PLAYING quarterback for Chip Kelly requires a lot of things, but a brain isn't necessarily one of them. Well, at least before the ball is snapped.

You don't call the play. You can't audible out of it if you see disaster looming or think something else might work better.

And you pretty much have no say in the protection calls that could determine whether you're able to practice the next week or have to spend it in a dark room going through concussion protocol.

That's not meant as a criticism of Kelly's up-tempo offense. It's just the way it is. He is all about speed and getting the next play off and wearing down the defense. And there is no time to change the call or the protection, even if you know you might be walking into a minefield.

It should be noted that once he regained full confidence in his twice-shredded left knee last season, Sam Bradford flourished in Kelly's offense.

He had the eighth-best overall passer rating (97.4) in the league over the last nine weeks of the season and the sixth-best third-down passer rating (100.7).

That said, Bradford has made no secret of the fact that he's looking forward to the new presnap freedom he'll be given in Doug Pederson's offense. For the first time since being traded to the Eagles 17 months ago, he'll be able to call audibles and change protection calls.

"I think that's what every quarterback wants," Bradford said. "You want the ability to get in and out of plays. You want the ability to make things right.

"Obviously, it puts more pressure on you during the week to study. To know what the opponent is going to do. To be ready for certain looks and take advantage of those looks when they present themselves."

Bradford, who had a 3.95 GPA in finance at the University of Oklahoma, does not take his new authority lightly.

"There is freedom, but with that freedom comes a lot of responsibility," he said. "You're in charge of getting into the right play, getting out of a bad play. You're responsible, really, for everyone out there.

"Last year with Chip, trying to play at the tempo that we did, it was hard to really do that. We chose tempo over that freedom. There's benefits to each.

"But it's nice knowing that when you get to the line of scrimmage, if you immediately know that, hey, this is not a good play into this look, this is a bad play for this coverage, that I have the ability to get us into something better.

"Hopefully, with that freedom, there will be fewer negative plays. That's the goal when you play with this mentality."

Last season, 168 of the Eagles' 1,102 offensive plays resulted in negative yardage. That was the third-most in the league, behind only Buffalo (171) and Cleveland (175).

"I put more on the quarterbacks in this system, and it's kind of what I've been accustomed to," Pederson said. "Even when I was a player with coach (Andy) Reid, he put everything on the quarterback and we had to learn it that way.

"I think, too, we've got some sharp centers like (Jason) Kelce, who can see the field tremendously. So the quarterback-center communication level has to be at an extreme high."

Kelce and Bradford are two very different personalities, but they see the game of football through the same prism.

They have spent a lot of time together over the last four-plus months, making sure they're on the same page. Call them Brelce. Or Kelford.

"This year, we talk a lot more on the practice field, the dialogue after sets, getting together (and) talking about what we saw on certain plays, what we saw on certain calls," Bradford said. "What he saw. What I saw. That dialogue has been great.

"Last year, I basically had to react to what Kelce and the guys up front did. This year, it's more of a joint effort. And I think me and him, more than we did last year, have to be on the same page as far as what we're seeing."

Kelce is as good as any center in the league at setting protections. So it's not like Bradford's going to be using his veto power every down. But on those rare occasions when he sees something that Kelce might have missed, he'll have the ability to make a quick presnap adjustment.

"Ultimately, I'm in charge of making a (protection) call, but he's in charge of making the call that he wants," Kelce said.

"I'm still doing the same stuff I was doing. It's just that the quarterback has the right to have the final say. Really, he's always had that option. But now, they're giving him a much bigger voice. Because we can get to things like changing the play, changing the protection.

"There's a multiplicity of things we can do at the line now. Before, it was just, make sure the quarterback hears where the line is going. And then he knows what to do after that."

@Pdomo

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