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Thread: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

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    Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    By Bernie Miklasz

    The pending arrival of Robert Griffin III in St. Louis is causing a hullabaloo among Rams fans. Griffin will be at the Edward Jones Dome for one day only, attempting to dazzle the NFL by leading the Washington Redskins to their second consecutive victory.

    And that's the problem. The impatient and irrational folks who already have given up on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford are mewling over the team's decision to trade the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft to Washington. The Redskins coveted Griffin and were willing to give the Rams a bundle of draft choices for the rights to the No. 2 selection.

    Griffin belongs to Washington, and the Redskins and their fans are deliriously happy. In his first NFL game last Sunday, Griffin had perhaps the most spectacular debut by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.

    RG III completed 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns. He scooted for 42 yards rushing. He did not throw an interception. He had a passer rating of 139.9. He hung 40 points on the New Orleans defense. Griffin did everything but break the political gridlock in the nation's capital. Not surprisingly, Griffin was named the NFC's offensive player of the week.

    During his weekly guest spot on Sirius/XM radio, Hall of Fame coach John Madden took the hype to a Hall of Fame level in his rave review of Griffin's opening performance.

    "At some point I have to admit that I said this, and it just came out. I said, 'RG III's the best player in the NFL today.' That's what I really thought," Madden said.

    Griffin poses a considerable threat to the Rams' defense. And he can do significant damage to Bradford's profile in St. Louis.

    The short-attention span crowd that now swoons over Griffin is forgetting at least three important points:

    • No. 1, the Rams lost 65 of 80 games played from 2007-2011. The Rams' hideous roster was so devoid of talent at the end of 2011, the franchise should have applied for membership in the Canadian Football League.

    To expedite a difficult rebuilding process, new Rams head coach Jeff Fisher needs better players, and lots of 'em. It made sense to move the No. 2 selection to D.C. for the sixth and 39th picks in the 2012 draft, and first-round choices in 2013 and 2014.

    Rams GM Les Snead moved down in the first round in April to pick up an extra draft choice from Dallas. In the second round Snead made a deal with Chicago, sliding down five spots in exchange for the 150th pick overall. The series of maneuvers enabled the Rams to add four promising rookies to the 2012 roster: defensive tackle Michael Brockers, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, running back and kickoff returner Isaiah Pead and guard Rok Watkins. And they still have that extra first-round pick in 2013 and 2014.

    • No. 2, the Rams had no desire to trade Bradford. But even if they did, it wouldn't matter because of salary-cap repercussions. Teams interested in acquiring Bradford would struggle (to put it mildly) to find room to accommodate Bradford's huge salary under the cap. On the other side, a Bradford trade would cause a severe salary-cap hit for the Rams, leaving the Rams with virtually no money to spend on free agents to upgrade the roster. This isn't your office Fantasy Football League. The real-world business of the NFL is more complex.

    • No. 3, Bradford was the NFL's offensive rookie of the year in 2010, and I don't recall any Rams fans yapping to dump him after he led the Rams to a surprising 7-9 season and received universal praise for debut season.

    Yes, 2011 was a disaster for Bradford and the Rams, but Johnny Unitas in his prime couldn't have saved that 2-14 season.

    This is what confuses me: after watching how well Bradford played in the fairly calm environment of 2010, why would a rational person be in such a rush to cut ties with Bradford? He was snowed under by negatives in 2011, and I don't know what his most vociferous critics expected from him.

    Because of the labor dispute, there was no offseason program or a normal training camp. Bradford had to learn a radically different offense in a short time, and he didn't have the basic benefit of working with a QB coach. Because the Rams didn't hire one, and that's incomprehensible.

    Coordinator Josh McDaniels, who apparently confused the Rams with the Patriots, installed an overly ambitious passing attack that was a wrong match for the Rams' personnel. Bradford had a marginal group of receivers, then lost his best wideout, Danny Amendola, to a season-ending injury in the first game. The Rams couldn't protect Bradford, who was sacked 36 times and smacked repeatedly in 10 games. The incompetent coaching staff allowed Bradford to limp around on a bum ankle and be subjected to unnecessary punishment.

    Let's see: awful coaching ... pedestrian receivers ... dangerously poor pass protection ... no QB coach ... operating a passing game that required the quarterback to take five or seven steps to set up behind a a faulty line, waiting (praying?) for plodding receivers to get open. Just an outstanding situation for Bradford. He should have played like Joe Montana! No excuses!

    (Believe it or not there are people who actually can't understand why Bradford didn't put up numbers like, say, Dan Marino in 1984. These are the outer-limits personalities that put the tin-foil receptor on their heads, listening for signals from the UFO mother ship, so they will know what to say about Bradford when they call a sports-talk show or post a manifesto on the Internet.)

    Given conditions that made it nearly impossible for success (and good health), a painfully frustrating season was inevitable for Bradford. Things certainly appear to be more stable and grounded under Fisher and new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The Rams have implemented a common-sense offense, and Bradford should improve in 2012. It's fair to expect more from him.

    That said, Bradford is running his third offense in three seasons. The offensive line is already getting beaten up with injuries. The Rams are remain short on playmakers; Bradford doesn't have an elite receiver. Snead and Fisher chose wideout Brian Quick with the valuable 33rd overall selection in the 2012 draft, but Quick played only three snaps against the Lions.

    Sunday in Detroit, Bradford completed 68 percent of his throws and posted a passer rating of 105.1. Operating behind a line that lost two starters, he led the Rams to two go-ahead scores in the fourth quarter. With the game's outcome on the line, Bradford completed seven of nine passes for 104 yards and a touchdown for a fourth-quarter passer rating of 153.1. According to Pro Football Focus, Bradford was under pressure on 30 percent of his drop-backs to pass, but still had an accuracy rating of 66.7 percent.

    Bradford missed some throws early, and the Rams can't afford to have him misfire when there's a chance to strike for a big play. Bradford wasn't always alert in sensing the pass rush. He still locks onto his primary receiver too often. He needs to get into a quicker rhythm and deliver the football without hesitation. Bradford still has plenty of work to do, and he will be held accountable.

    I thought Bradford grew in the performance at Detroit. It's a good sign when a quarterback can overcome some early mistakes, a stuffed running game and a bogged-down offense to make his best plays in the fourth quarter when the game is up for grabs.

    Bradford did that in the Motor City, and he'll have to show more progress as the season winds on. The Rams need a win Sunday. They need it for themselves, and their fans. But Bradford needs it, too. When the Redskins and Griffin come to town, Sam could be the most second-most popular quarterback in the building.

    No, let's amend that. If Bradford struggles and the Rams lose, he'll be the third-most popular quarterback in the place, because the malcontents will be caterwauling for Rams rookie Austin Davis.

    One more time: Yes, Bradford needs to play better. But the anti-Bradford sentiment isn't sane, or fair. It's premature, and often embarrassing. All Bradford can do is rise above the mob that's gathered for the RG III parade.


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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    We've been down this road before. Bernie breaks no new ground here but is correct in his reasoning for why going after RG III was not feasible and was never really an option anyway. And while RG III may indeed turn out to be a franchise-type player, I'm not quite ready to anoint him as the next great QB on the basis of one very good performance against a bad defensive team in shambles from a bounty scandal.

    With all of that said, I've indicated previously that in my opinion this is a big year for Sam Bradford. The factors that have lined up against him and stunted his development are well documented and have been touched on time and again here at ClanRam and elsewhere. But there comes a time when you have to start consistently performing at a high level, adversity be damned. We cannot keep bellyaching about the stars not being lined up perfectly so that Sam Bradford can play well. And if guys like Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, RG III etc. all play well despite being on bad teams of their own, it is not only understandable that fans will draw a comparison, it is absolutely fair.

    I am a Bradford supporter, as are most of us here on the forum. But I expect quality numbers from him this season and steady improvement each week- the same criteria I'd expect from anyone heralded as an above average QB.
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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Bradford missed some throws early, and the Rams can't afford to have him misfire when there's a chance to strike for a big play. Bradford wasn't always alert in sensing the pass rush. He still locks onto his primary receiver too often. He needs to get into a quicker rhythm and deliver the football without hesitation. Bradford still has plenty of work to do, and he will be held accountable.

    I support Bardford and see no resaon to think he won't continue to grow but this paragraph sums up my feeling for Sam today as well. His play in the 2nd half was hopefully a harbinger of things to come.

    I also think Jeff F will design a good plan to slow down RGIII

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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie
    The pending arrival of Robert Griffin III in St. Louis is causing a hullabaloo among Rams fans.
    No, it's not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie
    The impatient and irrational folks who already have given up on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford are mewling over the team's decision to trade the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft to Washington.
    No, they're not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie
    (Believe it or not there are people who actually can't understand why Bradford didn't put up numbers like, say, Dan Marino in 1984. These are the outer-limits personalities that put the tin-foil receptor on their heads, listening for signals from the UFO mother ship, so they will know what to say about Bradford when they call a sports-talk show or post a manifesto on the Internet.)
    Well, okay. Here you actually do have a point.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    It's funny but I've been thinking about this RGIII vs Sam Bradford thing since Monday of this week. Bernie posts this article and it all makes sense to me. I too am a Bradford supporter. This is his 3rd season leading our team and I expect nothing less than leadership and poise from Sam.

    I also expect us to win this Sunday. Back to reality RGIII!

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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Look no further than San Francisco to see a good comparision on QB's. Alex Smith was thrown into bad situation after bad situation. New coordinators every year, wrong personnel trying to run an offense they weren't suited for, and then Harbaugh came along and righted that ship. In one year, he brought in the right scheme, the right (or better suited) personnel, and bingo, suddenly he's what most thought he would be when they drafted him. He doesn't thrown bombs all over the field, he gets rid of the ball quickly and has his "go-to" guy in Davis. Bradford has suffered nearly identical circumstances. One good year with a coordinator that understood how to handle a young QB. Then, a coordinator and HC that did just about everything wrong and nearly got him killed. They turned a young confident kid into a gun-shy QB in just one year. Any more of that, and Sam would have suffered so badly from battered QB syndrome he may never have recovered. It appears that Fisher has it right, and I fully expect Sam to be the guy for many years to come. Barring more significant injuries to linemen or recievers, watch Sam continue to grow and improve over the next season. Next year when he gets a better line and some more weapons, watch out.
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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Even if RG3 turns out to be a total upgrade over Bradford, and I'll readily admit that I've always loved to hate mobile quarterbacks.

    Bernie makes an excellent point here.

    This team had way too many holes and needed the additional picks more. Fisher/Snead did the right thing here, and if they can continue to bring the offensive line along we may very well be happier with a pocket quarterback.

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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Sunday in Detroit, Bradford completed 68 percent of his throws and posted a passer rating of 105.1. Operating behind a line that lost two starters, he led the Rams to two go-ahead scores in the fourth quarter. With the game's outcome on the line, Bradford completed seven of nine passes for 104 yards and a touchdown for a fourth-quarter passer rating of 153.1. According to Pro Football Focus, Bradford was under pressure on 30 percent of his drop-backs to pass, but still had an accuracy rating of 66.7 percent.
    Two myths broken:

    1) Bradford looks skittish or scared in the pocket. Enough already with that nonsense please.
    2) Bradford needs to get off to a fast start, hit him early and he will become disinterested.

    Last year numbers where really bad for Bradford, but some apologist like myself and others blamed all the dropped balls as PART of the problems. Tom Brady’s supermodel wife even knows the receivers need to do their part. ” Gisele snapped. “My husband cannot (F******) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.”

    What a difference it makes when Bradford throws a dart and Gibby holds on to it! The receivers still maybe average at best, and the O line is a mess, but if they catch the ball. Bradford will continue to put up efficient numbers.

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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Bernie does what the post-dispatch loves to do more than anything: Address the concerns of the raving lunatics over on the stltoday forums.

    They are not the majority of the fan-base. They are wild, irrational people who are just looking for a place to rant and rave about the mildest things. The members of the stltoday board would find fault with Bradford after a day he went 30/30 with 30 touchdowns.

    Bernie has good points, but at some point the post-dispatch needs to get back to real stories instead of stories to counter-act the irrational minority of fans.

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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    I like the what we did by taking the draft picks. In the next two years as we add talent to this team though the draft. This roster will become a playoff capable roster. If then Bradford is not playing at an elite level. Go get a new QB, at least the team will have a ton of talent. I'm on record saying by Bradford's fifth year he will be an elite QB and we will have a roster filled will talent that can make a run.

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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    Two myths broken:

    1) Bradford looks skittish or scared in the pocket. Enough already with that nonsense please.

    While your numbers do support your argument, it's hard to look at some of the plays and not see a QB who doesn't have total confidence in his supporting cast.

    He took a couple of good shots standing in the pocket, and made some good plays from that. He also made a couple of questionable, early exits from the pocket and created some not-so-good plays. I think it'll just take some time and confidence to get him back up to full speed.
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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    While your numbers do support your argument, it's hard to look at some of the plays and not see a QB who doesn't have total confidence in his supporting cast.

    He took a couple of good shots standing in the pocket, and made some good plays from that. He also made a couple of questionable, early exits from the pocket and created some not-so-good plays. I think it'll just take some time and confidence to get him back up to full speed.
    I agree with you and without sounding like I'm making excuses for Bradford. With this O line, I just want Bradford to be able to play all 16 games and be efficient, When a play is there he needs to make it. He's not going to throw the ball a ton this year. He averaged 39 pass attempts a game in his rookie year. Don't think he will do that in this run first scheme.

    While your numbers do support your argument, it's hard to look at some of the plays and not see a QB who doesn't have total confidence in his supporting cast.
    To me if he was skittish or scared he would not stand in there and take the shots while throwing the ball. It's been said that he needs to learn to protect himself at times, so I would guess when Suh was going to smash him, he did the right thing to get down. If he was skittish I would think he would throw the ball to early a lot and try and run more often. Too me he still holds the ball too long and should throw it away sooner IMO.

    He also made a couple of questionable, early exits from the pocket and created some not-so-good plays
    .

    Maybe it's something I'm not picking up on... it's seems like if he holds the ball and get sacked, that he gets ripped for not trying to move out of the pocket and extend the play with his feet. If he does it to soon he's skittish or scared. Really hard to evaluate it, I'm sure he does not feel as comfortable back there as Brady does with the time he has.

    That said, the O line it is what it is and he needs to play well, no matter who is blocking for him. I expect him to get the ball out quick but I don't expect him to go catch it.
    Last edited by Rambos; -09-13-2012 at 12:32 PM.

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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Interesting point on this I heard on the radio this morning. It wasn't about Bradford vs. RGIII in particular but how important QBs are towards the point spread. Washington is favored by 3 on the road in St. Louis. Read into to that whatever you want.

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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Heard Steven Young on Bradford on ESPN

    He compared his start to Bardford's saying all great QB need a "platform" good owner,GM and Head coach ect. He said all QB's in the league will struggle without a platform. Young played for The Buc's when the franchise was a mess, kinda like what we just came out of and did not take off until he had a platform.

    He said he does not know what Sam will be and liked that Fisher is here, he's great coach. Sam's got all the skill but like ALL QB he needs to pay the price and there is no free ride.

    The one negative is he does not see the grit from him when things are going bad... Too me he showed grit last year playing hurt but what do I know.

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    Re: Bernie: Giving up on Bradford for Griffin would have been wrong move ..

    Quote Originally Posted by macrammer View Post

    I also think Jeff F will design a good plan to slow down RGIII
    This will be key - a very good point. One thing is sure: Jeff & crew will have the advantage of breaking down film of RGIII and the Skins' offense in a real game that counted. This game portends to be very interesting. Hopefully we can pick off a few passes early and get him rattled. We'll find out Sunday ..

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