Sam Bradford talked for quite a while Tuesday, and for a change the topic wasn’t Sam Bradford.
It was something maybe just as important.
The Eagles’ offense.
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Bradford shed some light Tuesday on what the Doug Pederson offense will look like, discussed the benefits of mixing up shotgun with snaps behind center and expounded on some of the differences between Chip Kelly’s system and Pederson’s.
No drama here. No holdout talk. No Carson Wentz talk.
But for people who are really interested in the X’s and O’s and how they affect the coming season, it was fascinating stuff.
Bradford was asked if Pederson’s offense is similar to what he ran under Pat Shurmur as a rookie with the Rams, and within his response he indicated the Eagles will line up in a lot of three- and four-wideout formations.
“From what I’ve seen so far, we were probably in more two-back, 21 personnel (two backs, one tight end, two receivers) than this offense will be,” he said. “This is West Coast-based, it’s still got some of those plays and personnel groupings, but I think it’s into a little more spread, whether that be with 11, 12 personnel, 10 personnel.”
In personnel groupings, the first number is running backs and the second number is tight ends. Whatever those numbers add up to, subtract from five and that’s how many receivers line up.
So 11 personnel is one back, one tight end and three receivers, 12 personnel is one back, two tight ends and two receivers and 10 personnel is one back and four receivers.
Bradford seemed to be careful not to to be too critical of Kelly, but he did speak glowingly of the possibilities Pederson’s scheme will present.
“I think obviously there’s probably more protection calls when you’re going six- and five-man protection, making sure that [blitzes] are picked up, as opposed to when you’ve got two backs in the backfield and you’ve got seven guys in protection, there’s really not a lot to worry about,” he said.
“But at the same time, when you play spread, you can get into more combinations, you can get five guys out.”
Then there’s the novel concept of not taking every snap in shotgun.
Bradford never seemed totally comfortable in the shotgun, and he seemed thrilled Tuesday that Pederson’s offense will have him behind center most of the time.
“It’s different,” he said. “Obviously, the footwork’s different, the timing’s a little bit different, the protection calls are a little bit different when you’re under center.
“But at the same time, you can get into more of the play-action stuff, it’s a little bit more realistic when you are under center. I think some of those fakes are better.
“And then if you stay balanced with the run and the pass under center it just puts that slight second of hesitation in the defense. They’re not exactly sure what you’re doing because they’ve seen so many different looks from being under center.”
From the way Bradford spoke, Pederson’s offensive playbook is also much larger than Kelly’s.
Kelly believes in running the same plays over and over and trying to get them right. Pederson has a vast playbook.
“There are a lot more plays, a lot more concepts in right now compared to this time last year,” Bradford said.
“Last year was very repetitive in practice. You would see the same plays, so you would get to run those plays multiple times, whereas this year we’ve got a big playbook and you might get one rep of a play that week and that’s it, so you’ve really got to learn from what you see on the tape.”