McMullen on the Eagles: Scheme or Sam?, Kiko Update
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - If you were watching "Monday Night Football" this week you saw the very sizeable chasm that exists between a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers and the guy piloting your football team right now, Sam Bradford.
In fact, it's hard to believe the two are even playing the same position because Rodgers has mastered it and Bradford is now 19-32-1 as an NFL starter.
Depending on which side of the Bradford fence you camp on, the former No. 1 overall pick has been hampered by a lack of weapons in St. Louis, a trend that has unexpectedly continued here in Philadelphia thanks to a disappointing receiving corps.
If you feel like being honest, however, that's a crock.
Look at what Rodgers lined up with in Titletown on Monday night when he made a very good defense in Kansas City look silly.
(Listen to Philly.com Columnist Mike Sielski discuss Sam Bradford)
Remember Jordy Nelson is gone for the season with a torn ACL and Randall Cobb is certainly a nice slot receiver but his greatest asset played out in the offseason when he proved to be the smartest man in all of football, taking less money to stay in Green Bay rather than grab for the extra ducats and end up like a Greg Jennings or a James Jones.
And speaking of Jones, he wasn't good enough in Oakland or New York but he's magically a star again with A-Rod throwing him the football.
Meanwhile, if you think Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery or Jeff Janis are Randy Moss-like talents and any better than Nelson Agholor or Josh Huff, well guess again. Put Rodgers' current group of receivers in Philadelphia, and Bradford might be even worse.
So, how about the offensive line? Well, the MVP's tackles against the Chiefs were David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay, not exactly the same comfort level of having a Jason Peters and Lane Johnson protecting the outside of your pocket.
The point here is that the best elevate the talent around them and Bradford has done no such thing in either St. Louis or Philly.
And don't hold your breath waiting for that to change.
If anything, Chip Kelly's quarterback-proof offense is hampering Bradford, not helping him.
The better description of Kelly's offense would be an average-QB-proof offense, a philosophy based on limiting the signal caller's options and therefore making it less likely he makes a mistake. And that's why you see run-of-the-mill types like Mark Sanchez put up bigger numbers under Chip.
The problem with that, though, is that the truly great ones separate themselves at the line of scrimmage, pre-snap when they are able to process information, change things and get their teams out of bad plays and into good ones.
The best examples of this type of QB are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Rodgers, who are all maestros at the line, directing traffic, calling out protections, and moving the tempo up and down depending on the feel at ground zero.
Audibles are a foreign concept in the Eagles' offense if only for the fact that the linchpin is running the play as fast as possible in order to get to the next one. That eliminates Bradford's ability to survey things and get Philadelphia into the best play for skill set. It's one read and check down, which is why Jordan Matthews is the only wide receiver getting targets right now.
All that said, it's very fair to ask if Bradford is even capable of handling more responsibility but in this offense, as it's currently constructed at least, we will never know.
Forget about elite, the only hope now is that Chip's offense elevates another average player into an acceptable one.
AS KIKO'S WORLD TURNS:
The state secret that is Kiko Alonso's partially-torn ACL remained murky on Wednesday, a day after rumors that the 25-year-old inside linebacker would be shut down for the season enveloped the NFL.
Addressing the possibility of adding an extra offensive lineman after Andrew Gardner's season-ending injury, Kelly claimed Alonso's status was holding things up.
"We'd like to have nine (offensive linemen), that's an ideal number for us," the coach said. "But because we have two linebackers down that aren't an injured-reserve candidate type guys in Mychal (Kendricks) and Kiko, so you have to figure out where to get that extra spot."
Not an injured-reserve candidate?
That would at least seem to point toward Alonso taking the rehab route, waiting for the swelling to subside, slapping on the brace and playing at some point.
Alonso is currently on the Gulf Coast in Florida getting a second opinion on the injury from Dr. James Andrews and is expected back Friday, which would make him unlikely to be in play Sunday against Washington.
From the beginning of this soap opera, Alonso has had two options -- use the brace and hope the knee holds up or undergo another ACL surgery which would obviously cost him the season.
"I don't think he is having surgery," the always clandestine Kelly said. "He is coming back on Friday. We'll see where he is at."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen