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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Bradford seeks reasons for his regression ..

    By Les Carpenter, Yahoo! Sports Oct 13, 9:29 pm EDT


    ST. LOUIS – Sometimes being the bright young quarterback isn’t enough. Sometimes being smart and accurate and decisive and studious will take you only as far as your team will allow. Sometimes the receivers will drop the ball or the linemen will miss blocks or someone won’t quite understand the new offense and the bright young quarterback suddenly won’t look so bright.

    And so here is Sam Bradford, the NFL’s Rookie of the Year last season starting his second professional autumn next to the bottom in the league’s passer rankings. In fact the only quarterback with a worse rating is Kerry Collins(notes), a last-moment signing the Indianapolis Colts dragged out of retirement because of Peyton Manning’s(notes) injury. Bradford has completed fewer than half of his passes, thrown only three touchdowns and has 849 yards which is tied with Donovan McNabb(notes) for fewest among NFC quarterbacks with at least four starts.
    Sam Bradford went back to his old stomping grounds in Norman, Okla., to find out what was wrong with his game.

    It is, as seasons go, a disaster.

    But what exactly does he have to work with? The Rams receivers have done nothing for him, he has been sacked 19 times and the running game is missing because of Steven Jackson’s injuries. If ever a quarterback’s team has deceived him it is this one.

    [* Yahoo! Sports Radio: Heath Evans on Walter Payton]

    Bradford won’t say this, of course. Rather he talks about the mistakes he has made. He says he needs to do a better job of throwing to his receivers. He says he needs to release the ball quicker and run through his passing options with more haste. He says he needs to keep throwing. He says he needs to keep pulling the Rams along because he also says he’s sure they are much better than their 0-4 record in the NFL’s worst division.

    “I think it’s what you have to do,” he says of putting the blame for the offensive failings on himself. “If you don’t have high expectations for yourself, you are setting yourself up for failure.”

    He is perplexed by this season. Especially after last season when he led a fast, hopeful St. Louis team to the brink of the playoffs before losing that dreadful game in Seattle on the season’s last day. Everything came so fast last year. The games raced by, pass rushers appeared from nowhere, receivers went from open to covered in an instant. He struggled to keep up. He rushed everything. This year the game has slowed. He sees so much more. The new offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, has given him new freedom and responsibility and he understands clearly what McDaniels wants. If anything, he should be beyond the player he was last fall, not worse.

    Last week, while the Rams had a few days off for the bye, he went back to Oklahoma, to the warmth of the school where he won the Heisman Trophy after his sophomore year. He walked into the office of his old position coach, Josh Heupel, and sat down.

    “I feel like I’m 10 times better than I was last year but it’s not coming together as it should,” he told Heupel.

    Heupel’s response?

    “Just because you’re a better quarterback, you may not have better numbers.”

    Standing in a room just off the Rams’ practice field as he remembers the exchange, Bradford smiles.

    “Oh my God,” he says. “It’s funny.” Because this is exactly the thing Heupel told him all the way through college, even when injuries came and he didn’t win the Heisman his junior season. Statistics aren’t always the measure of a player’s growth. Three touchdowns in four games don’t always mean a quarterback is regressing.

    [ Related: Other ‘Transformer’ nicknames for NFL players ]

    “I think it was nice to hear him say that because I knew that,” Bradford says. “I look at us and I feel like we are capable of playing at a higher level but it’s not resulting in more points.”

    McDaniels keeps pushing him, keeps challenging, keeps believing the offense will improve, that all it takes is time. “He’s got a pretty good head on his shoulders,” McDaniels says.

    But looking at the Rams, what indicates they will get better? Their best receiving threat, Danario Alexander(notes), has shown glimpses of brilliance, but there have been too many mistakes. The same with most of the others, a group distinguished by the fact they have caught anywhere from six to 13 passes this year. No one seems special. The blocks aren’t always there. A mediocre football team is stumbling through an easy division struggling to find its way and so Sam Bradford must struggle along with it.

    Perhaps the success of last year was the worst thing that could have happened because it gave him a taste of how good he could be before the foundation for he and the franchise was in place. The surprise victories allowed everyone to think he would be even greater with a year of experience.


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    Re: Bradford seeks reasons for his regression ..

    "stumbling through an easy division"? Does this guy realize the schedule we have played so far? Great research there.

  3. #3
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    Re: Bradford seeks reasons for his regression ..

    PLAIN AND SIMPLE,The Ram offense was looking good, and Sam was comfortable knowing that offense, Along comes Josh , Mr.Offensive coordinator, and Bam, instead of Josh conforming he makes everyone chang, and this is exactly what has screwed the entire team up. WHAT THE HELL IS THE RAMS MANAGEMENT AND HEAD COACH THINKING..I would have built my offense around what was already started and working, and Josh McD, you have seriously compromised any NFL team wanting you,,,,,Get Sam backto where he is comfortable and send JOSH PACKING.

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    Re: Bradford seeks reasons for his regression ..

    Quote Originally Posted by St.Louis Ram 56 View Post
    PLAIN AND SIMPLE,The Ram offense was looking good, and Sam was comfortable knowing that offense, Along comes Josh , Mr.Offensive coordinator, and Bam, instead of Josh conforming he makes everyone chang, and this is exactly what has screwed the entire team up. WHAT THE HELL IS THE RAMS MANAGEMENT AND HEAD COACH THINKING..I would have built my offense around what was already started and working, and Josh McD, you have seriously compromised any NFL team wanting you,,,,,Get Sam backto where he is comfortable and send JOSH PACKING.
    The Rams were thinking that McDaniels has a long history of coaching up Qb's and getting the most out of them. They were thinking that the west coast system they were running before wasn't potent enough and McDaniels would change that with his scheme, which he has. I'm thinking it's really funny when people comment on coaches and changes without understanding anything about them.

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Bradford seeks reasons for his regression ..

    “Oh my God,” he says. “It’s funny.” Because this is exactly the thing Heupel told him all the way through college, even when injuries came and he didn’t win the Heisman his junior season. Statistics aren’t always the measure of a player’s growth. Three touchdowns in four games don’t always mean a quarterback is regressing.
    Yeah, I don't know that I'd say Bradford is regressing, but I also don't know that he's progressing either. He's getting very little help from his teammates, and that's an understatement. It's hard to judge a player, specifically a quarterback, in these types of circumstances. It's hard to make progress and improve with so much going wrong around you.

    Having said that, when you watch the Rams play every weekend, there are plays there to be made that Sam is not making. Open receivers he's not hitting, passes that are not being thrown accurately, time afforded to him yet the ball lingers too long in his hand. He's still a young player getting used to the speed of the game, in an offense that doesn't protect him as much as last year's did. He's right when he says there are things he needs to do better as well.

    Is he the problem? Absolutely not. Is he even part of the problem? Not really; there are numerous bigger issues facing this team than what Sam Bradford is not doing well. But as he points out himself in the article, that doesn't mean there aren't areas where he can improve and plays he can make to help this team. When you draft a quarterback first overall, a lot of expectations come with that. You've put the future of your franchise on this guy's shoulders.

    The best ones in this league face adversity head on and make the plays needed when their team needs them. Sam is still learning how to do this, but if the Rams don't improve around him and give him the necessary environment to progress, he may never have the chance to improve and reach that level.

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    Re: Bradford seeks reasons for his regression ..

    Quote Originally Posted by St.Louis Ram 56 View Post
    PLAIN AND SIMPLE,The Ram offense was looking good, and Sam was comfortable knowing that offense, Along comes Josh , Mr.Offensive coordinator, and Bam, instead of Josh conforming he makes everyone chang, and this is exactly what has screwed the entire team up. WHAT THE HELL IS THE RAMS MANAGEMENT AND HEAD COACH THINKING..I would have built my offense around what was already started and working, and Josh McD, you have seriously compromised any NFL team wanting you,,,,,Get Sam backto where he is comfortable and send JOSH PACKING.
    You cannot knock the Rams top brass, for wanting to expand the offense for this season.! Especially after the Browns took Shurmur to be their head coach. Their is nothing wrong with the teams ambition here.! The Rams offense was ranked 27th in the NFL, so the time was right for a more wide open passing game.? It does look like the Rams over estimated the O-Lines ability, to hold up to their added responsibilities.? But remember, its been a crash course in the offense, so it must have been much more difficult to foresee the problems, in the shortened time frame. Im going to cut them some slack for the next four weeks, but then expect improvement.?

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    Re: Bradford seeks reasons for his regression ..

    Rams offense last year was not good, had a rookie QB, and was scaled down to the point that 7-9 and losing the biggest game of the year to Seattle shouldn't have been shocking and was looking like real progress. It was time to take the next step forward and maximize the huge amount of money they have tied with Sam Bradford. Hence, here comes McDaniel, the signing of UFA Dahl to complete one of the most highly-paid OL's in the game, but yet no help at WR. Kendricks showing terrible hands so far this year hasn't helped at all, but there is a serious talent gap at WR. MSW looks terrible and still doesn't seem to know how to even line up.

    Rams are still trying to move forward and progress, but Devaney's personnel moves and drafting is getting in the way. I'm not giving up on Harvey Dahl, but Jason Smith and Jason Brown are both looking really bad and Saffold has fallen completely apart over last year. That and the inability to coach anyone on the roster on how to field a punt points to Spags and his staff again.

    Time to show some real improvement and at least be competitive in the NFL or get ready for a new GM and HC next year.

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