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  • Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

    Rams need to show some fortitude and draft Bradford

    Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/11/2010


    As the Rams ponder their options for the No. 1 overall draft pick, it's probably a good time to ask a pertinent question: Are the Rams ready to rejoin the National Football League?

    The NFL has evolved dramatically in recent years. This is a passing league now. The salary-cap system went into place in 1994, or 16 seasons ago. Over that time, the league's second-highest average of passing yards per game occurred in 2009, and the fourth-highest passing average came in 2008. In terms of average yards per attempt, four of the five best passing seasons since '94 have come over the last four seasons.

    These aren't meaningless yards, either. If a team is incapable of doing considerable damage through the air, then the odds of success are limited. And yes, the numbers back that up.

    Over the past three seasons, the teams that finished among the top third in the NFL in overall passing yards have claimed 21 of the 36 postseason spots. In 2009, nine of the top 10 passing teams — and 10 of the top 12 — made it to the postseason.

    Message: Throw it or go home.

    That brings us to Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.

    The Rams are eyeing Bradford as a strong possibility for No. 1 overall. As they should be — provided Bradford passes inspection when doctors examine his surgically repaired right shoulder.

    Of course, the idea of drafting a quarterback first overall has caused an eruption of high-pitched clucking from the precious Chicken Littles among us. These are jittery shaking Rams fans who have decided it's insane to draft a quarterback No. 1 overall.

    Why?

    Because the Oakland Raiders did it in 2007 and JaMarcus Russell went bust. And because Houston did it in 2002 and David Carr flopped. And because San Francisco took the chance on Alex Smith at No. 1 overall in 2005 and he hasn't ascended to an elite level.

    According to the nervous nellies, Joey Harrington (No. 3 overall, Detroit, 2002) is another example of the disaster that awaits any team reckless enough to take a QB at the top of the first round.

    Apparently the logic works like this: (A) Other NFL teams have erred in past in choosing quarterbacks, therefore (B) Bradford is doomed to fail if the Rams tap him April 22.

    And then there are Dr. Chicken Littles. The Doctor Littles are experts on shoulder injuries.

    Just thinking about Bradford's shoulder makes them tremble.

    Well, we all know that it is impossible for a quarterback to recover from shoulder surgery. Just ask the New Orleans Saints, the dumbbells who gave Drew Brees 60 million free-agent dollars before the 2006 season. And the Brees injury concern — rotator cuff surgery — was more severe than what Bradford faces.

    Someone please refresh my memory: How did Brees work out for New Orleans?

    Look, folks. We can do the Safety Dance for another decade or so if you want, but at some point the Rams have to man up and take a calculated gamble on a rookie quarterback.

    And not a cautious, cover-your-tail pick, either. I'm talking about a first-round rookie QB. An early first-round, potential franchise quarterback. A promising new face and image for your sad-sack team. A symbol of hope for a futile franchise.

    Bradford has accuracy, he's a winner, he scored high on the intelligence test and by all accounts is a high-character individual. If his shoulder is good to go — and every indication is that it will be — then he's worthy of the top pick. Especially for a team that does not have a quarterback.

    And before anyone has another anxiety attack, let me add this: Yes, the Rams need receivers and a better offensive line. I know that. I also know it would be silly to hurl an overexposed Bradford into a shark tank. The wiser approach would be to gradually ease him in.

    But the Rams wouldn't be drafting Bradford with 2010 in mind; we're talking about a long-term franchise piece here. This is about the big picture. And it's another reason you keep Steven Jackson; a strong running game will help protect a kid quarterback.

    You just can't keep hiding under the covers forever as Matt Ryan, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco or other first-round QB talents go elsewhere and compete in postseason games.

    Sure, you can hope to get lucky and have another Kurt Warner walk out of an Iowa grocery store to save the day. But Warner is a once-in-a-lifetime miracle man.

    And when did the NFL draft become an exercise in cowardice?

    If the Rams love Bradford and are convinced that he's got the right stuff, then they should follow their judgment.

    News flash: Any player picked at No. 1 overall carries risk. Wary, worried fans who want that safe defensive tackle should Google the name Steve Emtman. There is no such thing as a sure thing.

    But your best shot for finding one is in the first round.

    Fact: Over the last 10 seasons, 120 NFL teams have made the playoffs. And of those 120 postseason entries, 64 were led by first-round QBs. That's 53.3 percent, and it blows away the rest of the board.

    The next-best round for finding a playoff quarterback? The sixth round, thanks (mostly) to Tom Brady and Matt Hasselbeck. Sixth-round QBs took their teams to the playoffs 15 times.

    You see, when the Chicken Littles cackle endlessly about first-round QB failures and bring up Akili Smith and David Klinger, they neglect to mention that No. 1 picks were used to draft Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rogers, Flacco, Ryan and Sanchez.

    Besides, the sky already has fallen on the Rams.

    Now they need a quarterback to pump it up and put that bright sky back in place.

  • #2
    Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

    Why is it that Bernie's articles are making more sense to me this last week?

    My opinion is that if Bradford has recovered from his surgery, and if he throws well at his pro day, then he will be the pick.

    I would love a big DT like Suh and McCoy, but the fact is our passing game was shocking last year. So if Bradford and the DTs grade out at about the same level, then we have to take Bradford
    @EssexRam_

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

      I'm one of those in favor of getting our future longterm QB this year but I don't think it's nearly as black & white that it has to be the #1 pick or The Rams are being chickenpoop if they look for that guy elsewhere in the draft or a deal.

      Are the fans who are in mourning today for the loss of one of the greatest of all defensive linemen also fools for their appreciation of the impact a great one can make? Not a good day to deride the value of defense,imo. Somebody needs to call Deacon & have him slap this sensationalist upside the head.

      Uh, we all know you need to pass to win, thanks very much.But we also all know you need to be able to stop the other guys from doing it as well and, more to the point, that The Rams lack the ability to do either.

      A QB trying to play the NFL version of the position if he hasn't done it much & has glass shoulders sounds kinda like a college DE with glass shoulders trying to play an NFL DT . Sam Carriker.....Adam Bradford.....I'm so confused....I don't think it's true but it's a valid concern & is a position that doesn't deserve to be sneered at,imo.

      Why doesn't Bernie opine informatively about why Bradford specifically would be the right pick? Trends and probabilities don't determine the value of an individual pick. Why not use your access to find out how much this freakin' QB actually played under center, for example? There's more to know than the state of his shoulder. I'm sure DeSpags know but it would be nice if we did,too, wouldn't it ?
      Last edited by Azul e Oro; -03-12-2010, 01:39 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

        In his next article, Bernie will share his latest revelation: that diets high in saturated fat are bad.

        It seems that Bernie thinks that he is the first to opine that the Rams should take Bradford. Either that, or he just thinks that, until he says it, it does not matter.

        I am pretty close to taking the reigns of the Bradford bandwagon myself, but its not about courage or being a "chicken little," as the immature man-child Bernie states.

        Rather, its a bit more complicated.

        First of all, Bradford has to throw the ball for the scouts. If Bradford shows up on March 25 and the scouts see a QB laboring to make standard NFL throws and looking singificantly different from the QB seen in his 2008 game films, are you telling me that the Rams still have to draft him? Of course not. Maybe then Bernie will write an article about Jimmy Clausen... or maybe he'll just switch to Ndamukong Suh and say that we all misunderstood his Bradford article.

        Even if Bradford throws well, there are additional questions. For example... if the Rams think that Colt McCoy, Tony Pike and Dan LeFevour are all merely a notch below Bradford, it might make sense to draft Suh (or Gerald McCoy, if you prefer) and take a QB in Round 2 or 3.

        In the end, I am glad that Spagnuolo and Devaney are not "chicken little" types who will take their advice from tools like Bernie.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

          What few games I got to watch the kid he often got his clock cleanded. More than once he was shown on the pine staring at angels.

          He'll fit right in.
          Look away. I'm hideous. __ Cozmo Kramer

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

            anyone would agree that it takes a top notch QB to win championships, the question still remains though: Is that QB to be found in Bradford or any QB this year? I'm not sure that Bradford is that QB and I'm not sure that drafting a 1st round QB this year will make a difference in the long run. I still like Suh who I believe is the best player and least risky player to be taken with the first overall selection...plus, Kiper believes we should take a QB.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

              Hell, lets take the money a first would cost and shore up the OL some more and, as bad as I hate to say it........ keep Bulger.

              But, by gum, DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE.
              Look away. I'm hideous. __ Cozmo Kramer

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

                Originally posted by poejoe8 View Post
                anyone would agree that it takes a top notch QB to win championships, the question still remains though: Is that QB to be found in Bradford or any QB this year? I'm not sure that Bradford is that QB and I'm not sure that drafting a 1st round QB this year will make a difference in the long run. I still like Suh who I believe is the best player and least risky player to be taken with the first overall selection...plus, Kiper believes we should take a QB.
                I do not agree that you need a top notch qb to win a Superbowl. Just ask Trent Dilfer,Jay Schroeder or Doug Williams. I don't consider and did not consider any of those guys great qb's.

                I do agree with you however that Bradford does not strike me as the franchise qb the Rams need. Bernie can yell through his mouth full of Krispy Kreme donuts all he wants, he is no better than any of us and shows us time and time again in his mis-informed articles. He's guessing just like we are. What just because he scribbles this crap on a peice of paper and gets paid for it makes him more knowledgeable than any of us? He has nothing more than a gut feeling about the draft just like all of us. Obviousley his gut feeling is that Bradford is great. My gut feeling is that Bradford is going to be nothing more than average and isnt worthy of the 1st overall pick.

                It's not about showing fortitude Bernie it's about making the right decision, and if the Rams think Bradford does not look the part of a franchise qb they won't pick him. Could I be wrong, and could the Rams be wrong if they don't pick him? Sure but they could also be wrong if they do pick him first over all and Bradford never lives up to the franchise tag.

                In my opinion I would rather see the Rams build a strong defense and find a qb later in this years draft. In my opinion Bradford and Clausen do not show me the definitive seperation from the rest of the average pack of qb's this year. Many great qb's have been found in the lower rounds of the draft or not drafted at all. Kurt Warner,Tom Brady,Joe Montana and even Brett Favre were drafted beyond the first round or not drafted at all. So Bernie could open his eyes and look at it that way instead of stating that the Rams lack fortitude just because they don't draft Bradford first over all. Maybe just maybe Bernie they have a better plan.
                Aim high Willis, Aim High!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

                  Originally posted by Azul e Oro View Post

                  Why doesn't Bernie opine informatively about why Bradford specifically would be the right pick? Trends and probabilities don't determine the value of an individual pick.
                  Exactly. I can't stand articles like this. What someone did before him, or any player, means absolutely nothing about him as a prospect now.

                  Bernie's logic just sucks here. "Other players who have been picked in the first round have done well, so we in turn should draft a player in the first round because other teams have been successful at it."

                  This has absolutely nothing to do with Bradford as a prospect! In fact, the total amount of the article dedicated to describing the positives of Bradford as a prospect is...one sentence. One sentence! And even that sentence is just general characteristics about the player. He's accurate, he wins, he is a high character guy...blah blah blah.

                  For every Peyton Manning there is a Ryan Leaf. Ok, maybe not that extreme. Bernie should be doing homework on Bradford as a prospect, and not the success rate of quarterbacks selected in certain positions in the draft. But I guess that would require detailed analysis citing specific points and facts, which is much harder to do than make broad, sweeping generalizations about an entire league.


                  Oh, I just re-read this quote:

                  "Apparently the logic works like this: (A) Other NFL teams have erred in past in choosing quarterbacks, therefore (B) Bradford is doomed to fail if the Rams tap him April 22. "

                  What a great thing to put in an article with an argument of "Other teams have picked great players in the first round, so we need to also. "

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

                    Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
                    In his next article, Bernie will share his latest revelation: that diets high in saturated fat are bad.

                    It seems that Bernie thinks that he is the first to opine that the Rams should take Bradford. Either that, or he just thinks that, until he says it, it does not matter.

                    I am pretty close to taking the reigns of the Bradford bandwagon myself, but its not about courage or being a "chicken little," as the immature man-child Bernie states.

                    Rather, its a bit more complicated.

                    First of all, Bradford has to throw the ball for the scouts. If Bradford shows up on March 25 and the scouts see a QB laboring to make standard NFL throws and looking singificantly different from the QB seen in his 2008 game films, are you telling me that the Rams still have to draft him? Of course not. Maybe then Bernie will write an article about Jimmy Clausen... or maybe he'll just switch to Ndamukong Suh and say that we all misunderstood his Bradford article.

                    Even if Bradford throws well, there are additional questions. For example... if the Rams think that Colt McCoy, Tony Pike and Dan LeFevour are all merely a notch below Bradford, it might make sense to draft Suh (or Gerald McCoy, if you prefer) and take a QB in Round 2 or 3.

                    In the end, I am glad that Spagnuolo and Devaney are not "chicken little" types who will take their advice from tools like Bernie.
                    It would seem to me that Suh would be the pick of reason because he makes us a better defense right away, Bradford / with this o-line good be damaging. Bernie has never really ever made sense to me and i like AV's senerio.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

                      So what if the NFL is a passing league? That doesn't mean we have to build our team as a passing team. I still believe in the ground (Steven Jackson) and pound (Stingy Defense).

                      :helmet:
                      sigpic :ram::helmet:

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

                        ugh... you know, you'd think that one of these days, i'd learn my lesson and stop clicking on clan msg's that post bernie articles. we've known for a long time what kind of hack bernie is. i only blame me at this point.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

                          Originally posted by KoaKoi View Post
                          ugh... you know, you'd think that one of these days, i'd learn my lesson and stop clicking on clan msg's that post bernie articles. we've known for a long time what kind of hack bernie is. i only blame me at this point.
                          Any chance there's an openning in Detroit for Bernie?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

                            Originally posted by BM, early in his article
                            Apparently the logic works like this: (A) Other NFL teams have erred in past in choosing quarterbacks, therefore (B) Bradford is doomed to fail if the Rams tap him April 22.
                            Okay, Bern; so you're saying this is faulty logic. Very well.
                            Originally posted by BM, later in his article
                            Wary, worried fans who want that safe defensive tackle should Google the name Steve Emtman.
                            Huh? But....didn't you just say?......I mean, I thought that logic was faulty, right?
                            The more things change, the more they stay the same.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Bernie: Rams Need To Show Some Fortitude And Draft Bradford

                              Originally posted by BM
                              If a team is incapable of doing considerable damage through the air, then the odds of success are limited. And yes, the numbers back that up.
                              Gosh, that's a great point, Bern. If only somehow we could draft someone that could disrupt our opponent's passing game. You know, someone that scouts describe as the best defensive player they've seen in over a decade.

                              Gosh, that would be swell.
                              The more things change, the more they stay the same.

                              Comment

                              Related Topics

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                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Bernie: Maybe Rams Should Draft A QB
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Bernie: Maybe Rams should draft a QB

                                1 hour ago • Bernie Miklasz [email protected]

                                GM Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher are standing by their man, Sam Bradford. The bosses have put the word out again: The Rams don’t intend to take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft.

                                Seeing that I am among the town’s leading Bradford apologists, you’d think this would make me happy.

                                You would be wrong about that.

                                I think the Rams would be shortsighted to rule out drafting a quarterback at No. 2 overall.

                                No, I haven’t flip-flopped on Bradford’s talent.

                                Yes, I realize that Bradford has burned through four NFL seasons. At some point, even a Bradford honk will lose patience. But Bradford was coming along nicely until having his knee shredded in the seventh game of this season. The injury put Bradford down for the season. It was yet another attack of bad luck in a career that can’t gain traction.

                                And that’s my primary concern here.

                                This isn’t about ability.

                                It’s about durability.

                                My pragmatic side makes it impossible for me to ignore Bradford’s obvious difficulty in staying healthy.

                                How can the Rams count on Bradford to lead them to consistent success when he has such an inconsistent record in being physically able to huddle up and play?

                                Going back to his collegiate football days at Oklahoma, Bradford has been been fully intact for only two of the last five seasons.

                                Let’s review Bradford’s career since he won the Heisman Trophy at OU in 2008:

                                In 2009, Bradford suffered a shoulder injury in OU’s first game and re-injured it later in the year. He started three games but only played one full game, meaning that he was healthy for only one of the Sooners’ 13 games.

                                In 2010, Bradford started all 16 games for the Rams and was named the NFL offensive rookie of the year. All good. Come on up for the rising.

                                In 2011, Bradford suffered a high ankle sprain in the Rams’ fifth game, at Green Bay. He missed six entire games and limped through five other starts. He really shouldn’t have played in them. Bottom line: Bradford was healthy for only five of the 16 games.

                                In 2012, Bradford started all 16 games and played well down the stretch. Back on track. Come on up for the rising ... again.

                                And 2013: Not so fast. Seven starts. The knee unravels. Nine games missed.

                                Over the past five seasons (college and pro) Bradford could have started a maximum of 77 games.

                                He started only 52 of the 77.

                                He was healthy and viable for only 45 of the 77.

                                Given that spotty track record, I’m not sure why the Rams’ authorities have such strong confidence in Bradford’s ability to endure.

                                And the starting quarterback’s...
                                -01-13-2014, 11:45 AM
                              • eldfan
                                Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford
                                by eldfan
                                Bernie Bytes: Defending Sam Bradford
                                BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist STLtoday.com Wednesday, December 14, 2011 9:39 am


                                The Bytes are back after a travel day ... it's not as if much has changed in the last 24 hours ... we begin with a follow-up to my early-deadline column written before the start of the Rams-Seahawks game in Seattle. In the piece I reaffirmed my belief in Sam Bradford as the Rams move forward.

                                Reading Time 5 Minutes:

                                * Sam Bradford didn't look good on Monday night, but that's no surprise given his bad ankle, the lack of practice time going into the game, a confused offensive approach, and the ongoing problems at receiver and the O-line. Bradford was intercepted once but probably should have had three or four passes picked off by the Seattle. And he did miss open receivers, and that's his fault.

                                * It's easy to overreact to Bradford's second-year struggles, and there's a noisy faction forming on Internet boards that would have us believe that Bradford is a bust. That's pretty crazy. Even if one has legitimate concerns over some aspects of Bradford's play, it's way too soon to dismiss him as a potential franchise QB. But we live in a short-attention span culture, so it isn't surprising to see an anti-Bradford wolfpack form. When a team loses, the head coach and the QB are the easy targets.

                                * Part of the problem for Bradford is this: in recent seasons we've seen young QBs break into the league, immediately play well, and never really endure much suffering as they transition into the NFL. That list would include Matt Ryan in Atlanta, Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, Joe Flacco in Baltimore, and Eli Manning with the NYG. And while he has serious accuracy issues, Mark Sanchez has been a winning QB for the NY Jets.

                                * I haven't included Cam Newton or any the 2011 NFL rookie quarterbacks; it's too soon to tell. After all, did we hear any of the haters ripping Bradford after his Rookie of the Year season? No, we didn't. Which tells us something about the volatile nature of learning the QB trade in the NFL. It's a job that can throw you all over the place. Even though there have been a few exceptions, it isn't easy to master this position in the NFL without going through hell first. It takes time. And even when we think a quarterback has "arrived," he can relapse. Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay) is the latest example.

                                * For some historical perspective, consider: After his first two NFL seasons, this No. 1 overall draft choice had completed 55 percent of his passes for 20 TDs and 36 interceptions and a passer rating of 62.0 His team was 7-19 in his starts. The quarterback ... Troy Aikman in Dallas. Hall of Famer. A lot of people believe that Bradford is closest to Aikman in terms of personality, build, and style of play. So Aikman is a pertinent example.

                                * This quarterback and No. 1 overall...
                                -12-14-2011, 08:20 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                The Daily Bernie Bytes: Why Bradford Isn't A Lock
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                03.30.2010 10:30 am
                                The Daily Bernie Bytes: Why Bradford Isn’t a Lock
                                By Bernie Miklasz


                                Good morning…

                                With so much Sam Bradford hysteria swirling, I thought it might be interesting to go the other way. While I believe Bradford is well on track to be the Rams’ pick (No. 1 overall) on April 22, let’s identify reasons why things could change.

                                1. A trade down. In the words of Rams’ GM Billy Devaney: “Every man has his price. If some team wants to pay a king’s ransom for the pick, we’ll listen.” The Rams have many holes. They need players. They’d benefit from having extra, premium choices in what’s been touted as a deep draft. This is another reason why the Rams were so thrilled by Bradford’s excellent showing on Pro Day; the display only enhanced his value. Is trading Bradford a realistic option? Well, probably not but …

                                2. The Washington Redskins have the 4th overall pick and seem to be keen on Bradford. They seem to want him. At least that’s the buzz out of Washington. And has been for some time. Based on his history in Denver, new Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan isn’t shy about taking a chance to get a coveted quarterback. In Denver he did business with the Rams, trading up a few spots to draft QB Jay Cutler in 2006. (The Rams ended up with CB bust Tye Hill.) And then there’s Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. He’s among the most aggressive NFL owners. He does not hesitate to be bold, or to throw money around. If any owner would push for a high-stakes trade to snatch that No. 1 overall pick from St. Louis, it’s Snyder. And if the Rams have any thoughts about dealing the pick, their unease would be comforted by having to slide down to Washington’s Np. 4 spot. The Rams wouldn’t want to move too far down in the first round. Would the Rams be happy to take, say, Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen with the No. 4 overall pick? I don’t sense a lot of excitement at Rams Park over Clausen, but he’s yet to have his official visit and sitdown with Rams’ folks in St. Louis. BTW: The Redskins are hosting Bradford on April 14.

                                3. Suppose Bradford really, really wants to play for the Redskins? And why wouldn’t he? I mean, seriously. If you’re Bradford, who would you want in charge of your development: Mike Shanahan or Rams QB coach Dick Curl? Moreover, Mike Shanahan’s offensive coordinator is his son, Kyle Shanahan, who last season coordinated the NFL’s top passing attack (in terms of total yards) in Houston. Who would you want to play for: a team that’s close to contending, or a team that’s 6-42 over the last three seasons? Who would you want to play for: a financially elite franchise with a secure future and locked-in owner or a declining franchise that’s being sold, is in transition, and does not have a long-term owner in place? Please. I wouldn’t blame the kid if he wanted to go to Washington. And then there’s this: the esteemed Dr. James Andrews, who performed...
                                -03-30-2010, 11:07 AM
                              • Nick
                                Bernie: Calling Bradford a bust is absurd
                                by Nick
                                Bernie: Calling Bradford a bust is absurd
                                15 hours ago • BY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist

                                After Sam Bradford had an abysmal game against the New York Jets, critics hurried to pull the word “bust” out of storage and began tossing it around again.

                                That’s ridiculous.

                                I was critical of the way Bradford played last Sunday, but it’s asinine to call him a bust. The term should be used responsibly. Bradford’s career is off to a disappointing start, and many of the reasons are beyond his control. But 10 games into his third season, Bradford is hardly JaMarcus Russell.

                                I took a little time this week to do a quick study of quarterbacks drafted in the first round since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. My purpose was simple: I wanted to see how Bradford compared to the other No. 1 picks through his first 36 starts.

                                The list contains 47 quarterbacks that started a minimum of 25 games in their first three NFL seasons. From a historical perspective, Bradford’s performance isn’t as shaky as I thought it might be. It’s actually better than I expected.

                                Bradford has a career passer rating of 76.5. That ranks 21st among the 47 first-round quarterbacks, and Bradford has six games remaining in this third season.

                                The list of first-round quarterbacks with appreciably higher passer ratings through their first three NFL seasons includes Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Bernie Kosar, Carson Palmer, Ken O’Brien, Jay Cutler, Jim McMahon, Daunte Culpepper and Jim Kelly. And before coming to the NFL, Kelly gained professional experience in the old USFL.

                                But Bradford’s passer rating is superior to that of some big-name quarterbacks, Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, and Hall of Fame quarterbacks at a similar stage of their careers.

                                The list of first-round quarterbacks that had lower passer ratings than Bradford through their first three NFL seasons includes Drew Bledsoe (67.9), Jim Plunkett (59.9), Doug Williams (60.8), John Elway (69.0), Eli Manning (73.2), Troy Aikman (70.5), Phil Simms (65.6), Bert Jones (69.1), Kerry Collins (65.3) and Vinny Testaverde (59.1).

                                Three of those guys already are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And six of the quarterbacks combined to win 13 Super Bowls.

                                In terms of size, style, personality and background Bradford often has been compared to Aikman. They’re both Oklahoma natives that overcame injury issues during their college careers to become the first overall pick in the draft. And both quarterbacks joined rebuilding teams as they broke into the NFL.

                                Through his first three seasons (1989-91) Aikman made 38 starts. Bradford has 36 starts.

                                Aikman completed 58.6 percent of his passing attempts; Bradford has completed 58.4 percent.

                                Aikman had 31 touchdown passes and 46 interceptions; Bradford has 36 TDs and 29 interceptions....
                                -11-24-2012, 01:15 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Bernie: Bradford In Position To Succeed
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Bernie: Bradford in position to succeed

                                11 hours ago • BY BERNIE MIKLASZ • [email protected]

                                The frequently dispensed idea of 2013 being a “make or break” year for Sam Bradford intrigues me. I suppose this is another example of the reality-TV mentality seeping into sports again.

                                We must have drama and declare everyone an instant winner or a loser, with no room for moderate, reasonable views or nuance.

                                The last time I looked Bradford was a quarterback for the St. Louis Rams, not a contestant on “The Apprentice.” Coach Jeff Fisher will assess their quarterback’s job performance; we won’t see Donald Trump telling Bradford “you’re fired!”

                                I expect good things from Bradford this season. He’ll be surrounded by the fastest and most talented offensive cast he’s had since the Rams drafted him No. 1 overall in 2010. But this is also the youngest group of skill-position players he’s worked with in the NFL, and it will be a challenge to synch all of the rookies and second-year players.

                                With more playmakers and a variety of weapons, Bradford is in position to make more big plays. He should benefit from the enhanced security provided by new left-side offensive tackle, Jake Long. And Bradford should gain traction in working with the same offensive coordinator – Brian Schottenheimer – in successive years for the first time in his NFL career.

                                It’s a big season for Bradford, but not a “make or break” year.

                                I don’t even know what the term “make or break” means. Does Bradford have to be voted to the Pro Bowl or set passing records? Is it mandatory for the Rams to make the playoffs?

                                What would qualify as a “break” year? If the Rams finish under .500, or if Bradford is less than sensational – is he out?

                                Bradford’s salary jumps to $14 million in 2014. So yeah, if he stinks up stadiums in 2013, the Rams will have to reconsider his status as a franchise quarterback.

                                I don’t see that happening. I say that because Bradford, when healthy, has done more than given credit for. He was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010, and the Rams improved from 1-15 to 7-9.

                                The 2011 season was a throwaway for the injured Bradford and virtually everyone associated with the franchise.

                                In 2012, Bradford took advantage of the stability and direction provided by Fisher’s hiring. Bradford displayed across-the-board improvement, the Rams rebounded from a 2-14 record and went 7-8-1 for their best finish since 2006.

                                Given the many horrific, lost seasons of Rams football, I don’t think Bradford should apologize for compiling a 14-17-1 record in his two healthy seasons.

                                People say he doesn’t make the team better?

                                When healthy, Bradford has already done that – twice.

                                Bradford progressed more than most realized 2012, establishing career...
                                -05-26-2013, 09:20 AM
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