Once again, Stewart Bradley was taken off of the field in the Eagles vs. Cowboys game with another injury. This time around it is a dislocated elbow, and it immediately looked like a serious and possibly season ending injury. In the second quarter of the game, Bradley had his legs taken out from under him, and he landed on his elbow, which bent backwards into his shoulder. This is Bradley’s third serious injury in the past two seasons.
Last season, Bradley was out for the entire year with a torn ACL, and at the start of this season he suffered a concussion in the season opener against Green Bay. Now, with this latest injury, you have to wonder what the Eagles are going to do with a, 37 year old and injury riddled MLB. To put even more pressure on Bradley, this is his contract year with the Eagles.
As soon as it looked like Bradley was turning around this season, he went down with a nasty injury, and he will more than likely be sidelined for the remainder of the year. This hurts not only Bradley’s career as an Eagle, but also the Eagles defense. It would seem like it would be a big gamble to resign a player who has had nothing but injuries for the majority of his career, only finishing two seasons out of four.
It also seems that Bradley has fallen out of the favors of Philadelphia fans, which makes an even stronger push to not resign him. Until recently, there were talks of him being the worst MLB in the entire NFL, as he could not drop back into coverage, and he continually missed tackles. The biggest issue was not the missed tackles, but his inability to cover tight ends. This was the Eagles biggest weakness on defense, and you can tell that teams were able to exploit it. In the majority of the games, Bradley was lined up with an athletic TE and simply blew his coverage, or just fell behind on his man.
This puts the Eagles defense in a tough position, having to play without a veteran MLB. This means that the Eagles defense will be playing backups throughout the remainder of the season, and then into the playoffs. What makes it even worse, is some of the teams that the Eagles have to play in the regular season, and the teams they will be matched up against in the playoffs, consistently have good rushing attacks. This is where Bradley will be missed the most, where you won’t have him blocking lanes and getting pressure to make tackles in the backfield. Hopefully the Eagles second team line backers will be able to pull through and contain the opposing running backs as well as Bradley did.
I liked Bradley as a draft choice when Reid decided to take him in 2007. But since then, he really has not lived up to expectations and there are definitely better MLB’s in the NFL and much better players coming out of this years draft. I can name a number of teams that could use Bradley in their defensive set, and would more than likely pick him up off of the free agent list. Many teams could use the leadership and experience that Bradley has to offer.
But in Philadelphia, it seems like Bradley’s time as the starting MLB is just about over.