The Arizona Cardinals are ready to take the training wheels off Sam Bradford. They believe his knee is well enough to give him real work during minicamp.
Josh Rosen has made most of the quarterback headlines in Arizona this preseason. The precocious rookie is about to get some real competition though. Steve Wilks and the coaching staff are ready to give Sam Bradford some real work as the team’s minicamp comes to a close.
The team knew his knee probably wouldn’t recover in time to allow him to be a full participant in minicamp but Wilks believes Bradford’s recovery is “on schedule.” That will allow him to get on the field more in the coming days.
That extra work will be required if Bradford is going to start the season as the team’s starter. Cardinals’ officials have repeatedly insisted that the former Sooner star will lead the offense on Week 1. Rosen, of course, has made things interesting with his excellent play during OTAs and minicamp.
It’s very possible that Rosen’s bright start has been a big motivating factor for Bradford during his rehab. He likely understands this may be his last chance to enter the season as a starter at the NFL level. His lengthy injury history renders him untouchable for some front offices. He’ll need a healthy and productive 2018 if he wants to extend his career in any sort of meaningful way.
The Cardinals will hope that David Johnson can lead a rejuvenated run game to take pressure off Bradford. The team’s recent investment in the offensive line should also provide more push and protection up front. Even so, it’s hard to imagine Bradford surviving a full season. He did miss 14 games last season due to injury. That’s hardly unusual for his career.
Ultimately, Cardinals fans should meet any news about Sam Bradford with extremely cautious optimism. Anything they get out of him this season should be regarded as a bonus. In the end, he’s just keeping Rosen’s seat warm for him as long as possible.