Instant analysis: Eagles well equipped to handle Nigel Bradham suspension

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The Eagles may have shedded their underdog skin, but it doesn’t mean that their backs won’t be against the wall at times. Just as the dust began to settle on the ‘White House’ controversy, another obstacle has leapt out in front of the reigning World Champions.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Nigel Bradham will miss the opening game of the season due to a suspension.

This comes as a result of Bradham’s two off-the-field incidents in 2016. The notable ‘Umbrella’ incident that saw Bradham assault a hotel employee was then overshadowed by an arrest at an Airport after a fun was found in his bag. Jim Schwartz didn’t take long in disciplining his linebacker, essentially benching him until absolutely necessary against the Lion’s and openly talking to the media about the reputation he would garner if this continued.

Since then, Bradham has evaded run-ins with the law altogether, however time has caught up with the man who recently signed a long-term deal with the team, as the league thought it would be fair to suspend him for just one game.

The Eagles open their title defense against the Atlanta Falcons, so it’s safe to say there would be games against less intimidating opponents that would make the suspension hurt a lot less, but it is what it is. Bradham’s role was absolutely crucial when the Eagles had to cope without the services of Jordan Hicks last year and his return should minimize the inverse loss.

However, what we could see is plenty of Malcolm Jenkins playing inside the box. After all, the 2x Super Bowl champion did play over 40% of his snaps last year as a linebacker. Other options include Nate Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill and Corey Nelson, who could all see some significant time in week one.

This would be a real opportunity for any of the three latter named linebackers to really make an impact. All three had very strong spring periods and are looking to earn the recently vacated OLB role left by Mychal Kendricks. being able to play both inside and outside would be another feather in the hat for these players, all of whom will be chomping at the bit for playing time throughout training camp, preseason and beyond.

The loss of Bradham will no doubt hurt the Eagles. After all, he did very much become the heartbeat of the defense last year. With that said, it does pave the way for some developmental talent to step in and make their presence felt alongside Jordan Hicks, leaving Schwartz with plenty of optionality.

“We have been in contact with Nigel and the NFL regarding his suspension.” The Eagles said, via a press release following the announcement. “We respect the league’s decision on this matter and we are disappointed that Nigel put himself in this position. Nigel has taken responsibility and expressed to us through his words and actions that he has learned from his mistake. We will continue to be supportive of him throughout this process.”

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

 

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