Jason La Canfora is known for being bitter sometimes, despite being a very good reporter for CBS Sports. But he’s literally just lost any semblance of brownie points among smart football fans after he penned this ridiculous article aimed at Chip Kelly. You see, Washington’s head coach, Jay Gruden, isn’t crazy because he almost let his quarterback die on the field, but Chip Kelly is crazy for trying to get Sam Bradford familiarized with live, in-game action offense.
Is Jay Gruden actively trying to sabotage his quarterback? That question is being thrown around in Washington, with Robert Griffin III caught up in yet another quasi-controversy. But Gruden keeping his starting QB in a meaningless preseason game where RG3 was taking a pounding is far from the most egregious coaching decision from Week 2 of the preseason. Not even close.
Yikes. I’m scorched. This hot take brought to you by the letters L-O-L. If La Canfora can take off the burgundy and gold colored glasses for a microsecond, he might notice the following:
He literally just said a coach leaving his beat up quarterback in during a meaningless game wasn’t as bad as a coach up the turnpike trying to filter his number one quarterback into an explosive offense during his first live game action in one year. That’s essentially what Chip Kelly was doing, and not even La Canfora can argue against that. In fact, La Canfora is a fan of leaving your quarterback on the field to die… unless Chip’s calling the shots.
I actually don’t have a problem with what Gruden — a man who has courted plenty of second-guessing in his short head coaching career — did in this instance. It’s far more troubling, in my opinion, what took place up I-95 two nights later when Chip Kelly invited disaster with how he re-introduced ever-injured Sam Bradford back to the NFL after yet another long absence from an ACL tear.
If you are looking for a coach to go off on, a decision to micro-analyze, it’s Kelly putting Bradford into the line of fire on a read-option play in a meaningless preseason game as the quarterback tries to avoid suffering yet another season-ending injury.
After handling Bradford with kid gloves through the OTAs and training camp, in his first game back, against a vicious Ravens‘ defense, Kelly puts Bradford in a vulnerable space against elite edge defenders likeTerrell Suggs who have been instructed to crash down on the quarterback on such plays.
That’s silly and unnecessary, and if it’s indicative of the kind of offense Kelly will continue to run with this particular passer, then you’ll probably be listening to plenty of grousing from the Eagles‘ linemen about the kind of hits Bradford has to absorb.
Regardless of the argument that the play was a read option vs. a shotgun handoff, it’s plausible to ascertain Suggs, during the speed of live game action, didn’t know Bradford didn’t have the ball after he handed it off. You could make that argument, but I wouldn’t agree with it. More on that portion later.
In fact, I don’t think the hit was illegal as so much dirty, which can be two different things. Unfortunately, people fail to realize that a legal hit can be dirty – Nick Foles was blindsided by Washington’s Chris Baker on a technically legal hit, but clearly dirty, last season.
Now, La Canfora was all lubed up with Dean Blandino’s explanation of why that Suggs hit was legal, and despite Chip telling us during his press conference Monday that it wasn’t a read option play, La Canfora didn’t want to talk about that. Whether he agrees with it or not, he’s not worried about, you know, the guy who actually called the play and what it was actually supposed to be; he’s more apt to side with the person that agrees with his assessment. That’s certainly unbiased, isn’t it?
Kelly is giving the appearance there may be some deception in where the ball is going in the run game. If he thinks defenders — who haven’t caught a break from the NFL’s rule makers in seemingly forever — are now going to have to diagnose intent and whether this is simply a shotgun handoff, as he claims, or a designed zone run play, well, it ain’t happening.
There was literally no deception during that play, but whatever, Jason. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Or something. And instead of giving Chip the benefit of the doubt, because writers hate giving rival coaches that B.O.D. thing, he simply hid it away in one sentence that said Eagles players couldn’t agree on whether it was a read option or not. But, I guess the coach should never be given the B.O.D. unless he’s Jay Gruden.
Of course, the Eagles couldn’t even agree as to whether this was definitively a read-option play, with different players saying different things to the media Monday. Some called it a read-option look with an unblocked defender.
As they sort that out, the Eagles might want to backtrack on some of their comments about Suggs from the weekend. If anything, the play offered a template of what’s to come possibly. It triggered a rare preseason war of words with another team, with Ravens coachJohn Harbaugh taking umbrage with the Eagles’ verbal attacks of Suggs. He said the Eagles “popping off about someone’s character” is not something the Ravens “respect.”
Philly players getting touchy now about injuries — for a roster filled with guys who either have a long history of health issues or who are still trying to recover from a 2014 surgery or all of the above — isn’t going to serve them well, given the sheer number of guys Kelly has assembled who are nursing those situations as the regular season approaches.
Huh? Why would the Eagles backtrack on their comments about Suggs? He’s a dirty player. He’s admitted as such. He’s a bad person. But don’t let facts get in the way of your narrative, Jason. This has nothing to do with the injury history to current Eagles, and more to do with a dirty leap at the knees that everyone pretty much telegraphed. Talk about the bang-bang play… this wasn’t bang-bang.
It’s one thing to get your starting quarterback out there and get used to getting hit again, which is exactly what happened on Saturday night. But it’s another thing when a guy from the team you’ve practiced against all week decides to lung at said quarterback’s knees. Even if Bradford wasn’t coming off of two ACL repairs back-to-back, that would be looked at as dirty if the quarterback was Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, no question about it.
You can’t keep everyone in a bubble, though some require it more than others. Bradford, especially on a winning team with that contract, would seem to be the poster boy for going to any reasonable length to protect him, however. Calling a play that imperils him and runs counter to his natural strengths and abilities, anyway, might not be the best bet. If Gruden was the guy calling that play for Bradford, I suspect we’d hear a lot more outrage about it. And if Kelly still had RG3 in that game in Washington, I suggest we’d hear barely a whimper.
What!? What the hell is La Canfora talking about? There’s still the race issue surrounding Kelly that probably won’t be gone any time soon. Even though it’s clearly been publicized that he isn’t racist and just wants certain types of players that put team first before themselves, I beg to differ with La Canfora that if Kelly kept RG3 in that game, we’d barely hear a whimper. What stupidity.
Make no mistake about it, La Canfora isn’t unbiased at all. So there’s that.