Stewart Bradley: “I’m Playing!” Andy Reid: “Uhh, I’m Not So Optimistic”

4 01 2011

After Sunday’s “bye week” loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Eagles injured middle linebacker Stewart Bradley said emphatically said he was looking forward to playing this week against the Packers.

Coach Reid at his day after press conference didn’t seem so confident that Bradley would be playing against the Packers.

“It would be a stretch to get him ready to play on Sunday, but we’ll see how all that goes.  You know, we gotta see how he does, he hasn’t been able to put pressure on it (elbow) yet.  If he’s ready to play, he’s going to play, he’s just not ready right now. ”

That sounds to me like a coach that isn’t expecting his starting middle linebacker to be starting on Sunday.  Now when it comes to these type of situations, Reid can be sneaky.  Is he not committing to Bradley so that the Packers are unsure of who will be playing in the middle? Perhaps.  Who is playing middle linebacker for the Eagles has a lot to do with the Packers game planning.

Bradley is great against the run, which the Packers have none of.  But Bradley struggles big time against covering the opponents tight end, of which the Packers use the TE more than most teams, especially in the red zone.  An offense that is 7th overall in red zone productivity.  The same red zone where the Eagles are the WORST statistical red zone defense in the previous 25 seasons in the NFL!

On the other hand rookie Jamar Chaney is athletic and all over the field.  He came out of no where when Bradley went down, even accumulating 16 tackles in one game. He can run side to side, he can run North to South.  That guy is athletic as shit.  What he does not have is the experience of Bradley, which come playoff time is invaluable.  Chaney has been pretty damn good at recognizing defenses and for the most part making the right calls, which is the primary duty of the middle linebacker.   Bradley wouldn’t be close to 100%, whereas Chaney would be and would bring more athleticism to the field.   The dilemma Reid and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott face is to go with Chaney or Bradley, experience vs non experience, athleticism vs hobbled veteran, a combination of both playing, or just finding a place on the field for Chaney.  Either way the middle linebacker position will have a big impact on the first playoff game under the Michael Vick era.




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