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Thread: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

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    Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    Bernie: Bradford takes a big step back

    1 hour ago ē BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist

    Thirty-six starts into Sam Bradfordís NFL career, the Rams still donít know what they have. Oh, the Rams will tell you that they believe in Bradford. What else are they supposed to say?

    According to the convenient narrative, Bradfordís potential was a primary reason for Jeff Fisherís decision to accept the coaching job in St. Louis instead of Miami.

    Yes, the Rams will tell you that Sam is exactly what they want in a quarterback, and itís just a matter of time before everything clicks. Put better talent around Bradford, let him settle into the latest new offense, and his career will lift off.

    Publicly, the Rams are sticking to their story: Sam is their man. Team coaches and executives offer nothing but praise, encouragement and positive reinforcement.

    Itís pretty amazing, really.

    When a beaten-down Kurt Warner began to lose his touch, he didnít receive as much support from Mike Martz as the Rams are giving Bradford now.

    Sam can do no wrong ó well, at least not in the eyes of the people that pay and coach him.

    Sunday, after Bradford and the Rams were embarrassed 27-13 by the determined and inspired New York Jets at the Edward Jones Dome, Fisher came dangerously close to criticizing his quarterback.

    As Fisher described the Jets effectiveness at covering the St. Louis receivers, he added, ďand Sam was holding onto the ball.Ē

    Whoa ... what do we have here?

    Was Fisher upset with Bradfordís indecisive, slo-mo, play in the pocket? Was he suggesting that Bradford needed to be more assertive, even if it meant throwing the ball away?

    Bradford struggled through one of his poorest games as a Ram, and everyone in the stadium could see it.

    Well, not quite everyone.

    ďIím not faulting Sam by any means,Ē Fisher said, making a quick backpedal. ďIím just complimenting the defense. Thatís a tough defense to play against.Ē

    This impenetrable NY Jets defense came into Sundayís engagement having given up more points per game (25.4) than all but eight NFL teams.

    In the two previous games, both losses, the invincible Jets defense had somehow succumbed to Miami backup quarterback Matt Moore and Seattle rookie QB Russell Wilson.

    Bradford was brilliant on the Ramsí first series, completing six of eight passes for 80 yards, including a one-yard TD pass to Brandon Gibson on fourth down. (Hey, Gibby lined up right!)

    But after a sharp opening drive Sunday, Bradford took a step back. Actually, he took a trip back in time to the horrors of 2011.

    Over the Ramsí next eight possessions, Bradford completed 7 of 15 passes for 38 yards. He threw an awful interception, and lost a fumble that the Jets converted for a crucial touchdown.

    During this miserable stretch Bradford misfired on eight of nine passes on third down, and the Jets overcame the early 7-0 deficit by scoring 27 points without intervention.

    It was almost as if Bradford and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez traded places for the day.

    Bradford had displayed across-the-board improvement this season, and finally seemed to be re-establishing traction after a slip-sliding career turn in 2011. All of Bradfordís pertinent passing numbers were moving in the right direction. He was making more plays and throwing accurate fastballs to down-field receivers.

    Sanchez has been the object of scorn and ridicule in New York, with the fans mewling for backup Tim Tebow. Sanchez entered this game with the worst completion percentage (52.0) among NFL starting quarterbacks, and was losing more confidence with each errant throw. Defenses beat him up on Sunday; New York tabloids piled on in Mondayís editions.

    Sanchez rallied Sunday. He was a smooth operator, slicing the Rams with 15 completions in 20 attempts, efficiently accumulating 178 yards overall and pump-faking Rams rookie cornerback Trumaine Johnson into the Lacledeís Landing for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Sanchez finished with his second-best passer rating (118.3) of the season.

    Iíve defended Bradford and will continue to do so when warranted. Until this stinker against the Jets, I was encouraged by the upturn in Bradfordís play. I also realize that this isnít singles tennis or golf; Bradford doesnít compete by himself.

    For example: Sanchez benefited from his coaches making an all-out commitment to the ground game Sunday. The Jets stubbornly pounded away, rushing the ball on 21 of 24 first-down plays. And through three quarters, when this was still a contest, the Jets called 26 runs and 22 passes.

    The Rams ran the ball effectively on the Jets, but offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer called more passes (22) than runs (16) over the first three quarters.

    This made no sense. First of all, why put the game in Bradfordís right palm when he couldnít throw strikes? And unless I imagined it, last week I saw the Rams maul the ***** for 159 yards rushing on 37 carries. So why not blast the Jets ó who are ranked 30th in run defense ó with the same aggression?

    This is worth mentioning, but this doesnít justify Bradfordís regression. The Rams need him to become the kind of quarterback that can carry the team instead of being a quarterback that the team must carry. The Rams need Bradford to elevate his teamís performance instead of being overly dependent on his teamís performance. Bradford doesnít have to be perfect. But does everything around him need to be perfect around for the Rams to win games?

    As No. 1 overall picks go, Bradford isnít a bust. Itís too soon to make such a preposterous declaration. Bradford isnít JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch or David Carr. But he isnít on the way to becoming John Elway, Troy Aikman or Peyton Manning, either.

    Thirty-six starts into his NFL career, and we still donít know what the Rams have in Sam Bradford.


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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    Here we go....let the Bradford bashing commence!

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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    Bernie's a joke.

    Sam had a bad game. Nobody is denying this.

    That does not mean he took a "step back," and its absurd to act surprised that the Rams would continue to support Sam.

    This is getting tiresome.
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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    I looked up 'knee-jerk' in the dictionary and it just had a picture of Bernie's smug face smiling back at me. Weird.

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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    Publicly, the Rams are sticking to their story: Sam is their man. Team coaches and executives offer nothing but praise, encouragement and positive reinforcement.

    It's lines like this that are just so lame... like Sam has played so bad this year the Rams need to be looking for a replacement? Or admit they where wrong? This is just lame.

    Last week Bernie wrote how SB is as good as anyone in the fourth quarter... This week the FO is covering up how they really feel about SB.

    I think it would be easier to write about how the coaching staff got out coached, but I guess that does not sell as well.
    Last edited by Rambos; -11-19-2012 at 04:22 PM.

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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    I think the knee jerk reactions are going both ways. For instance, when he played well last week, many people proclaimed he was entering a new level. Fact is. One game. Either last week or yesterday does not make a pattern.

    Bradford is neither here nor there for me. I'm not thrilled with him, but I'm not ready to label him a bust either.

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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    The ENTIRE team, including Bradford as part of the team, took a big step back. I'll admit that I'm a big Bradford supporter, but the fact is, he has shown the ability to bounce back from adversity and be effective, as opposed to sinking further into a shell and losing his confidence. Bradford is a fighter, and IMO will continue to improve.

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    Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    Agreed Mike. He essentially did this in most of his games this year which is a great sign. Overall, the team in each phase needs to mature and be more consistent. I think we've seen improvement this year, they've looked like a different team (from 2011) and other than the Jets and Pats game, are there any other games where we weren't in it the whole game and had a chance to win?


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    I feel like this is to be excepted with a young team. They just came off a huge emotional roller coaster. Mature teams keep on trucking, young teams either go sky high or come crashing down for a game.

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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    Here are some more QBs who took a "big step back" this week:

    Andrew Luck: 27-50, 334 yards, 2 TDs, 3 Ints (including 2 pick-6s), 63.3 passer rating
    Matthew Stafford: 17-39, 266 yards, 1 TD, 2 Ints., 54.0 passer rating
    Matt Ryan: 28-46, 301 yards, 1 TD, 5 Ints., 40.5 passer rating

    I guess the Colts', Lions' and Falcons' coaching staffs should be throwing those guys under the bus too, right Bernie?
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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    As usual, Bernie brings up valid points. It seems people on this board get very defensive when it comes to Sam Bradford.

    The way I see it, no one is above criticism.

    Least of all, the QB and highest paid player in Rams history.

    As long as Sam is being paid like an elite QB, he will be judged like one.

    For me, it's as simple as that.

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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    Every QB has a bad game, and yes, Sam had his yesterday. I understand that. If he has more bad than good in the remaining games, I'll start to worry.

    I was more disappointed in the game plan and play calling yesterday. It made no sense. Jackson is running through and around guys and we go to passing on short 3 & 1 situations? Really? In obvious passing situations, Jackson is out and Richardson is in? Jackson isn't the greatest blocking RB, but he's head and shoulders better than Richardson. No screens? They move the ball brilliantly down the field on the first possession and then what happened? What happened to the TE?
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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMFANRAIDERHATER View Post
    Every QB has a bad game, and yes, Sam had his yesterday. I understand that. If he has more bad than good in the remaining games, I'll start to worry.
    I agree, and it made me think... how many good, bad and average games has Sam had this year?

    If you define good as 90+ passer rating, bad as below 80, and average as 80-89.9, Sam has had:

    4 good games
    2 average games
    4 bad games

    That sounds about right.

    If he can finish the year with more "good" than "bad," I will consider that progress.

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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    I agree, and it made me think... how many good, bad and average games has Sam had this year?

    If you define good as 90+ passer rating, bad as below 80, and average as 80-89.9, Sam has had:

    4 good games
    2 average games
    4 bad games

    That sounds about right.

    If he can finish the year with more "good" than "bad," I will consider that progress.
    Then by your own admission, to this point he's been an average QB?

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    Re: Bernie: Bradford Takes A Big Step Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortuninerhater View Post
    Then by your own admission, to this point he's been an average QB?
    Yes... with below average talent around him.

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