Injuries have plagued teams in the NFL’s preseason, with many key players already set to miss the entirety of the upcoming season from them. And another key injury nearly took place when Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford was hit below the knees by Baltimore Ravens defender Terrell Suggs, an incident that has sparked a war of words between two teams who are highly regarded by American football betting experts coming into the upcoming season.
A Poor Option
Philadelphia relies on a very unique offense in American football, in which the quarterback is given a myriad of choices to make while the play is developing in front of him. This offense is referred to as the read option, and consists of the quarterback either handing the ball off to a running back, keeping the ball and running himself, or pretending to perform one of those first two options before throwing a pass. Due to the deceptive nature of this offensive strategy, defenders are taught to treat every option as a threat on every play, which was what happened when Suggs hit Bradford, who had just handed the ball off.
The NFL has commented on the play, saying that what Suggs did was legal. Whether or not Suggs should have realized that Bradford had handed the ball off and not hit him as a courtesy is debatable, but what isn’t debatable is that it was foolish for the Eagles to run a play that was potentially dangerous to its quarterback given Bradford’s injury history.
Bradford Narrowly Avoids Another Injury
For Sam Bradford, injuries aren’t just an occasional issue, but have become the norm. He has missed season after season during his career, which has been spent with the St. Louis Rams until this season. Among the worst of his injuries so far has been knee injuries which have knocked him out for full years at a time. As a result, the Eagles are more defensive when players try to tackle him at the knees. And while that is understandable, they shouldn’t run read option plays with him if they want to protect his health.
Teams Exchange Verbal Jabs
After the Eagles and Ravens wrapped up their game, the Eagles went on the offensive, labeling Suggs as a dirty player who was looking to harm Bradford intentionally. Naturally, the Ravens fought that allegation, with Suggs stating that the play was not illegal and that the Eagles should read the rulebook if they had a problem with what transpired on the field. Suggs continued, saying that he thought it was foolish for the Eagles to run read option plays with Bradford in meaningless preseason games given his gruesome injury history, a point that really can’t be argued by anyone.
Both the Eagles and Ravens should be considered among the favorites to win their respective divisions this season, so this incident will all be forgotten once the regular season begins, but for two teams that tipsters hold in high regard, this could have been an ugly event if Bradford did suffer an injury.
By: Jason M. Sanin