FELLOW Eagles fans, I think too many of you aren’t doing your homework like Eagles fans used to. We’re widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable fan bases, but it seems like fans here have fallen asleep at the switch when it comes to one of our own. I’m specifically talking about OLB Nigel Bradham.
The Philadelphia Eagles official website put out this fan poll:
As you can see, Bradham got just 2% of that vote. Just, 2%. That’s worth mentioning because the two players directly above him in the poll are back-ups.
While I initially thought Bradham would be coming in to play WLB, the rumblings are that he’ll be playing the SLB spot. That will make him responsible for covering Jason Witten, and Jordan Reed twice a year. (The giants seem to be transitioning at TE.) Last year Connor Barwin played SLB and while he is an accomplished pass rusher, he leaves something to be desired in coverage.
Bradham isn’t anywhere near the rush artist that Barwin is, but he’s good against the run because he doesn’t stay blocked, and unlike Barwin, can be trusted in man coverage even down the sideline. Think of it like having a second Mychal Kendricks. Not just in skill set, but also in attitude.
I said before, we haven’t had an OLB pairing this talented since Seth Joyner and William Thomas. Our opponents have gotten used to being able to do things to us on the perimeters of our Defense, because stellar OLB play hasn’t been a staple of this team in a long time. Over the past two decades, we’ve had better luck inside than outside.
Bradham being here frees up the Safeties, allowing them to help deep and take away the long ball that has been victimizing us since 2010. That coverage helps buy time for our Defensive Line to get to the QB. Swap him out for either Barwin or Brandon Graham, and you lose that.
Look, Brandon Brooks starting at Guard may help revive our rushing attack. Rodney McLeod starting at FS may help give us one the top secondaries in the NFL. You expect big things from starters, so their places on the poll are in line with what you’d expect. Bradham’s place however, is a sure sign that some Eagles fans are not doing their homework they way they used to.