GREEN BAY, Wis. - One question Chip Kelly shouldn't have to answer this week is whether he has seen enough of Sam Bradford yet.
He'll probably be asked, anyway, and he still won't answer, but the fact is that everyone has now seen enough of Bradford to know he is ready for the NFL regular season. And you can put the Green Bay Packers at the top of that list. They've really seen enough of him.
Bradford, who didn't play in the opening exhibition game and was limited to just one drive in the second one, was on the field for the first three drives of the 39-26 win over the Packers on Saturday night in the third exhibition. He didn't play that many more snaps in this one, but made the most of them. Did he ever.
"We'll look at the film. I'm sure I missed a few things tonight," Bradford said.
Well, not receivers. He completed all 10 passes he attempted, including a touchdown pass to close out each of the three drives. He also took at least one more good shot from a defender, something he has said is good for his confidence as he completes his recovery from a second anterior cruciate ligament tear.
"I thought Sam played well. He was poised, carried out what we were doing, and he located well," Kelly said.
There's not much else the guy needs to do, and that's good, because it's almost certain he has seen his last live action until the Sept. 14 opener against the Atlanta Falcons. He might still be fragile in some ways. He might still have things to fine-tune within the offense. That's fine. Pack him up, put a baseball cap on his head, and give him a nice sideline spot to watch the preseason finale Thursday against the Jets.
One thing Bradford doesn't need to do is shake off rust accumulated since his last regular-season action on Oct. 20, 2013. That's because there doesn't appear to be any. Against the Packers, he was poised and very nearly perfect. His quarterback rating of 156.7 was just a tick away from the highest-possible rating of 158.3, and was marked down by the league's nerdy formula only because the three shortish drives didn't require much in terms of yardage or yards per completion.
As it was, Bradford played a total of 20 snaps, up from 14 the week before. Those 14 previous snaps came all in one drive and also ended with a touchdown. So, the new quarterback has led four drives, and the team has come away with four touchdowns. All that remains to be seen is whether the city will leave up the fencing and Porta-Potties from the pope's visit in anticipation of the parade.
It certainly wasn't any one play that sealed the deal on Saturday, but there were some highlights, including a beautiful soft-touch pass on a wheel route to Darren Sproles for the first touchdown and an equally impressive bullet through traffic into the back of the end zone to Brent Celek for the last one. The touchdown in between - on fourth and goal from the 3-yard line, with Trey Burton getting loose over the middle on a bit of a pick play - featured Bradford standing firm in the pocket until Burton broke free, although it meant taking a solid hit in the ribs from defensive back Micah Hyde.
As was the case last week, when Bradford bounced up from a more dangerous shot to the area of his repaired knee by Terrell Suggs, he didn't look any different from any other quarterback in the same situation. Which is exactly what you want to see.
His best pass of the night, although this is splitting hairs, might have been a 27-yard completion to Jordan Matthews near the start of the second drive. Matthews beat Hyde off the line and gained a little separation, but not much. It was enough for Bradford, though, and he delivered a ball with good pace and remarkable accuracy that carried just past Hyde's outstretched hands and into those of Matthews.
Bradford benefited from good protection from the offensive line and from effective running by DeMarco Murray that forced Green Bay to respect the play-action fakes.
"We had a great week of work, and I thought we'd be ready to go," Bradford said. "We found our rhythm early."
They were ready to go on Saturday against Green Bay, and now the first team is ready to go on Sept. 14 against Atlanta. Bradford certainly did everything he was asked, and he was the one who answered the question that Chip Kelly shouldn't have to address again. We've seen plenty. Take a seat, Sam.