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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is online now Superbowl MVP
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    Bernie: QB's Make The Difference In NFL

    QBs make the difference in NFL

    BY BERNIE MIKLASZ
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 12:15

    The NFL is a quarterback's league, and don't ever forget that. Looking back I was stunned at the number of people in this town who thought it was crazy to pick Sam Bradford or silly to select any quarterback with the first overall choice in the 2010 NFL draft.

    How are we feeling about that now?

    Are we happy?

    Sure, if you have the 2000 Baltimore Ravens defense you can win a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer at quarterback. Tampa Bay also won a Super Bowl with a fast and furious defense. But that's uncommon. There's a reason so many recent Super Bowls have been won by quarterbacks named Brady, Manning, Roethlisberger, Brees and Warner.

    If you still need to be convinced of the critically important nature of the quarterback position, then examine the Sunday matchup between the Rams and the Arizona Cardinals. A dramatic reversal of fortune occurred when Bradford replaced Marc Bulger at quarterback for the Rams, and Derek Anderson took over for the retired Kurt Warner in Arizona.

    In games started by Warner in 2008-2009, including the postseason, the Cardinals went 23-14, averaged 25 points a game, made the playoffs twice and were one play from winning the Super Bowl.

    The 2010 Cardinals are 3-8 after losing six consecutive games. They're 29th in the NFL in points, 31st in completion percentage, 31st in passer rating, 30th in passing yards. Anderson and rookie Max Hall have combined to throw only eight touchdown passes, with 14 interceptions. That TD-INT ratio ranks 31st among the 32 teams.

    Yes, the Cardinals also traded a very good receiver, Anquan Boldin, to Baltimore. But I don't think that's the reason the Cardinals went from being one of the most effective passing teams to wallowing among the worst. Yes, the Cardinals also lost starters on defense. But even with Warner at QB in 2008-2009, the Cardinals gave up an average of 23.5 points a game. The difference? Warner's offense was usually able to outscore the opponent. But the 2010 Cardinals don't have a passing game to overcome deficits or loose defense.

    And they don't have a good leader at the position. Anderson threw a postgame tantrum Monday night, losing his cool when asked why he was spotted laughing on the sidelines during an ugly loss to San Francisco. It's incomprehensible to imagine Warner engaging in such conduct.

    "Obviously, you can't lose your head," Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson said Wednesday in a conference call with the St. Louis media. "This game is more mental than it is physical. You have to understand the mentality of the position, and being the quarterback, you're going to take a lot of heat when you lose and you're going to get a lot of praise when you win. So to be able to keep a level head and just be honest with yourself, and be honest with the media."

    Bradford, only 11 games into his NFL career, is mature beyond his 23 years. If anything, he's exceeded expectations. It's not hyperbole to state that Bradford is transforming the franchise. And over the last six games, he's raised his game to an elite level, throwing for 11 touchdowns and only one interception and posting a passer rating of 97.1 — ninth-best among quarterbacks during the stretch. The Rams are scoring an average of nearly 21 points over the last six games. That's nearly double their scoring average in 2009.

    And the Rams — after crashing to a 6-42 record from 2007 through 2009 — are 5-6 and in position to win the NFC West. Bradford tops the list of reasons behind the resurgence.

    "This guy is truly special," said former NFL head coach Jim Mora Jr., an analyst for the NFL Network. "Not only is he real mature, but he has a great grasp and a great command of the game. The Rams continually give him more things to do, and he never fills up. He's poised. He's accurate. He's an excellent decision-maker. It's probably a little early to say this, but he's got a little Joe Montana in him, a little Tom Brady. Down the stretch, when the ballgame's on the line, he's at his best. And all the players look to him as a leader. And for a rookie, that's quite special."

    Bradford's overall season statistics aren't gaudy. But they're surely impressive when compared to other rookie seasons by "name" NFL quarterbacks. And Bradford, operating with a developing group of receivers, only figures to get more done as the pieces around him improve. But even with circumstances that limit him, Bradford has enhanced the Rams' passing attack.

    Consider:

    • Bradford's passer rating is 82.0. He has 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. From 2007-2009, Bulger and other Rams quarterbacks combined for a passer rating of 66.0, with 42 touchdowns and 68 interceptions. Or put it this way: Under Bradford, the Rams rank 14th in TD-interception ratio. From 2007-2009, their quarterbacks were last (32nd) in TD-INT ratio.

    • Bradford has performed quite well on third downs. His third-down passer rating of 90.7 puts the Rams at 10th-best in the league in the category. He has seven TDs and one interception on third down. From 2007-2009, Rams quarterbacks were 26th in the NFL with a third-down passer rating of 63.2, and they threw for seven TDs and nine interceptions.

    • Bradford has made the Rams more dangerous in the red zone. He's completed 52 percent of his passes with 11 TDs and only two INTs. His red-zone passer rating is a respectable 85.1. And the numbers are even more handsome when you put them next to Rams' hideous red-zone quarterback play from 2007-2009: a 48 percent completion rate and a 67.7 passer rating that was last in the league over the three-season period. In 2009, Bulger completed only eight of 28 passes in the red zone, with three TDs and three INTs.

    As the Rams and the Cardinals can tell us, there's only one Kurt Warner. He lifted two losing franchises into the Super Bowl. And both teams, in their own way, have struggled to replace Warner. But now the Rams have Bradford. They're on the way up. After losing Warner, the Cardinals are on the way down. And that's no surprise. This is a quarterback's league.


  2. #2
    Flippin' Ram's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie: QB's Make The Difference In NFL

    I wonder why Bernie doesn't make posts here anymore seeing that most people finally have respect for him with the most recent articles he made.

  3. #3
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    Re: Bernie: QB's Make The Difference In NFL

    Jim Mora is right, Bradford is going to be something special. All offseason I was bragging about us getting this outstanding quarterback, and here...he has turned out to even stun me. He shows something that no other rookie showed...He has it all. It may seem quite biased coming from a Ram fan, but damn this guys good. I'd hate to be the other 3 teams in the NFC West.

  4. #4
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    Re: Bernie: QB's Make The Difference In NFL

    Quote Originally Posted by fliptalianstallion View Post
    I wonder why Bernie doesn't make posts here anymore seeing that most people finally have respect for him with the most recent articles he made.
    Winning cures everything.

  5. #5
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    Re: Bernie: QB's Make The Difference In NFL

    We will rally around Bernie and play good football?
    I believe!

  6. #6
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    Re: Bernie: QB's Make The Difference In NFL

    Quote Originally Posted by fliptalianstallion View Post
    I wonder why Bernie doesn't make posts here anymore seeing that most people finally have respect for him with the most recent articles he made.
    I have zero respect for Bernie. This particular article goes in the circular file with the rest of his drivel.
    A defeated look of consternation, dissappointment, or even pain. The name derives from the look one often gets when challenged by a large BM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Bernie: QB's Make The Difference In NFL

    Make sure to catch next week's article: "final scores make the difference in NFL."

  8. #8
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Bernie: QB's Make The Difference In NFL

    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    Make sure to catch next week's article: "final scores make the difference in NFL."
    Exactly! Nothing like stating the obvious Bernie boy!

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