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Thread: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

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    Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    Burwell: Rams need to unchain Bradford ... now!

    6 hours ago • BY BRYAN BURWELL • bburwell@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8185

    One of the surest signs of the tangible progress rising out of Rams Park is the sudden swelling of organized second-guessing that spread like wildfire throughout this normally tepid football town Monday morning.

    Folks weren’t ambivalent about another Rams loss. They are annoyed. Their spirits weren’t broken, they were stoked. People weren’t behaving with dispirited resignation. Instead, the voices of discontent I heard bubbling weren’t dismissing the Rams’ 31-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons as a predictable failure on the road. They were reacting with the sense that their green-but-growing football team not only could have done better in Atlanta, but should have done better.

    Retrain the brain. That’s what’s happening here.

    People don’t shrug their shoulders dismissively when this young Rams team loses. Now, people can squint just a little bit and imagine the possibilities that prosperity really is just around the corner. Everyone can see that this is no longer a bottom-dwelling football team with little faith, no hope and even less talent. So they’re holding the Rams to higher standards.

    Call this progress. This is a team that lost a game it could have won, and I can count any number of reasons things should have been different.

    So how does progress translate to reality?

    Perhaps the surest way things could have gone better against the Falcons — and maybe the swiftest route to things becoming downright glorious over the course of the next 14 games — might be if coach Jeff Fisher admits to himself that he’s ready to fully embrace the swashbuckling offensive revolution that is spreading across the rest of the National Football League.

    Fisher, the man all of St. Louis has entrusted with the role of franchise savior, has proven beyond any reasonable (and unreasonable) expectation that he has the know-how and the master plan to turn this previously moribund organization into a playoff-contending machine. But I wonder if there’s some furious — and deeply conflicting — cultural tug-of-war he’s experiencing between the old-school football instincts that have served him well for decades and the cutting-edge reality of the modern NFL that dictates a wide-open offensive era as the wave of the present and future.

    I bring that up because during his Monday afternoon postmortem breakdown of Sunday’s game, Fisher still wasn’t willing to admit that his offense looks so much better when gifted young quarterback Sam Bradford is running a no-huddle attack with blitzkrieg urgency.

    On Sunday, it took falling behind 24-3 before Fisher allowed offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to change the pace of the offense to a more up-tempo attack. In nearly three quarters of action of more methodical play-calling that suits Fisher’s old-school style, Bradford was 15 for 28 passing for 164 yards with no touchdowns, one interception and a 56.3 passer efficiency rating. But with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter, the sense of urgency shifted and the Rams went to a no-huddle offense.

    The results were immediate and dramatic. Bradford completed 17 of 27 passes for 188 yards, three TDs, no interceptions and a passer efficiency rating of an eye-popping 120.6.

    By the end of the game, Bradford had 352 yards in the air, the Rams had the Falcons’ defense on its heels and it looked as if they were about to engineer another come-from-behind victory. It’s hard to argue with that success, but Fisher tried.

    “We did it because we got behind,” Fisher said of the up-tempo style.

    He pointed out that the Rams have won just twice when Bradford has thrown for 300 yards. But if we count last week’s 299-yard outing against Arizona as a 300-yard game, that would leave Bradford’s record in 300-yard plus passing games at 3-5. But the record is deceiving and certainly shouldn’t be used as an indictment against having him fling the ball up and down the field.

    I’m not always a big numbers guy. Stats can be twisted into supporting just about anything you want them to. But I can tell you this: My lying eyes tell me every time I see Bradford playing the blitzkrieg style with no huddles and a quick tempo, the Rams look like a different team — a better team.

    It’s the same offense Bradford ran when he was winning Big 12 titles, and a Heisman Trophy, leading Oklahoma into the teeth of national championship hunts and turning himself into a No. 1 overall draft pick. Why not tailor some form of the Rams’ playbook into something that fits your star quarterback’s playing style?

    Take a look at all the other young quarterbacks in the NFL and how the teams have tailored their offenses to fit the unique skill sets of their gifted QBs. Everyone does it. Everyone finds the plays and schemes that allow the likes of Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton to comfortably thrive. When the Broncos acquired Peyton Manning, they didn’t hand him the Tim Tebow playbook, did they? No, they catered the Broncos playbook to Manning’s preferences, and look what is happening out there.

    So why not do the same thing with Bradford, who has made it quite clear how comfortable he is in this up-tempo offense? We know Schottenheimer and Bradford spent a lot of time in the offseason collaborating on the offensive design of the playbook. I’ve seen the way things were being run in all those practices. I’ve heard the skill-position impact players rave about how diverse and deadly this playbook can be. So what are they waiting for?

    The issue here really isn’t the no-huddle vs. the methodical pace. What’s really worth examining is whether Fisher truly believes that Bradford is a quarterback with the rare talents of the upper tier of thoroughbred NFL quarterbacks, a dynamic passer who dictates the pace of games rather than a plow horse who can only manage the game.

    You don’t draft a guy No.1 overall if you believe he’s a manager. You don’t invest $70 million in him if you just want him to drive in the right line barely above the speed limit. You don’t spend all those draft picks and free agent money in the offseason on Jared Cook, Jake Long and Tavon Austin if you think Bradford can’t be a star.

    I know it’s only two games, but there are only four quarterbacks who have more passing yards than Bradford’s 651 (Peyton and Eli Manning, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers). Bradford’s 93.1 passer rating is 15th in the NFL, he’s tied for first in pass attempts (93) and third in completions (59).

    This is a quarterback who can win games for you. Get out of his way and let him do it.
    RockinRam and rNemesis like this.


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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    This is a quarterback who can win games for you. Get out of his way and let him do it.
    I don't always agree with Burwell. but I do here. Bradford has what it takes to make the Rams offense a force, but it appears Fisher isn't ready, for whatever reason, to give Bradford the green light to let her rip. Fisher's comment about the Rams only winning twice when Bradford throws for over 300 yards is telling.

    People want to complain about Bradford dumping the ball off too often, but it's clear to me, that's what he was told to do for the most part. Sure, there were times when he failed to see open receivers downfield, and was quick to abandon his reads, but those instances were not the norm. He made plenty of nice throws downfield when given the opportunity.

    I really hope things change next Sunday in Dallas, but indications are that Fisher wants to stay with a safe, ball control offense. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    Our offense has been a pleasant surprise for me. It's only going to get better as Bradford and this offense get more playing time under their respective belts. The disappointment for me is our defense. With the talent we have our front 4 if not our front 7 should be dominating the opposing offensive lines. I really thought we would be able to consistenty get pressure on the opposing QB with just our front 4 which would take a lot of pressure off of our secondary. Maybe it will happen but I thought it would happen rightaway.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    I agree with this article. To me, it also seems that Fisher is coming across as one stubborn person. Come on, cater to Bradford's strength.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    We'd all like to see a more prolific offense, but it could be that Fisher's reticence stems from our inexperienced receivers other than Cookie and Pettis. Wasn't it Givens who had one bounced off his backside on a hot read against the Cardinals? For me as a fan, it is hard to know when a receiver screws up his route unless he is targeted on that particular play. I don't re- watch games and attempt to isolate on receivers.

    If it is true that this may be what is holding things back, then Fisher up until now has picked his poison: Discretion being the bettor part of valor kinda sorta. That said, a loss is still a loss whether it be by 3 points or 30. Same goes for a win. Maybe Fish should pick the other poison, and open things up so the kids can learn on the fly. More mistakes will no doubt occur, but maybe more points will result as well. We do appear to have the weaponry in place to attack aggressively, the kids just have to remember to reload their guns each and every play. We'll see soon enough I guess.

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    We'd all like to see a more prolific offense, but it could be that Fisher's reticence stems from our inexperienced receivers other than Cookie and Pettis. Wasn't it Givens who had one bounced off his backside on a hot read against the Cardinals? For me as a fan, it is hard to know when a receiver screws up his route unless he is targeted on that particular play. I don't re- watch games and attempt to isolate on receivers.

    If it is true that this may be what is holding things back, then Fisher up until now has picked his poison: Discretion being the bettor part of valor kinda sorta. That said, a loss is still a loss whether it be by 3 points or 30. Same goes for a win. Maybe Fish should pick the other poison, and open things up so the kids can learn on the fly. More mistakes will no doubt occur, but maybe more points will result as well. We do appear to have the weaponry in place to attack aggressively, the kids just have to remember to reload their guns each and every play. We'll see soon enough I guess.
    I can only blame one person for my disappointment with this to huddle or not to huddle debate. That person is you Maui. LOL you posted The evolution of Bradford and the Rams. I read that and was so excited about what this offense was going to become, what it could become, what it should become... only to hear Fisher say not in my plans.

    Wilson and his staff began to recalibrate the idea of what the offense could become. Surrounding Bradford with talented players like Kelly, tight end Jermaine Gresham, running back DeMarco Murray and an offensive line stocked with future NFL players, the Sooners quickly realized their best bet was a no-huddle offense with Bradford as the trigger man.
    Link to that article. The evolution of Bradford and the Rams ..

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    He pointed out that the Rams have won just twice when Bradford has thrown for 300 yards. But if we count last week’s 299-yard outing against Arizona as a 300-yard game, that would leave Bradford’s record in 300-yard plus passing games at 3-5.
    I don't pretend to know Fisher's thinking on this, but to me, this is a totally irrelevant stat to use in this argument. Most of the offensive personnel that played in the games Fisher is using to back up his argument are no longer on the team. This is almost an entirely new offense.
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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    It is amusing that there are some fans out there who just a short time ago condemned Bradford for his lack of being a "big time" QB capable of carrying an offense. Now these same people are fired up that Fisher hasn't "unchained" Bradford!!! My, how times have changed!!!

    I think we'll see a much more wide-open approach to offense as the season progresses. We have to keep in mind this isn't just about Bradford, it's about the other pieces- Cook, Austin, Quick and Givens- who are still learning the system. We have really, really young guys at the skill positions. I'm confident Fisher will turn these guys loose as they master the offense.
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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    Some of the young skill players may be learning. But I think this revolves around Bradford. He seems to excel at this speed. And those young guys seem to as well. Push what is working. And it seems to be working this year.

    Another point with Fisher and his stats. He needs to do a drive by drive comparison. Not a game by game comparison. if drives are performing better (and I think they are) with a sped up tempo, then that is much more telling than just basing it purely on a whole-game standpoint. If you suck for 3 quarters and then finally put on the speed in the 4th quarter, the end-game results do not properly reflect what is working.

    The answer to me is normal approach with sped up tempo sprinkled in. Not just when it is necessary (read: we are behind and in the 4th quarter).

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    The title of the article made me think of this:

    Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!-bu.jpg

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    Quick ‘n EZ: Sam Bradford Revolutionized the NFL with the Hurry-Up and Now They Won’t Use It
    By Zach McCrite on September 16th, 2013 @ 10:04pm

    Two seasons ago, in Steve Spagnuolo’s final season as the the St. Louis Rams head coach, Sam Bradford and the Rams went into MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Giants. It was two seasons ago to this very week — Week 2

    I’ll never forget it. The Rams came out slingin’, and the tempo was un-Rams-like (at least for the first quarter of a “Spags game”). It was fast, it was unfamiliar. It was so Josh McDaniels–the good Josh McDaniels, even.

    And I liked it.

    Bradford to Brandon Gibson (we hardly knew ye) for 10, followed by no-huddle. Cadillac Williams (we hardly knew ye) for one (shocker), followed by no-huddle. Bradford to Gibson for 17, followed by no huddle. Williams for five more, followed by no-huddle. Bradford to Lance Kendricks for 26, followed by no huddle. Williams for eight more to the Giants’ 7-yard line.

    This all happened with just 1:37 going off of the clock, for crying out loud (there was just one incompletion). It was beautiful. So beautiful and so blazing fast were the Rams that–are you ready for this?–the Giants started faking injuries to stop the clock.



    Never forget.

    Say it out loud: Sam Bradford revolutionized the NFL. With that drive, he created injury-fakers. With that drive, he created a world where the NFL is still–two years later–sending out league-wide memos to teams to cease this behavior.

    And that was the last time I can remember the Rams going hurry-up, just to go hurry-up–the putrid Spagnuolo era. And it worked. That’s the tempo Bradford likes. It’s the tempo he thrives in Yet, that won’t be done here, for whatever reason.

    Look, I’m joking about Bradford revolutionizing the NFL, but you see where I’m getting at.

    Can someone pass that tape to Jeff Fisher or Brian Schottenheimer? Maybe they didn’t see it.

    The only response I get that attempts to fly in the face of my request is that Fisher may not want to see his defense on the field that much. If that’s the case, then that’s a different problem. But can we at least try it first and see if that’s truly the case? I’ve seen the conservative, milk-the-clock, win-the-time-of-possession kind of game twice already this season. It’s resulted in being down double-digits in the second half of both games so far. Let’s just tweak things.

    And I’ll be honest, maybe I should be careful what I wish for. It may blow up and be a disaster.

    But at least we’ll know.
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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    The title of the article made me think of this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    You are in mid-season form, my friend.
    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
    Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!



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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    Our offense has been a pleasant surprise for me. It's only going to get better as Bradford and this offense get more playing time under their respective belts. The disappointment for me is our defense. With the talent we have our front 4 if not our front 7 should be dominating the opposing offensive lines. I really thought we would be able to consistenty get pressure on the opposing QB with just our front 4 which would take a lot of pressure off of our secondary. Maybe it will happen but I thought it would happen rightaway.
    I think we can get pressure with the front four, if they are not battling an OL that is allowed to hold the DEs on E.V.E.R.Y. passing play. We do need a bit better secondary, as that would give the DL more time to get past the holding that is going unchecked.


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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    Considering we're only 2 games into the season id like to give it more time before sounding off at the Rams coaching staff. An encouraging and surprising stat for myself, is the fact that Sam is tied for 1st in pass attempts, surely that goes someway to show that they are indeed trying to let Sam rip loose...

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    Re: Burwell: Rams Need To Unchain Bradford...Now!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bing69 View Post
    Considering we're only 2 games into the season id like to give it more time before sounding off at the Rams coaching staff. An encouraging and surprising stat for myself, is the fact that Sam is tied for 1st in pass attempts, surely that goes someway to show that they are indeed trying to let Sam rip loose...
    I think the fact that the Rams have had to play catch-up after being down by double digits in both games is the determining factor in Bradford's attempts, as opposed to any concerted effort to open things up by the coaching staff.

    As far as the calls to let Bradford use the up tempo more, yes we are only 2 games into the season, but Fisher has already said he doesn't plan to utilize it on any consistent basis, despite the fact that it has been highly effective, and something Bradford is comfortable operating in. In that context, I don't see anything wrong with sounding off on the Rams coaching staff 2 games into the season.

    That said, who knows, maybe Fisher is playing possum, and Dallas or the whiners are in for a big surprise. Guess we'll find out soon enough.

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