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Thread: Bonus Bytes: Analyzing Sam Bradford

  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Bonus Bytes: Analyzing Sam Bradford

    • BY BERNIE MIKLASZ

    The personable Ron Jaworski, an NFL analyst for ESPN, recently gave his assessment of Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. We'll get to that in a few moments.

    First a hat tip to my friends at Turf Show Times for jumping on this topic last week. I would have missed Jaworski's comments otherwise. Thanks, guys.

    Anyhow ...

    "Jaws" does an excellent job in his role. He draws from his expertise as an NFL quarterback in a career that spanned 1974-89. Jaworski was the longtime starter in Philadelphia and an important part of the 1980 NFC Champion team coached by Dick Vermeil.

    Jaworski is a film junkie, all but living at the NFL Films offices so he can crunch video and stay on top of his player evaluations. I trust Jaws. I think he's fair and knowledgeable and has a keen eye for quarterback play.

    Jaworski is ranking all 32 NFL starters this offseason in a series that runs on ESPN's outstanding "NFL Live" program.

    Jaws listed Bradford at No. 22 among the 32. That doesn't surprise me at all. I would have guessed that Bradford would come somewhere between No. 18 to No. 23.

    Much more interesting is what Jaworski had to say about Bradford.

    Jaws praised Bradford's underrated movement and ability to scoot out of the pocket to make a throw. He praised Bradford's bootleg action.

    Jaworski said that in 2012, Bradford "took some sure and steady steps forward." (Agreed. I've written that many times.)

    Bradford "has a strong arm with ability to make every single throw," according to Jaws. "He can drive the ball down the field. And when he's comfortable and confident in the pocket, he throws with consistent accuracy."

    "The bottom line," Jaworski said. "Is that Bradford has the throwing skill set to be a top 10 passer in this league."

    I would agree with all of that.

    Now: what about the negatives?

    Here's Jaworski's criticism:

    "A lack of efficiency in the red zone ... too many interceptions and it's a red zone game. You can't be a high level QB if you can't execute there. Bradford, at times, still struggles with basic blitz concepts that a player with his experience level should understand."

    And, "Bradford must eliminate the mistakes that diminish the impact of his ability."

    OK... I don't disagree with Jaworski's overview on the red zone; it's a vital area for determining a quarterback's success or failure. A QB has to make plays there, or the offense will stall, and opportunities will be missed. Horrible red zone play can smother an offense, and by extension, drain the morale and confidence.

    However — and there is a Part II:

    Bradford improved, dramatically so, in the red zone as 2012 season went on.

    In the first eight games of the season Bradford was awful in the RZ, completing 43.3 percent of his throws with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions for a weak passer rating of 62.5. That's abysmal.

    During the bye week the Rams' offensive coaches reworked the red zone approach to come up with a better plan to achieve more positive results. It was an example of good coaching, and Bradford responded accordingly.

    In the final eight games of the season, Bradford completed 67 percent of his red zone passes.... and he had 9 touchdowns and only 1 interception... his red zone passer rating in the season's second half was 101.8.

    That's a big jump in performance.

    Bradford ranked 25th in red zone passer rating over the first eight games.

    Over the last eight games Bradford ranked 9th — and was better statistically in the red zone over that time than notables such as Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Colin Kaepernick, Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo.

    I'm not suggesting that Bradford was a better quarterback than the guys I just mentioned... just making a point that Sam stood among the league's most effective red zone passers after the Rams coaches retooled the offense during the break.

    Bradford also improved his overall TD/INT ratio over the final eight games, with 13 touchdowns and 6 intercepts. In the first eight games he had 8 TDs and 7 INTs.

    One obvious reason: better pass protection.

    First eight games: sacked on 8.5 percent of dropback attempts; that was the fifth-highest sack rate on an NFL quarterback.

    Final eight games: sacked on 3.8 of dropback attempts; that was the fifth-lowest sack rate.

    That's my main gripe with the Bradford haters; they seem to think that this is singles tennis, or golf or something ... that a quarterback is playing a one-on-one game.

    Obviously a quarterback is impacted by coaching and the play of teammates. For better and for worse.

    That's why Bradford improved after his protection improved. His total QBR rating went up 10 points over the final eight games.

    That's why Bradford's red-zone form improved after the coaches ripped up the red-zone play list and put in a fresher attack.

    And that's why Jaworski is intrigued by what Bradford may do in 2013.

    "I would expect a little bit different Rams offense," Jaws said. "With the talent they now have at the skill positions, don't be surprised to see more spread, with Bradford in the shotgun. A faster tempo, just like Bradford's days at Oklahoma."

    Thanks for reading ...

    — Bernie


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    Re: Bonus Bytes: Analyzing Sam Bradford

    Good read....Thanks Maui. I would hoe to see Sam in the top 10 category soon. Especially found the blitz comments Jaws made to resonate with what I have seen. Looking forward to seeing the progression.

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    Re: Bonus Bytes: Analyzing Sam Bradford

    Pretty fair evaluation all around, particularly about his mobility. He made a couple of nice, drive-saving scrambles last year that left me intrigued about his athleticism.

    I think getting Quick more involved in the red zone will only improve on Bradford's numbers. Keeping Pettis around will too.

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    Re: Bonus Bytes: Analyzing Sam Bradford

    Stats are nice, but here's the bottom line:

    Sam has never had the following three factors at one time: (1) consistent pass protection, (2) talented receivers, (3) an offensive system that was in place for more than a year.

    Sam should finally have these things this year, and I expect the results will be positive.

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    Re: Bonus Bytes: Analyzing Sam Bradford

    I keep hearing we're going to have the same system, yet an entirely different make-up of offensive players.....

    I hope that Sam doesn't have anything like the same offensive system in place this year. Maybe some basic components but, in theory: using our TE's like the Pat's, finding ways to get the ball to Tavon, having smaller, faster running backs, more spread formations, more shotgun and more quick huddle plays. Nothing like our 2 pronged system of Jackson and Amendola of the past.

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    Re: Bonus Bytes: Analyzing Sam Bradford

    Jaworski has declared that Kaepernick has elite skills and ranks him as one of the top QBs in the league.

    Funny, because when I researched Jaws' pre-draft QB rankings from the 2012 draft, he had Kaepernick ranked at #3, two spots below his top prospect, Blaine Gabbert.

    The point?

    The media is much better at reacting to what it just saw than it is at telling us what we're about to see.
    mde8352gorams likes this.

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    Re: Bonus Bytes: Analyzing Sam Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by renrawtruk View Post
    I keep hearing we're going to have the same system, yet an entirely different make-up of offensive players.....

    I hope that Sam doesn't have anything like the same offensive system in place this year. Maybe some basic components but, in theory: using our TE's like the Pat's, finding ways to get the ball to Tavon, having smaller, faster running backs, more spread formations, more shotgun and more quick huddle plays. Nothing like our 2 pronged system of Jackson and Amendola of the past.
    My guess is the system is going to basically be the same (verbiage/terminology), but the way it's implemented and utilized will be different. If all goes as planned, with adequate protection and weapons that can find space, Schottenheimer can get back to his Air Coryell inspired playbook, and open it up without the limitations of last year.

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    Re: Bonus Bytes: Analyzing Sam Bradford

    Always been a Jaws fan I remember as a young player and as a matured older wiser beat up player! lol
    He was always talented and intelligent, and is very critical as well! Which for his profession now is key for him to get respect. Of course he has his faves, etc. I saw the show he talked about Sam and liked it. Agree with all Maui pointed out as well, Sam has the potential and talent to be top ten. He was in college and he I hope will be for the Rams as well! Staying healthy is a key for him too.

    One other small point, I feel Blaine Gabbert takes alot of heat for a guy with little talent around him and has been sacked as much as he has as a pro! I think he could be a very very fine QB in the future with the right pieces in place. Like Sammy he needs protection and talent on offense. Will probably help him alot if MJD is healthy this season. I hope the guy can stay up right and not fall prey to the happy feet of guys that were mowed down like our own Jimmy Everett and poor talented Carr. Time will tell but he could still turn it around imho...

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    Re: Bonus Bytes: Analyzing Sam Bradford

    One other small point, I feel Blaine Gabbert takes alot of heat for a guy with little talent around him and has been sacked as much as he has as a pro! I think he could be a very very fine QB in the future with the right pieces in place.

    ....sounds like someone we know.
    Randart likes this.

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