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Thread: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

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    Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford
    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist STLtoday.com Wednesday, December 14, 2011 9:39 am


    The Bytes are back after a travel day ... it's not as if much has changed in the last 24 hours ... we begin with a follow-up to my early-deadline column written before the start of the Rams-Seahawks game in Seattle. In the piece I reaffirmed my belief in Sam Bradford as the Rams move forward.

    Reading Time 5 Minutes:

    * Sam Bradford didn't look good on Monday night, but that's no surprise given his bad ankle, the lack of practice time going into the game, a confused offensive approach, and the ongoing problems at receiver and the O-line. Bradford was intercepted once but probably should have had three or four passes picked off by the Seattle. And he did miss open receivers, and that's his fault.

    * It's easy to overreact to Bradford's second-year struggles, and there's a noisy faction forming on Internet boards that would have us believe that Bradford is a bust. That's pretty crazy. Even if one has legitimate concerns over some aspects of Bradford's play, it's way too soon to dismiss him as a potential franchise QB. But we live in a short-attention span culture, so it isn't surprising to see an anti-Bradford wolfpack form. When a team loses, the head coach and the QB are the easy targets.

    * Part of the problem for Bradford is this: in recent seasons we've seen young QBs break into the league, immediately play well, and never really endure much suffering as they transition into the NFL. That list would include Matt Ryan in Atlanta, Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, Joe Flacco in Baltimore, and Eli Manning with the NYG. And while he has serious accuracy issues, Mark Sanchez has been a winning QB for the NY Jets.

    * I haven't included Cam Newton or any the 2011 NFL rookie quarterbacks; it's too soon to tell. After all, did we hear any of the haters ripping Bradford after his Rookie of the Year season? No, we didn't. Which tells us something about the volatile nature of learning the QB trade in the NFL. It's a job that can throw you all over the place. Even though there have been a few exceptions, it isn't easy to master this position in the NFL without going through hell first. It takes time. And even when we think a quarterback has "arrived," he can relapse. Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay) is the latest example.

    * For some historical perspective, consider: After his first two NFL seasons, this No. 1 overall draft choice had completed 55 percent of his passes for 20 TDs and 36 interceptions and a passer rating of 62.0 His team was 7-19 in his starts. The quarterback ... Troy Aikman in Dallas. Hall of Famer. A lot of people believe that Bradford is closest to Aikman in terms of personality, build, and style of play. So Aikman is a pertinent example.

    * This quarterback and No. 1 overall draft choice was benched multiple times in his first few seasons. After his first five NFL seasons he'd completed 48 percent of his passes with 48 TDs and 81 INTs for an abysmal passer rating of 53.2. But late in that fifth season things started to click for the struggling quarterback. His team added two playmaking receivers in '74, and it helped the QB get grooved. The quarterback ... Terry Bradshaw in Pittsburgh. The rookie receivers in 1974 were Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. All three are Hall of Famers and owners of four Super Bowl rings. Kinda helps to have two playmaking wideouts, a Hall of Fame RB (Franco Harris) and a robust defense on your side, eh?

    * After a promising rookie season in which his rebuilding team improved to 6-8, this former No. 1 overall choice threw 8 TDs and 25 INTs in his second NFL season. The gruesome year caused fans and media and even the team to change their view of him. He would last two more seasons with his original team before moving on. Later in his career he started two Super Bowls for the Raiders and won them both. The quarterback ... Jim Plunkett, who thrived after recovering from the trauma in New England.

    * This quarterback, heralded as a franchise savior, went 3-16 in his first two seasons with 14 TDs and 37 INTs. His original NFL team gave up on him after two years and traded him off. The quarterback ... Steve Young. More than anything Young was a victim of circumstances in Tampa Bay -- surrounded by poor coaching and mediocre talent. But Bill Walsh knew. That's why the ***** traded for Young. He's a Super Bowl champ and a Hall of Famer.

    There are other examples we could use. There are also plenty of examples of highly-touted QBs that took a beating after being drafted early and never recovered from the experience. You could put Joey Harrington and David Carr on that list.

    Even though Bradford has missed three games, he's still been sacked more than all but one NFL quarterback this season. And only four QBs have had more passes dropped than Bradford.

    If you think about it, Bradford has been caught in a perfect storm of negative factors, and all are working against him:

    -- Poor pass protection.

    -- Arguably the league's worst group of receivers.

    -- Incompetent coaching.

    -- Injury.

    What else could go wrong?

    I suppose some of you believe he should be shining, anyway. But that's nutso.

    If you calculate NFL passer rating in a more accurate way -- by removing dropped passes and intentional throwaways from the equation -- Bradford's rating is better this season than in 2010.

    According to Pro Football Focus, Bradford's adjusted passer rating of 80.4 this season is superior to that of Joe Flacco, Sanchez, Freeman, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Hasselbeck.

    Bradford hasn't proven to be Troy Aikman. But he hasn't proven to be David Carr, either. I'd just like to see the guy get a fair chance before everyone turns on him. No one is saying Bradford has to have a perfect offensive line in front of him, or that he must be supplied with Hall of Fame receivers. But let's not be silly here. He's not exactly operating in favorable circumstances. In addition to having so much mediocrity around him, Bradford is playing in a new offensive system that really doesn't seem to be a good match for his skill set.

    I would suggest that everyone take a deep breath and settle down.

    Even though Bradford's numbers are down this season, it's not as if the roof has caved in. He keeps the really damaging mistakes to a minimum. Even with everything going wrong, he's thrown six interceptions, with six TDS. Quarterbacks who have lost their heads usually become INT dispensers. But that's not the case with Bradford. If this is the worst he'll be in his career, we'll take it -- provided that he'll improve in 2012.

    The Rams owe it to their fans, and to Bradford, to put him in position where he has a viable chance to succeed. Last season the Rams ran the kind of offense that put Bradford in position to make plays, and to grow. And -- with the help of a soft schedule and a disruptive defense -- the Rams won seven games and were one win from making the playoffs. That guy, Bradford, is still there. It's up to the Rams to make this right.

    Thanks for reading ...
    Last edited by eldfan; -12-15-2011 at 12:23 AM.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Bernie's takes are eerily similar to mine. I agree with most of what he presented, especially this, which is a key indicator:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie
    Quarterbacks who have lost their heads usually become INT dispensers. But that's not the case with Bradford.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Dont see why so many people are ready to throw in the towel on Bradford, hes surrounded by less talent then any other team. His coaches, well im not even go into that bag of crazy.

    Give Bradford some time and some weapons, a qb coach, and some protection among other things, and youll see how good he really is.


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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    I also found this very interesting:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie
    If you calculate NFL passer rating in a more accurate way -- by removing dropped passes and intentional throwaways from the equation -- Bradford's rating is better this season than in 2010.

    According to Pro Football Focus, Bradford's adjusted passer rating of 80.4 this season is superior to that of Joe Flacco, Sanchez, Freeman, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Hasselbeck.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Zzzzzzzzzz Time to walk the dog.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Aikman had an arm and won 3 Super Bowls. NO WAY can you compare Bradford to him.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    "Even though Bradford's numbers are down this season, it's not as if the roof has caved in."

    2-11 isn't the roof caving in when you were projected to win your division? Don't choke on the Kool-Aid Bernie.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Bernie's takes are eerily similar to mine. I agree with most of what he presented, especially this, which is a key indicator:
    Ive kept my eye on his interceptions all season. It's a good sign in my opinion, in a season full of disappointment for Sam.
    Last edited by GROUND DOG 39; -12-15-2011 at 05:07 PM.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by mh-i View Post
    Aikman had an arm and won 3 Super Bowls. NO WAY can you compare Bradford to him.
    Why not? You don't look at Aikman whole body of work you can compare what he did in his first two years to what Bradford's done. Your not saying Sam can't make all the throws are you really?


    "Even though Bradford's numbers are down this season, it's not as if the roof has caved in."

    2-11 isn't the roof caving in when you were projected to win your division? Don't choke one the Kool-Aid Bernie.
    I think he's only talking about Bradford's play not the record of the whole team but you could say they are on in the same.


    "Troy's first year he finished 1989 with an 0-11 record as a starter, completing 155 of 293 passes for 1,749 yards, 9 TDs, 18 INTs.

    Following his rookie season, Dallas selected Florida Gators RB Emmitt Smith in the 1st round of the 1990 NFL Draft. With Emmitt Smith and WR Michael Irvin, Aikman nearly led the Cowboys to the playoffs in the 1990 season".

    Troy started to play better when the talent around him was added and he had time to learn on the job.
    Last edited by Rambos; -12-16-2011 at 09:18 AM.
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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    I actually was at The Big A in 1990 and watched the young Cowboys beat the Rams. I remember asking my brother, "who's that running back?" At any rate I was a UCLA fan and had seen Aikman play a bunch by then. He looked really good that day when it counted. To answer your question, yes, I believe Aikman had a better arm than Bradford. More accurate for sure.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by mh-i View Post
    I actually was at The Big A in 1990 and watched the young Cowboys beat the Rams. I remember asking my brother, "who's that running back?" At any rate I was a UCLA fan and had seen Aikman play a bunch by then. He looked really good that day when it counted. To answer your question, yes, I believe Aikman had a better arm than Bradford. More accurate for sure.
    Ok so you think Troy has the better arm which is fine, but why can't you compare the two QB's numbers and progress in the early years... No one is saying Bradford is Troy at the end of his career at this point.
    Last edited by Rambos; -12-16-2011 at 04:30 PM.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Unfair to compare Bradford to anybody with the crappy team that we have.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Football outsiders has sam bradford playing well below replacement level this year. Their DYAR stats take game situations and opponent into account so tho not perfect, best thing around these days.

    Next year could be do or die for his future I reckon. He could become a alex smith type - journeyman guy who manages to stick around until there is enough of a team around him that he can be effective as a game manager.

    I'm not saying Bradford isn't everything people thought he was coming out of college. More that bad coaching can easily turn a hot prospect into a journeyman, and a journeyman into an insurance salesman.
    Last edited by sadhappy; -12-18-2011 at 05:45 AM.

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    The Defense rest, on the case of defending Sam.
    It could be debated, that Bradfford, quite possibly could be
    The worst 'bust' in NFL draft history. Even Bulger is rolling over, and he's not even
    dead yet. The Rams might want to look into this QB from Baylor in next years draft.
    Sam's done, Jab a fork in him!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Re: Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by sadhappy View Post
    Football outsiders has sam bradford playing well below replacement level this year. Their DYAR stats take game situations and opponent into account so tho not perfect, best thing around these days.

    Next year could be do or die for his future I reckon. He could become a alex smith type - journeyman guy who manages to stick around until there is enough of a team around him that he can be effective as a game manager.

    I'm not saying Bradford isn't everything people thought he was coming out of college. More that bad coaching can easily turn a hot prospect into a journeyman, and a journeyman into an insurance salesman.
    Ive been very harsh on Bradford recently myself, but I think your underestimating the man, with talk of him being a potential journeyman QB.? Im not sure people realize just how difficult it's been this year for Bradford. Running a brand new scheme(complex) on one leg, with zero talent around him, and little time to implement it. I would imagine is difficult for any young QB. Coming into the NFL after playing pitch and catch at Oklahoma, has also not helped him adapt to the high pressure schemes of the NFL.? My confidence in Bradford has gone down some this year, but I still believe he will be good enough next season to push for the West. He is super talented beneath all that rust, and a bad wheel. You'll see.
    Last edited by GROUND DOG 39; -12-18-2011 at 11:31 AM.

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