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Thread: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

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    McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    Rams can still build around Bradford
    October, 25, 2013
    By Todd McShay | ESPN.com

    Following the season-ending ACL injury to Sam Bradford, the St. Louis Rams’ search for a short-term fix at quarterback included reaching out to the agent of Brett Favre, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday. While Favre’s assertion that he has no interest in staging an NFL comeback took some drama out of that situation, how the Rams approach their long-term decision at QB remains an intriguing subject.

    Independent of the issue of Bradford’s health, which is obviously a factor the team will need to consider, there are legitimate questions as to whether he should be considered the long-term answer. When he has been healthy, he hasn’t yet played up to the potential he showed as a former No. 1 overall draft pick.

    However, after studying Bradford’s performance and the Rams’ personnel on the tape of several of the team’s games so far this season, I feel as though a healthy Bradford is capable of being St. Louis’ franchise QB, and that the team would be better off focusing on building up the supporting cast around him on offense, including in the 2014 NFL draft, than trying to start over with a new quarterback.

    Before I get into the details of why, I feel it’s important to point out that my only objective here was to study Bradford’s performance prior to his injury this season to get a sense for his development and see if he still possesses the mental and physical skill set to emerge as a good starting QB in the NFL (as I thought he would when I gave him a very high draft grade coming out of Oklahoma). Rams GM Les Snead and his staff have a far greater understanding of their personnel than I do or anyone else outside the organization does, and more factors will go into their QB decision than what can be seen on the field.

    But based on what I’ve seen on tape, my conclusion is that he does have what it takes to be a good starting NFL quarterback, both because of his physical tools and the fact that a lot of the offense’s struggles can be attributed to some issues with the supporting cast around him.

    Bradford demonstrates a quick release and good accuracy, as he shows good anticipation and ball placement. He does a very good job with his mental clock and getting the ball out on time. He is also willing to hang in the pocket and make throws with pressure in his face. He’s accurate on the run, especially rolling right, and when he has time he shows the ability to make throws down the field.

    Unfortunately, he hasn’t had much time to throw this season, because of porous pass protection from the offensive line, and he is often forced to get rid of the ball quickly. In particular, left guard Chris Williams and Joe Barksdale, who has filled in at right tackle for the games Rodger Saffold has missed with injury, have struggled. Obviously, this is a better unit when Saffold is healthy, but overall this is not a great unit.

    The Rams’ pass-catchers are another area of concern. There is a lot of talent in this young group -- in particular, Chris Givens shows some good run-after-catch ability, Brian Quick has produced some big plays and TE Jared Cook has the tools to be a difference-maker. But the unit has been inconsistent and has a significant problem with dropped passes.

    The first two drives of the Rams’ game against Carolina last week (prior to Bradford’s injury) provided us with a microcosm of this offense’s issues. On the first drive, Bradford got the ball out on time on what could have been a deep strike to open the game, but the pass protection collapsed and his arm was hit while delivering the ball, resulting in a pick-six.

    On the next drive, running back Zac Stacy gained 1 yard on a run after Barksdale couldn’t reach his block, then after a well-executed bootleg completion for 7 yards, Bradford made a perfectly timed throw to Quick on an 8-yard hitch route on third-and-2, but the ball hit Quick in the chest and fell incomplete.

    Draft options

    Taking these issues into account, as well as the fact that the defense is well-stocked with a number of young, promising players (Chris Long, Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, Alec Ogletree, Janoris Jenkins), where should the Rams be looking to improve in next year’s draft?

    Unless Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is staring them in the face and they think he’s the next Andrew Luck (assuming Bradford’s health isn’t in question), I think they’d be well served to use their two first-round picks (theirs and Washington’s) to address other offensive need areas, rather than drafting another young QB and having to start over.

    The first priority should be to improve the O-line. If they think both Saffold and Jake Long (by far the team’s best lineman) are long-term answers at tackle, then maybe they save their first-round picks for other positions and grab a guard in the second or third, but at a minimum they need to improve the depth and upgrade their third tackle.

    They also need a No. 1 receiver, and having two first-rounders gives the Rams the luxury of being able to take a guy such as USC’s Marqise Lee or Clemson’s Sammy Watkins even though they just invested a high draft pick in Tavon Austin last season. As talented as Austin is, he’s a slot receiver, not a true No. 1.

    Lastly, while I don’t think drafting a QB in the first round is the answer for them, they could look at a third- or fourth-round option such as LSU’s Zach Mettenberger or Georgia’s Aaron Murray. Given Bradford’s injury history to this point in his career, they need to have a backup who they’re confident in, and grabbing a rookie with developmental upside could be easier than finding a serviceable veteran willing to take a backup job.

    The bottom line is that while Bradford is far from perfect, I think he’s capable of being a very good QB for the Rams. You can see the plan with this team, and I honestly don’t think they’re as far away from being a good team as their production would indicate. It was clear that Bradford and his receivers were growing more comfortable with one another every week, and my feeling is that had Bradford not been hurt we would have started seeing some really promising signs for next season by the end of this year. If Bradford comes back healthy, the receivers continue to develop and they can shore up the line over the offseason, the Rams could be close to contender status in the NFC next season.
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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    Following the season-ending ACL injury to Sam Bradford, the St. Louis Rams’ search for a short-term fix at quarterback included reaching out to the agent of Brett Favre, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday.
    It's amazing that people are still stuck on this false assumption, despite the fact that it's now common knowledge that the whole thing was a joke.

    Other than that, I can't argue with anything McShay is presenting here. Bradford has shown he has what it takes to be the Rams franchise QB, and barring any serious complications with his injury, that's just what he'll be for the foreseeable future. People calling for his ouster need to come to grips with that.
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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    My selective reading skills latched on to

    The Rams’ pass-catchers are another area of concern

    and


    They also need a No. 1 receiver

    and

    even though they just invested a high draft pick in Tavon Austin last season. As talented as Austin is, he’s a slot receiver, not a true No. 1.



    and

    Bradford made a perfectly timed throw to Quick on an 8-yard hitch route on third-and-2, but the ball hit Quick in the chest and fell incomplete.


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    Imagine lee, givens, and Austin lining up in the same offense. Talk about speed
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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by punahou View Post
    My selective reading skills latched on to

    The Rams’ pass-catchers are another area of concern

    and


    They also need a No. 1 receiver

    and

    even though they just invested a high draft pick in Tavon Austin last season. As talented as Austin is, he’s a slot receiver, not a true No. 1.



    and

    Bradford made a perfectly timed throw to Quick on an 8-yard hitch route on third-and-2, but the ball hit Quick in the chest and fell incomplete.

    that's why it amazes me that people just say it's an excuse

    peyton manning couldn't do what he does with drops and people not getting open...sure he may be able to throw some open but still....
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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce4life View Post
    Imagine lee, givens, and Austin lining up in the same offense. Talk about speed
    as in marqise lee?

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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Rams can still build around Bradford
    October, 25, 2013
    By Todd McShay | ESPN.com

    The bottom line is that while Bradford is far from perfect, I think he’s capable of being a very good QB for the Rams. You can see the plan with this team, and I honestly don’t think they’re as far away from being a good team as their production would indicate. It was clear that Bradford and his receivers were growing more comfortable with one another every week, and my feeling is that had Bradford not been hurt we would have started seeing some really promising signs for next season by the end of this year. If Bradford comes back healthy, the receivers continue to develop and they can shore up the line over the offseason, the Rams could be close to contender status in the NFC next season.
    ...Bradford has shown he has what it takes to be the Rams franchise QB, and barring any serious complications with his injury, that's just what he'll be for the foreseeable future.
    -- R8rh8rmike
    Bradford to return healthy physically and mentally, his receivers improved. Rams offense much better!

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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by citr92 View Post
    as in marqise lee?
    Yes Marquise, but I think I'd rather have Evans since he is a match-up nightmare & a more polished version of the player the team thought they drafted in Quick. The season is still early, but if our WR play does not improve then we HAVE to strongly consider drafting a WR in the first round next year.

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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by citr92 View Post
    that's why it amazes me that people just say it's an excuse

    peyton manning couldn't do what he does with drops and people not getting open...sure he may be able to throw some open but still....
    Its amazing the the problems that this team has, secondary and receivers that suck. They don't mention that we need better receivers or better defensive backs, just that we need a qb.

    WEL GUESS WHAT, if we draft another QB in the first round, the SAME THING is going to happen... Receivers will drop the ball and run the wrong route.
    ManofGod and citr92 like this.

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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by ManofGod View Post
    Yes Marquise, but I think I'd rather have Evans since he is a match-up nightmare & a more polished version of the player the team thought they drafted in Quick. The season is still early, but if our WR play does not improve then we HAVE to strongly consider drafting a WR in the first round next year.
    which evans?

    also, was going to say there's a decent chance marqise lee stays because of his play this year and his sprained knee problem

    and i'd hope they go for the best receiver they see fit, not just gunning for one in the first

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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    Fortunately there really isn't a QB drama going on in the Rams kingdom. That said what is frustrating is "should there be a controversy". That sounds rather oxymoronic coming from a moron. But consider Jeff Fisher with Ram ownership has been the most stable time for the Rams in nearly 10 years.

    Has Bradford ever really been battle tested behind a solid and developed team considering this season is only his second FULL season with the same staff--its almost like having a rookie QB going into his second season. More I don't think Schotty is good OC for the Rams organization nor Bradford--so the question remains, is Bradford worth his $60M....more...less I can't even give somewhat of an educated guess.

    So the $60M question the Rams have to deal with is Bradford the future or past. All I know was before training camp started was my complaints that the Rams don't have a solid #2 QB considering the Rams where in a division with very good defenses--and I am still sore over that

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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    yea, a good backup would be nice

    people always point the finger at the qb...but really guys...the hating on bradford is not justified

    the right players and position coaches as well as a system that works needs to be in place for a qb to succeed....plain and simple

    and they aren't right now, besides fisher, i'd like a few coaches exchanged

    and i know schotty isn't the best OC, but gosh dang...bradford seems to need ANOTHER OC for this to work, i want schotty to magically go un-conservative so bradford doesn't need another OC, but the parts in place are not the right ones

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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    The Rams have to find a way to pick up Sammy Watkins from Clemson in the draft. This guy will be a true #1 receiver for the team. He has the size to be a possession receiver and the speed for the big play. IMO he is the best receiver to come out since Calvin Johnson

    The Rams have the ability to become the greatest show on turf again if they can somehow get him and Jake Matthews, the tackle from A&M in the first 12 or so picks.
    Last edited by Alpha_Male; -10-27-2013 at 11:21 AM.

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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    In the beginning of the season when Colt McCoy was released I wanted the Rams to pick him up...he had NFL playing time under his belt, knew he could throw the ball--sadly the 49whinners where sharp enough to pick him up.

    Regardless what the brain trust factors for Bradford's future, I am thinking the Rams will look at a high 2nd or 3rd round draft pick assuming they intend to keep Bradford, so they can groom. After all, even if he doesn't take over a well groomed QB becomes a trade commodity for another desperate NFL team--like the Rams are now

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    Re: McShay: Rams can still build around Bradford

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
    In the beginning of the season when Colt McCoy was released I wanted the Rams to pick him up...he had NFL playing time under his belt, knew he could throw the ball--sadly the 49whinners where sharp enough to pick him up.

    Regardless what the brain trust factors for Bradford's future, I am thinking the Rams will look at a high 2nd or 3rd round draft pick assuming they intend to keep Bradford, so they can groom. After all, even if he doesn't take over a well groomed QB becomes a trade commodity for another desperate NFL team--like the Rams are now
    Hopefully Austin Davis will develop strong and steady to an equivalent player value, one of a high 2nd or 3rd round draft pick as you said. I don't know much about Brady Quinn's potential but would his experience yield good job security? No, of course not. Still, I used to think BQ was up there with McCoy?
    Last edited by RealRam; -10-27-2013 at 11:49 PM. Reason: BQ

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