If a quarterback wants to be successful in the NFL, good leadership qualities are pretty much essential for execution of the job.
When picturing the leader of an NFL football team, a group of 53 full-grown, athletic and egotistical men, one would expect a leader to be outspoken, loud and easy to spot.
But the Eagles have a different kind of leader in Sam Bradford. And though he may not be delivering emotional, inspiring speeches at the top of his lungs before kickoff each week, he certainly commands the respect of his Philadelphia teammates.
"He's definitely a quiet guy but if he wants to says something, he's going to get his point across," Eagles tight end Zach Ertz said. "I think that's what you need in a leader. They don't need to be a 'rah rah' guy every day -- bringing a huge speech every game, but when he gives a speech everyone listens to him."
In a move that has become notorious here in Philadelphia, Bradford took the offense aside -- in the Eagles' shower -- prior to last Sunday's game against the Saints and said something special. But just what it was that he said won't be made public anytime soon. All we know is that it motivated Philly's offense to gain 519 yards and pulverize New Orleans 39-17.
"If you weren't in that locker room, that shower, you aren't going to know what was said in there," Bradford told an inquisitive media Thursday. "I felt like like the time was right, something needed to be said and hopefully it fired the guys up."
The Eagles may perhaps have saved their season last week, as the squad now has its first opportunity to leap into first place in the NFC East with the Giants coming to town Monday night.
It's impressive that Bradford has seized the leadership role as much as he has in such a short time. Coming to Philly in a trade from the Rams and off of serious knee surgery, the quarterback didn't even have clearance to play in the Eagles preseason opener two months ago. He's come a long way.
"You've got to establish yourself a little bit before you can start to say," Chip Kelly said, "because I mean, anybody would be like, ‘Why is this guy telling me something to do? He just got here.’ And I think Sam handled it really well. Sam was a little bit more quiet in April and May because he wasn't really full-go in terms of what we were doing, but I think as he has gotten more snaps, as he came back to preseason camp and we started rolling here in August, you could start to see him assert himself a little bit more. So I think it's a process."
And hopefully for Eagles fans, it keeps progressing toward a playoff berth.
"I am very comfortable," Bradford said. "I've been around here, going into Week 6 of the season... it seems like a lot of times people question my leadership because I am quiet. They don't see what I do behind the scenes or the relationships I have built with those guys. I am very comfortable stepping up and saying something when I feel it needs to be said."