NBC’s Florio: ‘Expect nothing’ from Cardinals QB Sam Bradford
Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford arguably played the best game of his life last September, throwing for 346 yards and completing 27-of-32 passes for three touchdowns and no interceptions in a Week 1 win for the Minnesota Vikings.
A week later, he was on the injury report. Bradford returned a month later, going 5-of-11 before being shut down for the rest of the season.
And in March, Bradford’s former Minnesota coach, Mike Zimmer, characterized the quarterback’s knee issue as “degenerative.”
Despite Arizona betting on Bradford’s health by signing him to a two-year deal with one year and $15 million guaranteed, the team hasn’t silenced the concerns regarding his injuries by allowing rookie quarterback Josh Rosen earn run as the top quarterback throughout offseason mini-camp.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who joined Doug & Wolf on Monday, isn’t putting money on Bradford’s health holding up — not with red flags surrounding the quarterback nine months from his last NFL appearance in early October of 2017.
“I would expect absolutely nothing from Sam Bradford and treat everything he gives you like a bonus,” Florio said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “Even if he’s healthy when he walks out on the field the first game, I’m not going to assume he’ll stay healthy.
“The fact they paid him that much money shows how important it is to have an established veteran quarterback even if he’s got one bad knee.”
Are the Cardinals simply being overly-cautious about resting Bradford this summer? Perhaps.
Bradford’s resume looks plenty good when he’s been able to play. Two seasons ago, he completed an NFL-best 72 percent of his passes, threw for a career-high 3,877 yards and recorded 20 touchdowns to five interceptions for Minnesota.
Arizona’s money spent on backup Mike Glennon and its decision to trade up in the 2018 NFL Draft to select Rosen 10th overall also indicated the team planned for Bradford’s injury issues as best as possible.
After all, Rosen was the talk of training camp, so maybe the Cardinals are even more well-prepared than most expect.
Still, in a much-improved NFC West, expectations aren’t high, mostly because of that quarterback question-mark.
All that said, Florio doesn’t think that’s such a bad position for Arizona to find itself in.
“If I had to choose between being a team that everyone expected to be great versus a team everyone expected to be bad, I would take that one,” he said of the latter. “I kind of like that vibe because maybe the Cardinals can catch some teams off guard. With all that said, it’s a tough division. The Rams are better, the 49ers are perceived to be better. People are writing off the Seahawks and they still have Russell Wilson, which is shocking to me. I think it’s not going to be easy for the Cardinals, but there are enough talented players there — and I think if a few teams take ’em lightly in September and they start to build some confidence …
“I think one of the things about the NFL season, if you can develop confidence earlier, if you become confident, then all of a sudden it’s a snowball that rolls into December.”