Is Bradford/Shurmur Combo the Right Step for the Eagles?
Sam Bradford completed 30-of-38 passes for 320 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in the Eagles' 35-30, Week 17 win over the Giants - but was it his last time playing quarterback as a member of the the Philadelphia Eagles?
The free agent and draft class at the quarterback position is mediocre at best this off season - Bradford most likely will be the top free agent quarterback on the market and holds most of the cards on if he even wants to return to Philadelphia.
One of the key factors? Who will be the teams next head coach.
"That's definitely going to be a factor," Bradford admitted after the win over the Giants. “It definitely depends on who they hire and what kind of offensive system he wants to run. If he feels like I fit and I feel like I fit, that’s it.”
(Philly.com columnist Mike Sielski joined Mike and John on the Sports Bash to discuss Sam Bradford and Pat Shurmur)
Bradford was up-and-down much of his first season with the Eagles, finishing the year completing an Eagles record 65-percent of his passes (346-of-532) for 3,725 yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. However, he played his best football after the bye week and a two week absence due to a shoulder injury, and threw for at least 320 yards in each of the final three games after topping 300 yards in a game just twice Weeks 1-14.
So would reuniting with Eagles interim head coach Pat Shurmur be something that would be attractive to Bradford?
"It would mean a lot to me," Bradford stated. “The quarterback-head coach relationship is extremely important in any organization.
Bradford started his career with Shurmur in St. Louis and seems to endorse playing for him again in 2016.
"Given the history I have with Pat — we were together my rookie year and reunited this year, I think it would mean a lot to me," Bradford explained. "I would love to play for him. I really enjoyed playing for him today. If he is a candidate, I hope that he gets serious consideration.”
So is Bradford an important enough endorsement to consider passing over a new fresh approach to bring back Shurmur and give him his second shot at being a head coach? His first stint in Cleveland didn't go so well, Shurmur was just 9-23 in two seasons with the Browns.
Two things to consider before discounting Shurmur.
1. Bradford has already played for four different play-callers, do you want to invest big money into him and have him learn another new offense?
2. Did Bradford take enough steps forward in this offense that you would want to see him and Shurmur continue to grow together? Remember Bradford won the offensive rookie of the year award during his one season with Shurmur in St. Louis, on Sunday he had maybe his best game of the season - with Shurmur calling plays.
So Eagles fans plenty of names to consider, here is the list of known candidates:
Teryl Austin, defensive coordinator (Lions)
Adam Gase, offensive coordinator (Bears)
Paul Guenther, defensive coordinator (Bengals)
Doug Marrone, offensive line coach (Jaguars)
Ben McAdoo, offensive coordinator (Giants)
Sean McDermott, defensive coordinator (Panthers)
Sean Payton, head coach (Saints)
Doug Pederson, offensive coordinator (Chiefs)
Mike Shanahan, former NFL head coach
Pat Shurmur, interim head coach (Eagles)
Duce Staley, running backs coach (Eagles)
So does a Bradford, Shurmur combo make the most sense?