Eagles hopeful Bradford will return
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles are hopeful quarterback Sam Bradford can return to action as the team takes a three-game losing streak on the road to face the New England Patriots.
Bradford, who suffered a concussion and an injury to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the team's 20-19 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 15, has missed the Eagles' last two games, both blowout losses — 45-17 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 45-14 to the Detroit Lions.
"We're looking for him to progress and get to where he needs to be, Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Tuesday. "He wanted to play last game, he really did. He tried some things, but obviously he couldn't go."
If Bradford cannot play again Sunday, Mark Sanchez would make his third start of the season.
Bradford, who did not speak with reporters Tuesday, took part in individual drills during an abbreviated practice at the team's indoor facility. He is expected to practice more Wednesday.
"I just don't know exactly where we are from a throwing standpoint with him," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. "He threw a little bit on Thursday in Detroit. He wasn't ready to play, obviously, but we hope he progresses to that point."
Bradford was cleared from his concussion last week. But his left shoulder is still sore.
"It's not like picking up a baseball and throwing it," Shurmur said. "Throwing a football, you use your whole body."
Bradford threw Tuesday and try more as the week progresses. Kelly said the team also needs to know whether he can take a hit.
"If you have some instability in (the joint), you're susceptible" if you get hit, Kelly said. "Can he handle that?"
Bradford, acquired in the offseason from the St. Louis Rams in exchange for quarterback Nick Foles and a 2016 second-round pick, has been up and down most of the season.
In his eight-plus games, he's completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,297 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, for a quarterback rating of 82.4.
The six-year veteran began to play his best football with the Eagles just before the injury. In a win over the Dallas Cowboys, he completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 295 yards with the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime.
And he was 19 for 25 (76 percent) for 236 yards with a touchdown and a 118.1 rating before getting hurt against the Dolphins.
"Sam has improved each game," Shurmur said. "From going through his progressions, to getting more comfortable with what we're doing. That's a big thing — the comfort level."
Notes: Three Eagles players did not practice on Tuesday. Safety Walter Thurmond (hamstring), wide receiver Josh Huff (back) and running back Ryan Mathews (concussion) were all on the sideline.