Two days away from their Thanksgiving game with the Detroit Lions, the Eagles remained mum Tuesday on the identity of their starting quarterback. Although there are indications that Mark Sanchez will start for the second consecutive week, Sam Bradford is hoping to return to action.
The Eagles had only a walk-through on Tuesday. Bradford was limited, which means he did not take his usual allotment of first-team snaps. He has been cleared from his concussion but still has discomfort from a separated non-throwing shoulder.
"I think [it depends on] how it progresses from here until game time and whether myself and the coaches feel comfortable with me playing," Bradford said about his status in his first public comments since the injury. "I know it feels better today than it did yesterday. I was able to do some things out there yesterday. Hopefully it continues to get better in the next 48 hours."
Bradford said he wants to play. He left the decision in the hands of the training staff and coaching staff. Sanchez said he has not been told whether he will start.
"I'm getting ready to go," Sanchez said. "I know as much as you guys do."
Tackle Lane Johnson said he thinks Sanchez will be the starter. Bradford didn't sound like a player convinced that he would able to play. Perhaps if it was a Sunday game, there would be a better chance. But a Thursday game complicates the recovery.
"That's three days more to recover," Bradford said. "Obviously, that puts us in a little more of a bind."
Bradford said the concussion was the third of his life. He admitted that there was memory loss and said this concussion compared to the previous two. He did not have complications after those concussions.
The shoulder injury is the same one that ended his college career, although he separated his throwing shoulder in college. That required surgery; Bradford said this injury does not need surgery.
Even though the injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, Bradford said the left arm is still important for a righthanded quarterback. If the discomfort in the shoulder limits him, he would not be able to play.
"Keeps you balanced, another arm to defend yourself," Bradford said. "You've got to be able to use it."
Bradford did not think the time away from practice would be a problem. He said the Eagles offense does not change much week-to-week, so it's mostly the same plays for each game.
Chip Kelly did not speak to Philadelphia-area reporters on Tuesday. He told Detroit-area reporters he does not know who the starting quarterback will be on Thursday. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was similarly vague during his Tuesday news conference and said Bradford's status "is up in the air."
"We're going to get them ready to go and start one of them," Shurmur said. "We won't learn any more today because today's a walk-through, so we'll find out."
Sanchez went 26 of 41 for 261 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in place of Bradford. He has thrown four interceptions in five quarters.
"You've got to have a short memory either way - good, bad, or indifferent," Sanchez said. "Just be ready to move on. I think we need to be able to do that in a timely fashion."
One of Sanchez's best games last season came on Thanksgiving against Dallas when the Eagles similarly had a quick turnaround, although he was not coming off a loss then. Sanchez said the Thursday games require "a couple late nights."
"You're coming back from a game where you're hit a couple times," Sanchez said. "You're a little sore. Get in the cold tub and sit there with your iPad and study. Multitask, whether it's getting a massage and watching your iPad or watching your iPad lifting weights."
The Eagles will likely need a similar performance from Sanchez. Although Bradford hopes to play, the short week could force him to sit one more game and for Sanchez to keep the Eagles' season alive.
"We need this game about as bad as we've needed one all year," Bradford said, "so I' hope I'm out there."
Tight end Zach Ertz has not been cleared to return from his concussion and is unlikely to play. Running back Ryan Mathews also has not been cleared to return from a concussion. He has missed one game already. Center Jason Kelce did not participate in the team's walk-through because of a knee injury. Cedric Thornton (ankle) was back on the field after missing practice Monday.