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Thread: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

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    Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    Sam Bradford facing high-stakes '14

    If fifth-year QB can't stay healthy and produce, Rams should seek other solutions

    Published: April 21, 2014
    By Jeffri Chadiha | ESPN.com

    Regardless of whether the St. Louis Rams select a quarterback in this year's draft -- and there have been recent rumblings, specifically by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that such a move could happen -- Sam Bradford already should know what's at stake this coming season.

    There's no question he's a likable guy with obvious talent. It's also impossible to argue that tough breaks and a subpar supporting cast on offense have plagued him during his brief career. These are the variables that often arise when discussing Bradford's lack of success in St. Louis, and this is the year when it's time for his supporters to stop leaning on them.

    As much as there is to appreciate about Bradford, the fact still remains that the Rams haven't enjoyed a winning season in the four years since he became their starting quarterback. That means something has to change this fall, especially since it's critical that the 26-year-old Bradford takes a major step in his development. He's gone from being impressive (he was the 2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year) to inconsistent (during the one year he spent with former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels) to injured (he sustained a torn ACL in Week 7 of last season). It's time for Bradford to produce the kind of season that makes everybody believe he's still the right man for the job.

    If you probe the Rams about that possibility, they will tell you all the right things. When asked about the confidence the team has in Bradford's future, a team source said "there was no concern" while adding that Bradford "is a very good quarterback."

    On the other hand, the Post-Dispatch said the Rams have met with University of Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage, while another meeting/workout also reportedly occurred with Fresno State's Derek Carr. The paper also floated names such as South Carolina's Connor Shaw and Georgia's Aaron Murray as talents who could interest St. Louis come draft week.

    It's not surprising that the Rams would be intrigued by some of the signal-callers in this class. Once you get beyond the top three players at that position -- Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel -- there are still going to be some talents to be had in the later rounds. It's also true that drafting a quarterback doesn't mean a team is actually giving up on the one it already has under center. But in this case, should the Rams actually spend a second- or third-day pick on a signal-caller, they have to know the discussions about Bradford's future will only intensify.

    Head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead will have to deal with that fallout if that scenario actually plays out. Even if it doesn't, there are legitimate issues surrounding Bradford that have to be addressed eventually. One involves his massive contract, a deal that was signed before the NFL changed its rules about how much rookies could make coming into the league, and what it means when it's time to discuss a possible extension. Bradford already has earned all of the $50 million he was guaranteed under that contract, but he still has two years and $27 million left on that package.

    That's a ton of coin for a quarterback whose numbers have been pedestrian at best. Bradford's career completion percentage (58.6) won't blow anybody away, and his career passer rating (79.3) is something that usually would be found on the résumé of a player destined to hold clipboards for a living. In fairness, Bradford regressed when the Rams changed offenses after his rookie season and tried to install a system McDaniels had used in New England and Denver. Bradford also was playing the best football of his career last fall -- he had 14 touchdowns and four interceptions through seven games -- before the knee injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year.

    As encouraging as those numbers are, Bradford has grown past the point where statistics can define his value. He needs to start taking the Rams to places they haven't been in years and exciting fans in ways Kurt Warner once did. The Rams slowly have assembled a team that is dangerous enough to create headaches for some of the league's top contenders. Most of that potential has resulted from Fisher's coaching and a steadily improving defense.

    If Bradford can take the next step in his development, then the Rams might actually push their way past the .500 mark and into contention. If he can't, then they legitimately should be looking for other options. St. Louis used to have the luxury of plugging along in the NFC West, a division that was once so bad that Seattle won it with a 7-9 record during Bradford's rookie season. That is far from the case anymore.

    The Seattle Seahawks, fresh off their first Super Bowl victory, have a young quarterback in Russell Wilson, who has quickly become a Pro Bowler and one of the game's clutch performers. San Francisco reached the Super Bowl two years ago with Colin Kaepernick, a fourth-year quarterback who has as much talent and potential as any player at his position. The Arizona Cardinals also won 10 games last season after coming out of nowhere in their first year under head coach Bruce Arians. These are the teams that stand in the way of Bradford's ascension in St. Louis.

    Bradford's cause is affected even more by how quickly his peers have blossomed. Wilson and Kaepernick are dynamic talents. Andrew Luck has taken the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs in both of his first two seasons in the league, while Cincinnati's Andy Dalton has three postseason appearances under his belt. We haven't even gotten to Carolina's Cam Newton, Washington's Robert Griffin III and Philadelphia's Nick Foles, all of whom have been to the Pro Bowl and the playoffs themselves.

    Some may find it unfair to compare Bradford to those players, but that's the way this deal works. There was a point when Bradford was the hot, young quarterback on the rise, and he had worked hard to earn that hype. Now he's hardly even discussed in the same conservation as those other young stars. When he is, it almost feels as if it's done out of sympathy, as if he's simply too nice a guy to be forgotten when so many things haven't gone his way over the last three years.

    Bradford's career has been so up and down thus far that it's hard to know exactly how he'll respond to the pressure that comes from this season. It's also worth noting that Snead and Fisher didn't draft him, meaning their stakes in his future only go so far. Taking that into consideration, it is quite plausible that the Rams will try to light a fire under Bradford by adding some competition in next month's draft. The bigger question is whether Bradford actually delivers on all that promise that has followed him since his arrival in the NFL.


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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    With very few exceptions, every starting QB is a bad year away from losing his job.

    At the start of 2013, did anyone view Matt Shaub as a QB on the hot seat? No. In fact, he had just played in the Pro Bowl. What a difference a year makes.

    Others who have lost their starting jobs fairly quickly are Josh Freeman, Mark Sanchez, Michael Vick and Christian Ponder.

    Sam Bradford will be the Rams' starting QB on opening day in 2014.

    Nothing is guaranteed beyond that day.
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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    That's a ton of coin for a quarterback whose numbers have been pedestrian at best. Bradford's career completion percentage (58.6) won't blow anybody away, and his career passer rating (79.3) is .....
    Those numbers are always something that is thrown out as criticism of Bradford. Some of it is justified but some of it is not.

    Is he a backup quality QB because of the above mentioned numbers? I say no. Statistics such as those above are deceiving. For instance, passer completion: 1032 completions on 1760 attempts equals 58.6% completion rating. Ok, if over the 49 (I hate that number) games he's played, if only .85 more passes were completed or NOT DROPPED, he'd have about 1074 completions and a 61% completion rating. ***.85*** more complete passes per game! Would that mean more wins? No. So, does that statistic say he's a back up QB?

    I say that because Bradford has gotten the short end of the stick and the team is only starting to be respectable. Bradford can not pass and receive. Should he have to run for his life while trying to find and hit a target down field? Other QBs do to an extent, but should all this be put on Bradford?

    Strengthen the line. Keep him upright! Continue to improve the quality of his targets. Implement an offensive system that plays to the strength of the team versus the NFCW defenses, run the ball with authority, and do play action passes. Bradford had a good start to last season with a pathetic running game. With effective play action, he'd have tore it up. He's better and will continue to improve as the Rams do. Who knows, he may start winning more games for the Rams if this is done. But, he's better than a backup.

    Rant over.
    Semper Fi!

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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    Stupid Bradford. I don't want another season of seeing him hit receivers in the head, chest, and hands, only to see them dropped.

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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with this article or its content. There is nothing to take exception to. Those who think otherwise either didn't read it carefully or are already firing up the excuse mill. It is balanced and pointed out the legitimate obstacles Bradford has faced while nonetheless emphasizing a sense of urgency in 2014. He will not be given an unlimited time frame to take the Rams to greater heights, and this year will go a long way in determining whether or not he's the long-term answer.

    My comments about Bradford have been overwhelmingly positive over the last couple of years. He appeared poised for a nice season last year before the injury. But it is time to end the talk about bad line play (not true last year), sub-par receiving play (it appears Fisher is content with this collection of guys without a big name in the bunch) and anything else being used to justify individual and team failure. Stay healthy, put up numbers and win football games. End of story.
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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with this article or its content. There is nothing to take exception to. Those who think otherwise either didn't read it carefully or are already firing up the excuse mill. It is balanced and pointed out the legitimate obstacles Bradford has faced while nonetheless emphasizing a sense of urgency in 2014. He will not be given an unlimited time frame to take the Rams to greater heights, and this year will go a long way in determining whether or not he's the long-term answer.
    If I may ask, at which windmill are you tilting?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    As much as there is to appreciate about Bradford, the fact still remains that the Rams haven't enjoyed a winning season in the four years since he became their starting quarterback. That means something has to change this fall, especially since it's critical that the 26-year-old Bradford takes a major step in his development. He's gone from being impressive (he was the 2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year) to inconsistent (during the one year he spent with former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels) to injured (he sustained a torn ACL in Week 7 of last season). It's time for Bradford to produce the kind of season that makes everybody believe he's still the right man for the job.
    Not sure if he's been inconsistent. If you look at that one bad season. That was the year of the lockout. The Rams changed OC and he had no time to learn the playbook nor did his teammates. The results where a very slow start followed by a high ankle injury. He would have been better severed to not play on it, much like Tavon was shut down last year. What he has not done is play lights out for several games, he has played good at times but not great.

    It's critical for the Rams as a team to have a winning record this year, so it's fair to say this is a big year for Sam. Sam would be better off to have the same stats he's had in the past and the team win more games then for him to have Matthew Stafford type numbers and the team still lose too many games.

    The funny thing to me is how his salary is brought up all the time. If his play is not good enough for the team to have a wining record, would it make a difference if he was cheaper? No we would all want a better QB period.

    This year is the first year I see the Rams asking Sam to do less not more. Why do I think that will be the case? Looking at how well we ran with Zac using the two TE sets and how efficient he was in those games. I think the team will have a chance to have a top ten defense and one of the best running games. We should have one of the best return games with Tavon and we have a solid kicking game. This team can win a lot of games with just solid QB play and Sam is more then solid.
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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    IMO, Bradford has already proven he's a franchise QB. When given a fair shot to succeed, he's made it happen. The only thing I see derailing his tenure as the Rams starting QB, is more injuries. And as far as "excuses", in Bradford's case, most are legitimate factors in evaluating his performance.
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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    IMO, Bradford has already proven he's a franchise QB. When given a fair shot to succeed, he's made it happen. The only thing I see derailing his tenure as the Rams starting QB, is more injuries. And as far as "excuses", in Bradford's case, most are legitimate factors in evaluating his performance.
    I agree. But there still comes a time when one has to put together full seasons of excellent performance. That time is now. The athletic landscape is littered with 'coulda beens, shoulda beens and what ifs" over the years. We've been through this Bradford nonsense for what seems like forever. He needs to put together a full, healthy and productive season this year. I don't think the article was inaccurate in any way shape or form.

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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    I agree. But there still comes a time when one has to put together full seasons of excellent performance. That time is now. The athletic landscape is littered with 'coulda beens, shoulda beens and what ifs" over the years. We've been through this Bradford nonsense for what seems like forever. He needs to put together a full, healthy and productive season this year. I don't think the article was inaccurate in any way shape or form.
    I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. I thought article was fair and accurate and certainly is how I feel. I do not usually go for "excuses" when looking at how a player is performing. I simply see what he does to ensure the viability and success of the team they are playing for.

    I think we saw a team last year that does not need a superstar QB to get it done. Sam is plenty good enough to help this team win. As mentioned, a strong running game and top 10 defense would be of great benefit. If the team went 4-5 with KC.....how could it not do better with Sam.

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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    I agree. But there still comes a time when one has to put together full seasons of excellent performance. That time is now. The athletic landscape is littered with 'coulda beens, shoulda beens and what ifs" over the years. We've been through this Bradford nonsense for what seems like forever. He needs to put together a full, healthy and productive season this year. I don't think the article was inaccurate in any way shape or form.
    The conventional wisdom seems to agree with you, but I don't. Again, Bradford has shown he can get it done when healthy. IMO, his ability is not the issue, it's the ability of the rest of the offense.

    As far as the article, I find it comical that Bradford is compared to Warner, who just happened to have the likes of Faulk, Bruce, Holt and Pace. For the most part, what Bradford has had to work with isn't even in the same stratosphere.

    He needs to start taking the Rams to places they haven't been in years and exciting fans in ways Kurt Warner once did.

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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    The conventional wisdom seems to agree with you, but I don't. Again, Bradford has shown he can get it done when healthy. IMO, his ability is not the issue, it's the ability of the rest of the offense.

    As far as the article, I find it comical that Bradford is compared to Warner, who just happened to have the likes of Faulk, Bruce, Holt and Pace. For the most part, what Bradford has had to work with isn't even in the same stratosphere.
    Agreed,

    Kurt Warner flourished in St Louis because of who he had. I could argue that Pace, Holt, Bruce and Faulk made him who he is today. Then he gets ran off the team and goes to the Giants, who didn't really have anyone and does very poorly but then his career gets revived in Arizona because of Fitzgerald and Boldin, both who are very good receivers. I think a large part of it is the situation you are in in combination with talent of course.

    Bradford really has no one, period.

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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with this article or its content. There is nothing to take exception to.
    ba·nal

    ˈbānl,bəˈnal,-ˈnäl

    adjective

    adjective: banal

    1. So lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring.

    2. Articles about Sam Bradford needing to prove himself in 2014

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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
    Agreed,



    Bradford really has no one, period.
    Apparently, the coaches and FO think differently........

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    Re: Sam Bradford Facing High-Stakes '14

    His last seven games...

    15 of 25 199 Yds 1 TD 1 INT
    18 of 27 206 Yds 1 TD 1 INT
    11 of 27 108 Yds 1 TD 1 INT
    15 of 23 172 Yds 1 TD 0 INT
    9 of 18 103 Yds 0 TD 0 INT
    16 of 25 215 Yds 1 TD 0 INT
    18 of 25 206 Yds 2 TD 0 INT

    If you don't see an elite big time QB in these numbers you are missing something.

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