There are huge questions surrounding Eagles four-year linebacker Stewart Bradley, when you think about or discuss what the Eagles linebacker situation will be going forward.
The Utah native started that game at middle linebacker even though he had been drafted as an outside linebacker. Bradley played well in that game and it opened everybody’s eyes to him being a starter at the middle linebacker position.
The big guy had a good year in 2008. He made a total of 151 tackles with one sack and one interception. His ability to play middle linebacker was very helpful to then-defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who had nobody else to play the position.
Although he has great size at 6’4″ and weighs 258 pounds, he can run and change directions very well like he’s a much smaller player. There was tremendous excitement ahead for what Bradley would be able to do after getting a year of experience under his belt.
In 2009 with number 55 positioned as one of the anchors of the defense, he tore up his knee at the Eagles annual Flight night practice during training camp. It caused him to miss the entire season.
He worked hard to recover for 2010 campaign, but in the first game of the season against the Green Bay Packers, Bradley suffered a concussion when he was kneed in the head. He returned after a week off, then started the next 11 games before being hit with the injury bug again.
During those 11 games, Bradley was average as a middle backer. He had 88 tackles with one interception and one sack. The defense had their ups and downs, with more downs than ups.
He dislocated his elbow in the Dallas game and missed the final three games of the season and the playoff game against the Packers.
During his time on the shelf, rookie middle linebacker Jamar Chaney stepped in and played well.
Now the question is: What are the Eagles going to do with Bradley going forward? Is he going to be a starter at middle linebacker spot or will they start Chaney in the middle and move Bradley to the strongside?
In addition to Chaney, the Eagles drafted Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews in the fourth round. They then drafted Ohio State linebacker Brian Rolle in the sixth and UConn linebacker Greg Lloyd in the seventh.
Right now on PhiladelphiaEagles.com, Bradley is listed as the starting middle linebacker. I talked to Chaney a couple of weeks ago and he made it plain that if they didn’t give him the starting middle linebacker job at the start of training camp, he was going to take it during training camp.
I think they should move Bradley to the strongside at Sam linebacker and start Chaney in the middle. I think that allows them to put their best linebackers on the field.
Bradley with his height, strength and speed would be a good match up against the league’s tight ends.
Chaney is the best big play linebacker the Birds have had in a quite a while.
What do you think they should?