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Thread: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

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    The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    By Rick Venturi
    July 20, 2012

    A lot has been said about the sense of optimism brought to Earth City with the arrival of head coach Jeff Fisher and his staff. There seems to be a growing feeling that this new regime will bring talented people in and max out their abilities once here. Assuming this to be true, which I do, the question coming up will now transfer from a franchise in futility to the biggest investment piece within the franchise, Sam Bradford.

    There has been a ton of talk about Sam by the pundits in the offseason, and there seems to be a complete 180-degree turn from the optimism that surrounded him just one year ago. I do believe we live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately atmosphere, and the recent criticism may be excessive, but I do think it’s important to analyze the first two years in Bradford’s career with the Rams and try to sort through the good and the not-so-good, and try to project what we really have here.

    I have continually insisted that Sam has played with half a deck in terms of a supporting cast. His lone perimeter assets, running back Steven Jackson, and slot specialist Danny Amendola, only threaten the inside portions of the field. This has allowed defenses for two years to “pack it in” with schemes that take away the run and essentially double the slot as well. The problem with the lack of wideouts who stretch the outside quadrants of the field is that it also invites an inordinate number of blitzes from defensive coordinators, since they don’t fear giving up explosive plays if the pressure doesn’t get home.

    Also, this offensive line is much more equipped at run blocking that trying to exist in a pass-happy scheme. This was brought to bear with the suicidal overuse of seven-step drops and excessive use of “empty” sets, which exposed this group and created a “killing field” for Rams quarterbacks. The one guy who did understand the limitations of this team was former offensive coordinator and St. Louis media punching bag, Pat Shurmur, who insisted on a quick rhythm passing system and a supplementary move-the-quarterback attack.

    Let’s revisit what we have in Sam. One, we have a guy with physical presence and a terrific arm. He definitely can make all the NFL throws necessary to be an “elite” talent. He’s also blessed with vertical athleticism and can make big throws on the edge with sprints and bootlegs. His football mind is off the charts, and I believe he has all the “right stuff,” character-wise, to be special. That package, at first glance, has the makings of a winning combination and was certainly on display in his rookie season of 2010.

    In 2011, I saw some cracks in the armor early in camp. The emphasis on play action forced Sam to play with his back to the defense for the first time in his career, and he expectedly looked unsure on deep and second-level reads. He also showed vulnerability to “edge” pressure and tended to get flat-footed in the pocket. The inability of the offense to get people open quickly only exaggerated the problem. He became more stationary and vulnerable to the rush as the weeks wore on. Though he stayed positive publicly, his body language on the field took on a painful look.

    For Sam to meet the high expectations set before him, several things must happen. One, the coaching staff must get back to establishing a scheme that complements the players’ strengths while minimizing their liabilities. Hopefully, Fisher has improved the explosiveness of the receiver corps and the offensive staff has come to grips with the offensive line for what it is.

    I have said it before: Sam has grown up in a quick-release, pre-read system in college, and a quarterback-friendly “triangle progression” system under Shurmur. What he must learn on the intermediate game (play action and seven-step drop) is the anticipation of openings in the defense and pocket awareness. Guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are not the raw athletes that Bradford is, but they instinctively slide in and out of trouble to buy time and make plays, At this point, Sam is a statue in this part of the game.

    These issues will have to be addressed by Sam for him to progress. The other issue is the intangible factor. Will the understated, quiet personality become the emotional catalyst this team needs? The aforementioned quarterbacks take over a room when they walk in. They bring a charisma to the team that is real and vital to success. Sam will never bring that personality to the franchise, but in his own way, he must drive this car. It can be argued that Joe Montana or Eli Manning do not overwhelm you with their personalities, but they win a lot of big games.

    For Sam, as the surrounding cast improves, his personal accountability will rise. One of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway, titles one of his famous novels “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” For Sam, the bell will shortly toll for thee!


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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    Yawn.

    Wake me up when someone writes an interesting article about Sam. I, for one, have no interest in the "its due or die" themes for a 3rd year QB who's on his third OC, and has never had a good O line or receivers corps.

    Its not for the media to decide when Sam's time is up. That's up to the team, and they know better than the hacks who write this drivel.

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    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Yawn.

    Wake me up when someone writes an interesting article about Sam. I, for one, have no interest in the "its due or die" themes for a 3rd year QB who's on his third OC, and has never had a good O line or receivers corps.

    Its not for the media to decide when Sam's time is up. That's up to the team, and they know better than the hacks who write this drivel.

    I generally agree with what you said, but at the same time there is indeed a sense of urgency for both Sam and this football team. What we've witnessed the last 8 years with this team is a never-ending assortment of excuses and explanations as to why player (fill in the blank_______________) wasn't successful; injuries, a new coordinator, a new scheme(s), no continuity, no talent, more injuries, no money for quality free agents, bad decision making, bad coaching, bad drafts, no skill players, a tough schedule and on and on and on. Certainly, some of these variables were legitimate. But I'm afraid a segment of our fans have simply become so accustomed to failure that they're always going to be armed and ready with an excuse. How about this: "GET THE FREAKING JOB DONE". Maximize your talent. Do well with the things that are within your control. Elevate your game when playing better teams. Display toughness. Make good decisions. Work hard. Expect success from yourself and inspire others through your play. And this of course goes for Sam and every other Ram on the roster.

    Fairly or unfairly, the days of giving a guy 7 or 8 years to blossom are over. From that standpoint, this is indeed a big year for Bradford. I don't expect Sam Bradford to be Drew Brees, but last year cannot be repeated under any circumstances.
    macrammer likes this.

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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    Very tired as well of reading the hacks' hacking-up what the other hacks already hacked-up, but I thought this article was a cut above the others. I didn't see the" do or die" theme you refer to, but rather that Bradford should look significantly better this year than he has (for whatever reason), and he should.

    I do take exception to his reference/comparison to Brady and Manning, arguably 1-2 in the history of the NFL, both of whom have 10 years under their belts, as far as his pocket awareness/mobility goes. Way too many factors involved in comparing a 2-year QB to those 2. Patently ridiculous, actually.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    Quote Originally Posted by VegasRam View Post
    I didn't see the" do or die" theme you refer to.
    Exactly what "bell" do you think Hemingway was referring to? Hint: it ain't the dinner bell.

    As for a "sense of urgency"... here is my list of teams and players who should have a sense of urgency right now:

    all of them

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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    Look on the bright side, in less than 3 weeks, we don't have to hear this crap with the preseason starting.
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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    "Sam's gotta play better than last year." ...big freakin' revelation. Just like "we can't have as many injuries", or "receivers gotta hang on."

    I keep hearing rookies AND veterans raving about Sam's incredible accuracy in the year's camps so far. I think Sam is so geared up for a fantastic year that we're gonna be in awe. ....unless of course there's a plethora of injuries and receivers can't catch...yada yada.....

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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    Actually, the quote is "Ask not for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for thee" Clearly present tense.
    In his article, Venturi states the bell will toll shortly. Clearly future tense.
    Shortly can be a relative term, especally depending on one's age.
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    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    I don't really see it as do or die for Sam right now, at least not for the Rams unless the rest of the offense really improves over last year.

    Until they can prove that they can pass protect well enough for a long pass and we have receivers that can actually get open and catch the ball, what does it matter if your quarterback sucks too?

    I think/hope that the Rams continue to solidify their defense and expect them to continue upgrading their offensive line as a unit. If the rest of the offense starts to turn it around and Bradford continues to struggle, then and only then would I worry about finding the next quarterback.

    But I feel like people always seem to over-glorify the quarterback position.

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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    I'll wait until the conclusion of the upcoming season to read these articles.

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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    Even with training camp around the corner, we are in the desert of the offseason. Nothing but rehashes of the same article 10x over.

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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    It's analogous to NASCAR. You can have a great driver, like Jimmy Lee Jackleg, behind the wheel; but if that wheel is attached to a '78 AMC Pacer, that race team is going to lose every single time. So the race owner fires Jimmy Lee and brings in Bobby Earl Buttrash. They tune the car up, but it's still a '78 Pacer. So of course they keep losing. Out goes Bobby Earl and in comes Ray Lynn Rottenwood to take a turn in the ol' Pacer. Turns out he loses his first 2 races.

    And how will the fans respond???

    "I'm so sick and tired of all the excuses for Ray Lynn. We can't keep saying it's the Pacer's fault. We made the same excuses for Jimmy Lee and Bobby Earl. The driver has to step up and win NOW!"

    Bradford is a talented QB, but he can't block or catch. He can only pass. These aren't excuses. These are reasons. There is a difference. He has things he can do better, certainly. But this offense has to play better as a whole.

    At some point, you gotta scrap the Pacer.
    Last edited by HUbison; -07-24-2012 at 09:30 AM.
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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    For Sam, the bell will shortly toll for thee!
    Shortly? It sure as heck shouldnt be YEAR ONE of his 3rd (straight) different offense and a (still) pretty bare cupboard of WRs. Check back in 2-3 years, when we see the fruits of these next couple of (potentially franchise changing) drafts.
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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Bradford is a talented QB, but he can't block or catch. He can only pass. These aren't excuses. These are reasons. There is a difference. He has things he can do better, certainly. But this offense has to play better as a whole.
    This is exactly the way I see it. Anyone who thinks last year was a workable situation for Bradford, needs to think again. Any discussion about Bradford being damaged goods or in a "do or die" situation is way too premature IMO.

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    Re: The Bell Now Tolls for Thee Sam ..

    I think this is a VERY important year for Bradford. If he plays well and the Rams staring winning he will be on pace and the noise will die down as far as him not being a franchise QB. He will be given more time to learn the scheme and the Rams can load of on the talent around him.

    If he plays poor and the Rams loose, being injuries, lack of talent around him, third scheme in three years. All this noise will fall on deaf ears as the most fans and the media will say he's not a franchise QB.

    The extra scrutiny of being a number one pick will always cause expectations to be higher and throw in the trade or and or the endorsement by passing on RGIII. If RGIII plays like Cam did in his rookie year and some expect he will, and Bradford is still regression or playing on what seems to be a talentless team. I would say the noise will be deafening.

    That being said IMO Bradford will be a franchise QB but it will take four or five years, for him to be one.

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