Sanchez Could Seize His Opportunity
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - With Sam Bradford's injury history and Chip Kelly's offensive philosophy, it was only a matter of time before Mark Sanchez got his chance to quarterback the 2015 Philadelphia Eagles.
It could have been worse but the early reports are that Bradford suffered a Grade 2 AC joint sprain in his left shoulder during the Eagles' 20-19 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, an injury further complicated by the fact that Bradford was also concussed when Miami linebacker Chris McCain drove him into the turf in the third quarter.
Bradford must first pass the NFL-mandated concussion protocol and be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can get back on the field and then be comfortable enough to play with his ailing non-throwing shoulder.
Considering the Eagles' next two games are over an 11-day span, next Sunday against Tampa Bay and on Thanksgiving Day at Detroit, it's extremely unlikely you will see Bradford until Week 13 at the earliest.
And by that time Sanchez may have seized the job.
(Listen to John McMullen discuss the Eagles QB situation)
Bradford was actually having one of his best games since taking over the Eagles before the injury, completing 19-of-25 passes for 236 yards a touchdown before leaving for a 118.1 passer rating.
That said the offense seemed to pick up the tempo when Sanchez entered and also was more diverse due to the veteran backup's functional football mobility, which puts Kelly's favored zone-read looks back in the mix.
Any immediate quarterback controversy was averted Sunday when Sanchez failed to lead the Eagles to victory over a bad Miami team and in fact cost the team with a late, end-zone interception.
That turnover was as much on Miles Austin as Sanchez, however, and the veteran backup will have every opportunity to redeem himself in what shapes up as a rather easy test, games against the struggling Bucs and moribund Lions.
A late Stephen Gostkowski field goal in North Jersey Sunday afternoon means the Eagles remain just one-half game behind in the dismal NFC East and consecutive wins would almost surely have them at the top of the division.
And it's unlikely Kelly, who can lean on the injuries if need be, will be pushing Bradford back into the lineup if Sanchez is winning.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen