and him playing the position is really why I wanted to come back too."
On the ability to audible at the line of scrimmage
"I think that my mind is a great attribute to my game. I enjoy being able to go to the line and make those checks, make those audibles. I think just talking to [Pederson] and some of the freedom he gave [Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith] in Kansas City, I’m looking forward to that. It’s something I did in the past. Obviously we did it a little bit more towards the end of the year last year. I think any time you can save yourself from wasting plays and get yourself into a better play, I think you have a chance to be successful."
On the reports of DeMarco Murray being unhappy
"I’ve talked to him several times and we normally don’t talk about football when we talk. We do enough of that. But he’s never brought it up to me. Like I said, there was a report that I was unhappy here too and that wasn’t true at all. So there’s really no telling."
On whether this Eagles team can make a deep playoff run
"Yeah. Like I said, I think we’ve got a great group of guys in that locker room. I think we’ve got a great team. Obviously last year was disappointing for everyone in the organization. Especially for the guys in that locker room who put so much time into it. I think we all believe in ourselves. We believe in the guys that we have here right now. We know that it’s on us to go and perform at a level that’s higher than what we did last year. I think if we do that, we showed signs of it last year at times, I think we’ve just got to be more consistent."
On how much injuries have held him back
"I don’t want to blame it all on injuries. I don’t think it’s that. I just think there’s times when I haven’t played as well as I need to. But like I said I think there’s been other times that I have and I think the end of last year was a good example. It’s just trying to build on that and be more consistent."
On planning to get together with teammates in the offseason
"You know, actually, yeah. I’ve been trying to talk to Jordan [Matthews] and [Zach] Ertz to come out to Oklahoma and hang out. But we’re trying to get that group. Started talking to a few of the other guys. Trying to find some dates here in the next month because I think it’d be great for them just to come and hang out. For how much we work out or throw, I think spending time together at this time in the year is probably the most important thing."
Confidence level in his wide receivers
"I think we’ve got a lot of talent in that room. The room is young right now. But I think those guys have all shown that they’re very capable of making plays at this level. I think some of the younger guys, Nelson [Agholor], [Josh] Huff, obviously their roles are probably going to be expanded from what they were in the past. We’re depending on those guys. I think they’re all up to the challenge of stepping up and making more plays."
On taking on a bigger leadership role
"Yeah, I think so. Obviously as the quarterback you want to be a leader. I think last year at this time, you still have to prove yourself. When you haven’t been here, when you’re coming off the injuries that I was coming off of. I was new to these guys. They didn’t know me. I think it took time for me to kind of develop that role. Towards the end of the year I think I was very comfortable in that role. I think now that I’m back for a second year, I think I’m just looking to build on what I was able to do last year as a leader and just kind of establish that role again."
On whether he considered signing with the 49ers to be reunited with Chip Kelly:
[Ed. note - Translation: "No."]
On how he knew the Eagles wanted him back:
"Right after the season I had some conversations with them. I was hoping that those were credible and they were honest in those conversations. But I think a few weeks ago when they started talks. I’ve been in contact here with everyone for the past couple months. So I knew that there was some interest. Howie [Roseman], specifically."
On the appeal of the West Coast offense
"I think it’s one of those offenses where if your feet are in rhythm everything else kind of follows. I just enjoy the progressions of the system. I think it’s something that fits my skill set. Some of the concepts that we put in last year were West Coast concepts. I think I just see some of those really well."
On the benefits of stability
"I think I talked about that several times during the year. I think if you look at any organization, stability is the key to success most of the time. I think if you look at some of the quarterbacks and the teams in this league that have been successful for a long time, they’ve had stability. So I do think that it is a key to success. I don’t think it’s the only key. Obviously we’ve got a new staff here and we’re all really excited about it. Hopefully it’s going to be something that we’re going to spend the next five, 10 years together and create that stability. Because at some point you have to do that and it’s what we’re looking to start here."