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Thread: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

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    Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    2 hours ago By Bernie Miklasz

    Good morning, and I hope you all had a pleasant weekend. Big week ahead. The Cardinals play at Pittsburgh and Washington, the Rams get their final preseason game out of the way, and itís the start of the college football season.

    Here's my take on Sam Bradford and the Rams Ö

    Bradford didnít look good Saturday night in Dallas. And no, I donít care that it was a preseason game. Thatís irrelevant. You want to see certain things from a quarterback, and it doesnít matter if heís playing in a preseason game, regular season game, postseason game or pickup game.

    The partial check list:

    ē Is he firm in the pocket? Bradford was awfully jumpy in Dallas. This is disturbing. Itís a continuation of what we saw from Bradford in 2011, when he clearly felt the effects of the frequent pummeling he took from opponents.

    ē Does he make quick decisions and get the ball out before the protection gives way? Bradford was tentative in Dallas; he often squeezed the rock instead of throwing it.

    ē Is he instinctive and sharp in being aware of his surroundings? Can he sense the rush? Bradford at times seemed oblivious against the Cowboys. You donít see him stepping up in the pocket to find extra time to make a throw. You donít see him making that side move to avoid trouble.

    ē When the protection holds up, and the quarterback has time to make a throw, is he accurate? Bradford had one terrible miss down the left sideline. He had plenty of time to make the connection, but overthrew an all-alone wide receiver.

    Iím no Bradford basher.

    If anything, Iím a Bradford apologist.

    This organization has done little to help him, and that realization must be a significant part of the evaluation process.

    The Rams have hardly put elite talent, or above-average talent, around Sam. And that's true even now, with a new GM and coach in place.

    Itís bizarre to me, how Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher could take over this roster, see the teamís shaky assortment of offensive tackles, and do little to upgrade the position over the offseason.

    Their big move was to sign Barry Richardson, who played horribly at OT in Kansas City the past few seasons. Richardson was exposed again Saturday night in Dallas.

    Snead and Fisher also brought in a journeyman guard, Quinn Ojinnaka. The Rams cut Ojinnaka last summer, which should tell us all we need to know. He couldnít make the 2011 Rams, and now heís the solution at left guard? Really? Well, Ojinnaka whiffed on a block Saturday and Bradford got clobbered.

    Itís bizarre to me, how the Rams still donít have an established playmaking receiver in place. Saturday night in Dallas, a couple of the series in the red zone looked like video clips pulled from 2011. Bradford dropped back to pass, and waited and waited and waited. But no receiver could gain separation, and get open. They were laughably easy to cover.

    Yes, I know they have potential playmakers in rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens. They could develop into terrific wide receivers, but Iíll have to see it first. Too many young WRs drafted early become busts in this league.

    All I know for sure is this: the 2011 Rams had one of the sorriest group of receivers to ever line up for an NFL team. (Thatís minus Danny Amendola, who was injured in the regular-season opener and lost for the season.) But here we are, nearly a year later, and no one has beaten out Brandon Gibson for a starting job. That may still happen; weíll see.

    But rookies Quick and Givens didn't get any time with the No. 1s Saturday. The coaches took a different approach with the rookie RBs, giving Isaiah Pead and Daryl Washington plenty of action, and with the 1st unit. So why wouldn't the coaches give the same opportunity to the rookie wide receivers?

    If you have a thin group of receivers and use the No. 33 overall pick on a wide receiver, shouldnít he be able to prevail over nondescript wideouts and quickly earn considerable playing time, or a starting job? Itís not as if Quick is being asked to edge out Torry Holt or Isaac Bruce, circa 2001, for playing time.

    If the Snead-Fisher wide receivers can't displace the Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo wide receivers, it's cause for disappointment. To put it mildly.

    I know Quick lacks experience. I know heís making the big leap to the NFL from Appalachian State. He needs time to develop, and all of that.

    Frankly, I donít want to hear it.

    The Rams hyped Quick when they drafted him. They raised expectations. If Quick was coming here as a project, then the Rams should have told us that up front instead of acting as if theyíd just discovered the new Andre Reed ó the fourth-round pick from Kutztown State who became a Hall of Fame caliber receiver for the Buffalo Bills.

    (By the way: I thought Quick showed real toughness in returning to Saturday's game after taking a massive hit, and pulling in a 39-yard catch. That's a positive sign. So here's an idea: PLAY HIM.)

    So when I view Bradfordís play, I always try to keep in mind that heís being asked to succeed with mediocrity at OT, and at wide receiver.

    Thatís a separate issue for now.

    Back to Sam Bradford.

    When you see Bradford display the obvious signs of Battered Quarterback Syndrome, itís a concern. Because when a QB is rattled in the pocket, and unable to handle the oncoming pressure, you could line up Jerry Rice and Raymond Berry at WR and it wouldn't make a difference. If Bradford is going to get antsy as soon as he takes a hit, it's going to be a long year. Sure, the Rams need to do a better job of protecting him, and they're clearly going to have to rely on the running game. But this is a tough game, and QBs have to deal with a lot of adversity and pain. The best quarterbacks don't rise above it every time, but they usually maintain their composure and confidence. This is a big year for Sam. I'm not looking for negatives, but some of this stuff can't be ignored.

    Thanks for reading ...

    ó Bernie


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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    Honest, not inspiring and very thought provoking. We hopefully have some better answers by Sept. 9th.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    Three things in life are certain:

    1. Death.
    2. Taxes.
    3. Bernie jumping on the bandwaggon every time Rams fans start overreacting to something.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    On the subject of the O-Line, it's not like you can pull an Orlando Pace out of your posterior, at the drop of a hat. We will need to address and fix that problem ASAP. Sam did seem a bit "jumpy". However, trust in the line has to be earned. I would really like to see Sam get the coaching he needs to progress. As for Quick, pre-season is a time to assess what you have, not showcase your talent. If Jeff needed to see how other receivers and RBs could perform against 1st team talent, this is the time to see that. I refuse throw away my hopes for the season based on a pre-season game. I'm not expecting to see the Rams in the playoffs this year. I'm a realist. I just want to see improvement in effort, execution, and decision-making. That will certainly lead to more wins. 6-10, or 7-9 would be a good place to start, given the level of talent at this point. It's not like we were 1 or 2 players away from dominating the NFL.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    If the Snead-Fisher wide receivers can't displace the Billy Devaney and Steve Spagnuolo wide receivers, it's cause for disappointment. To put it mildly.
    This is fair... the Rams past on Rueben Randle who looks more NFL ready in NY. Quick has yet to catch a pass from Bradford in a game. Nor has Givens. I for one would have liked to see Quick on a fade route in Dallas when we went four plays in the redzone.

    Gibson does not practice but one day on Monday and yet he starts over Quick and Givens.

    (By the way: I thought Quick showed real toughness in returning to Saturday's game after taking a massive hit, and pulling in a 39-yard catch. That's a positive sign. So here's an idea: PLAY HIM.)
    Play him with Bradford, this is practice right? We have two rookie RB's that can't pick up a blitz but yet they are out there with Bradford.

    You want to see Battered Quarterback Syndrome watch a Cardinal game and look at Kevin Kolb, who by the way has all world receiver in Fitzgerald and still can take his eyes off the pass rush.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Three things in life are certain:

    1. Death.
    2. Taxes.
    3. Bernie jumping on the bandwaggon every time Rams fans start overreacting to something.
    He precedes the article describing himself a Bradford apologist, which to me is just one of the most lame message board meme's on sports forums in an attempt to strengthen his argument to the reader with an obviously false position of devil's advocate.

    In the end he only parrots the most popular overreactions found on a fan message board. I think he probably does actually watch the games, I just have to wonder if he actually understands what he's seeing.

    When Sam's only throwing on 3rd down because the first two downs are dedicated to evaluating Pead who performed horribly yet again, I have to wonder who's honestly surprised that the team struggled offensively. News flash ... run and shoot works better when the run is successful and it's not predictable.

    Sure this game was executed poorly on both sides of the ball, tackling was awful and Pead looks more like a ST specialist for now, but Saturday just wasn't about evaluating Sam Bradford.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    When people were making predictions on the Rams after the draft, it all came down to Saffold and Smith returning to their form of 2010. Saffold isn't playing poorly but Smith may not make the roster. Richardson is going to struggle. Bradford looked like 2010 in the first 2 games, he didn't in week 3. No need to jump off any bridges but unless they find a RT off the scrap heap (it can be done), it's going to be a long difficult season.

    They brought in two young guys to battle it out at LG, both flopped. Again, the scrap heap? Saffold is going to receive some unfair criticism if they can't find a LG to put next to him. A lot of times the LT gets blamed from screwups that are really the LGs problem.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by Agrajag View Post
    He precedes the article describing himself a Bradford apologist, which to me is just one of the most lame message board meme's on sports forums in an attempt to strengthen his argument to the reader with an obviously false position of devil's advocate.

    In the end he only parrots the most popular overreactions found on a fan message board. I think he probably does actually watch the games, I just have to wonder if he actually understands what he's seeing.

    When Sam's only throwing on 3rd down because the first two downs are dedicated to evaluating Pead who performed horribly yet again, I have to wonder who's honestly surprised that the team struggled offensively. News flash ... run and shoot works better when the run is successful and it's not predictable.

    Sure this game was executed poorly on both sides of the ball, tackling was awful and Pead looks more like a ST specialist for now, but Saturday just wasn't about evaluating Sam Bradford.
    I agree with you.. I wish Fisher would have done this in Dallas. Let the ones on offense including SJ go one series. Let them know they have one series and one series only, 1 play 10 plays does not matter.

    Then pull SJ and Sam, Let Austin Davis and the two rookies RB's have at it. He could get a good look at Austin against better talent. He could see the backs and see if they can pick up the blitz without Sam or Clemens getting hurt.

    It was painfully obvious the backs where not ready for Dallas and the blitz they brought. Ryan is not going to hold back and he didn't. It look to me like Sam could not wait to get to the sideline with his cap on.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    I fail to see how Bernie is wrong here. His concerns are honest questions based on personal observations and Bradford's play- not commentary based on the "overreaction" of fans. Bradford needs to greatly improve in all of the aforementioned areas if he is to lead us to respectability and beyond. Bernie's questioning of Ojinnaka and Richardson is legitimate. His assertion that the Rams don't yet have a playmaker at the WR position is hardly a newsflash, but accurate nonetheless. That no one has beaten out Brandon Gibson- a guy many of us (myself included) thought was a good bet to be released- is a potential concern. And his statement about this "being a big year for Sam" is on the money.

    Sorry- Bernie's concerns aren't unreasonable.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    If Bernie is to be believed, Bradford looked scared and jumpy on nearly every drop back, which could not be further from the truth. Maybe we watched different games, but I just did not see a completely out of sorts Bradford. He made several great throws, had at least 4 drops that I counted, and another pass to Pettis in the endzone that was high but catchable. He did have a few axious moments and made bad throws, but he by no means went into a shell. Again, I must have been watching another game.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    I fail to see how Bernie is wrong here. His concerns are honest questions based on personal observations and Bradford's play- not commentary based on the "overreaction" of fans. Bradford needs to greatly improve in all of the aforementioned areas if he is to lead us to respectability and beyond. Bernie's questioning of Ojinnaka and Richardson is legitimate. His assertion that the Rams don't yet have a playmaker at the WR position is hardly a newsflash, but accurate nonetheless. That no one has beaten out Brandon Gibson- a guy many of us (myself included) thought was a good bet to be released- is a potential concern. And his statement about this "being a big year for Sam" is on the money.

    Sorry- Bernie's concerns aren't unreasonable.
    You dont find this to be a knee jerk reaction to one bad game? Bradford was lights out against Kansas City a team a lot of people are high on by the way. Jackson didnt even touch the ball and when he isnt in the back field there was zero respect for a running game. On top of that Harvey D. Didnt play. It is pre-season and while I think you can take some things out of pre season you also cant over react to one bad game. I agree questioning the lineman is legitimate but why question Bradford? Bradford was good the first two weeks and he had a bad 3rd week. I'm sure there will be games in the regular season where he will be off as well. Not to mention our cast of wr's still is not putting fear in to anyone.
    Just Fix It

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by rammiser View Post
    You dont find this to be a knee jerk reaction to one bad game? Bradford was lights out against Kansas City a team a lot of people are high on by the way. Jackson didnt even touch the ball and when he isnt in the back field there was zero respect for a running game. On top of that Harvey D. Didnt play. It is pre-season and while I think you can take some things out of pre season you also cant over react to one bad game. I agree questioning the lineman is legitimate but why question Bradford? Bradford was good the first two weeks and he had a bad 3rd week. I'm sure there will be games in the regular season where he will be off as well. Not to mention our cast of wr's still is not putting fear in to anyone.
    I honestly don't find this a knee jerk reaction. I truly like Sam Bradford. And I think anyone that labels him as a "bust" or a guy who stinks is out of their mind. But I DO feel that there is call for criticism regarding his pocket presence and resulting bad decisions/throws. I don't know about you, but I don't just expect Sam Bradford to be a game manager, I expect Sam Bradford to be regarded as a GAME CHANGER and a top ten QB in this league based on his pedigree and where he was drafted. Certainly this will not happen overnight. But I expect the 140 yard, zero TD skittish in the pocket performances to be the rare exception this regular season.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    I honestly don't find this a knee jerk reaction. I truly like Sam Bradford. And I think anyone that labels him as a "bust" or a guy who stinks is out of their mind. But I DO feel that there is call for criticism regarding his pocket presence and resulting bad decisions/throws. I don't know about you, but I don't just expect Sam Bradford to be a game manager, I expect Sam Bradford to be regarded as a GAME CHANGER and a top ten QB in this league based on his pedigree and where he was drafted. Certainly this will not happen overnight. But I expect the 140 yard, zero TD skittish in the pocket performances to be the rare exception this regular season.
    I agree that we need a big year out of him but he toe up KC and had a bad game vs Dallas. I'm not going to over react to either. I also realize we need our offensive line to give him sometime. If he is running for his life every play it will not be pretty.
    Just Fix It

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    Touching on multiple responses here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Agrajag View Post
    When Sam's only throwing on 3rd down because the first two downs are dedicated to evaluating Pead who performed horribly yet again, I have to wonder who's honestly surprised that the team struggled offensively.
    Would you be interested to find out that, according to NFL.com's play by play, the majority of Bradford's pass attempts against Dallas came on first or second down?


    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    If Bernie is to be believed, Bradford looked scared and jumpy on nearly every drop back, which could not be further from the truth. Maybe we watched different games, but I just did not see a completely out of sorts Bradford. He made several great throws, had at least 4 drops that I counted, and another pass to Pettis in the endzone that was high but catchable. He did have a few axious moments and made bad throws, but he by no means went into a shell. Again, I must have been watching another game.
    Well, I did see a Bradford that looked tentative, locked onto receivers, and did not display good pocket mobility or awareness in regards to sensing or avoiding pressure, though I agree with you that it wasn't on every down. Early in the game, he had some pretty nice throws. The strike to Gibson to start with was a good one, and his throw to Kendricks couldn't have been better. But to me, it seemed like once he got hit a few times, the bad habits started showing themselves.


    Quote Originally Posted by rammiser View Post
    I agree questioning the lineman is legitimate but why question Bradford?
    Let me answer your question with another question - if it's acceptable to question one player, why is it not acceptable to be able to question all players? I mean, shouldn't everyone be held accountable for their play on the field, not just some?

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Concern over Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Touching on multiple responses here...



    Would you be interested to find out that, according to NFL.com's play by play, the majority of Bradford's pass attempts against Dallas came on first or second down?




    Well, I did see a Bradford that looked tentative, locked onto receivers, and did not display good pocket mobility or awareness in regards to sensing or avoiding pressure, though I agree with you that it wasn't on every down. Early in the game, he had some pretty nice throws. The strike to Gibson to start with was a good one, and his throw to Kendricks couldn't have been better. But to me, it seemed like once he got hit a few times, the bad habits started showing themselves.




    Let me answer your question with another question - if it's acceptable to question one player, why is it not acceptable to be able to question all players? I mean, shouldn't everyone be held accountable for their play on the field, not just some?
    I hear you but a lot of Bradford problems are for lack of time. Not all but most. What was everyone saying after the Chiefs game why were we not praising him as much as we seem to be bashing him now. All of this is a complete knee jerk reaction to the Dallas game. Bradford has some work to do but if we can't fix the o-line problem he will end up just like Bulger. If he is getting happy feet already which in the Dallas game he did appear antsy at time then he is on a fast track to be Bulgered out of town.

    This would be a complete shame of course because I think this kid has the talent to be great. He has had to learn now his 3rd offensive system. Maybe these are all just excuses but seems to me that qb's that go through this tend to struggle. I shouldnt have said we cant question Bradford however without protection Bradford will not succeed.
    Just Fix It

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