Chip Kelly wanted to go fast.
The last three years were all about speed in practice, and especially in games, getting to the line of scrimmage as quickly as possible to run a play. Matchups be damned.
Forget huddling, and don’t even think about changing the call at the line of scrimmage.
But this spring has marked the beginning of a new (old?) era in Eagles history. Kelly is busy installing his gimmicky offense in the City by the Bay, while new head coach Doug Pederson has brought a more traditional west coast offense to Philadelphia.
One that will give starting quarterback Sam Bradford plenty of freedom.
“That’s what every quarterback wants,” Bradford said this week. “You want the ability to get in and out of plays. You want the ability to make things right. Obviously, it puts more pressure on you during the week to study to know what the opponent is going to do, to be ready for certain looks. And to take advantage of those looks when they present themselves.”
This is freedom that Bradford didn’t have in 2015 under Kelly, who sacrificed precision for speed.
Bradford admitted that with the added freedom, comes a new level of responsibility, but he’s fine with the extra pressure.
“You’re in charge of getting in the right play, getting out of a bad play,” Bradford said. “You’re responsible for, really, everyone out there. Last year, which obviously trying to play at the tempo we did, it’s hard to really do that. We chose tempo over that freedom. And I think there’s benefits to each.
“But it is nice knowing that when you get to the line of scrimmage if you immediately know, ‘hey this is not a good play into this look, this is a bad play for this coverage,’ that I have ability to get us into something better. So hopefully with that freedom, there’ll be less negative plays. I think that’s kind of the goal when you play with this mentality.”
Aside from just limiting negative plays, which is something Bradford stressed, allowing the quarterback to change calls at the line of scrimmage also lets the offense find favorable matchups. With talented tight ends and running backs who have the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, this is important.
Just ask Swiss Army knife Darren Sproles.
"That's actually big because it always keeps everybody on their toes,” Sproles said. “It keeps everybody ready. You've really gotta run your routes."
This spring, Bradford had the ability to not only dive into Pederson’s newly installed play book, but also got a ton of on-field reps, which will help when it comes time to change a play in Week 1. These reps are a luxury he wasn’t afforded last offseason, while he recovered from another serious knee injury.
On Wednesday, Bradford recalled last spring that he wasn’t exactly sure if he would be ready for training camp and thinks there were some skeptics inside the building after watching him workout.
This year, Bradford hasn’t needed to rehab from another injury. It’s been all football, all the time.
“Man, it’s been awesome,” Bradford said. “It’s just a completely different mindset.”
Eagles Quarterback Sam Bradford Likes Freedom to Audible in Doug Pederson's Offense
Chip Kelly wanted to go fast.