When the St. Louis Rams drafted Sam Bradford with the number one overall pick back in the 2010 NFL Draft, they had the hopes that he would transform into an elite quarterback at the NFL level. Coming out of the University of Oklahoma, the former Heisman Trophy winner had all the tools to turn into a successful quarterback once he made it to the league. Standing at six feet four inches tall he certainly had the body that translates to a NFL quarterback. He also possessed great accuracy and had above average arm strength. At the time, the St. Louis Rams believed that they were drafting what would be the next great quarterback in the National Football League. Now let’s take a look ahead in regards to Sam Bradford.
Fast forward four years to the present day. The Rams are still finding themselves towards the bottom of the NFL. With yet another last place finish in the NFC West last season, many people were calling for changes in St. Louis. This year, the Rams hold the second pick in the draft and with the team under-performing, many believe that they should draft a quarterback and move on from Bradford.
It is almost laughable to think that the St. Louis Rams should draft a quarterback with the second pick. The only thing that would make sense is for the Rams front office to redo Sam’s contract. Despite what many people believe, the Rams have said that they are willing and open to working out a contract extension to keep the signal caller in a St. Louis uniform. “We have been and still are open to extending Sam,” General Manager Les Snead said. Snead isn’t the only person in the Rams organization that is completely on board with Sam Bradford as their starting quarterback. Head coach Jeff Fisher had this to say when asked about a possible change at the quarterback position, “I don’t know where all this came from, but Sam’s our quarterback. He’s going to be under center.”
So what is the big misconception about Sam Bradford? Sure, the St. Louis Rams have never contended during the past four seasons, but is that really all on Sam Bradford? I guess you could make a case, but barely. Throughout Bradford’s time in St. Louis he hasn’t exactly been blessed with great surrounding talent. In 2011, Brandon Lloyd led the Rams in receiving with fifty-one catches. Bill Devaney, who was the General Manager of the Rams from 2008-2011 and the guy who draft Bradford was on the SVP and Russilo show earlier today and had this to say, “We were trying forever to find a big time receiver or two for Sam. That was on us, not Bradford.”
In his rookie season Sam showed everyone the talent that he possesses. Not only did he win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, but he also broke multiple NFL records as well. His three-hundred and fifty-four completions were the most ever by a rookie quarterback and his one-hundred and sixty-nine straight completions without an interception also set a NFL rookie record.
The real grey area in Bradford’s career came in his second season in the league. In the eyes of many, Bradford had really regressed during this time. Not only did Bradford have trouble delivering the football to his receivers, but he also had a problem staying healthy. Sam missed six games due to the lingering effects of a high ankle sprain that he had suffered from. Bradford only threw six touchdowns that year, while posting an abysmal 70.5 passer rating.
Despite the fact that Bradford had a horrible sophomore season in the NFL, he was able to shrug off his inconsistencies and put together a remarkable third season. This was Bradford’s first real season in which the receivers on the team helped him out. For the first time in Bradford’s tenure with the Rams, he had four receivers who caught more than forty balls. Danny Amendola led the charge with sixty-three catches. Bradford wasn’t the only one who continued to improve in St. Louis. In fact, the entire team was able to improve from the year before as they won five more games than they did in 2011. Bradford threw for a career best twenty-one touchdowns and posted a quarterback rating of 82.6, which was also a career best.
It appeared as if Bradford and the Rams were able to carry their momentum into last season. Despite an early losing streak, the St. Louis Rams were able to start the season of 3-3 and for Sam Bradford, well, he was off to the best start of his career. In the first two games of the season, Bradford threw for five touchdowns and two interceptions. He also showed off some athletic ability, rushing for twenty-five yards off of three carries. Unfortunately, in a week seven game against the Carolina Panthers, Sam Bradford suffered a torn ACL as he was running towards the sidelines.
Even though Bradford’s season abruptly came to an end, there were still a lot of positives to take away from when he did play. Through the first seven weeks Bradford was off to the best start of his career. He had thrown for fourteen touchdowns and just four interceptions. Bradford also had three games in which he threw for at least three touchdowns. He also posted at least a 100 passer rating on three separate occasions and had only one game in which he failed to post at least an 80 rating.
I just simply don’t understand why people are calling for the St. Louis Rams to move on from Sam Bradford. Other than his second season in St. Louis, Bradford has done everything that they have asked and then some. He hasn’t been consistently surrounded by great talent and that has had a severe impact on his play. The good news for Sam is the team seems to continue to get better. Head coach Jeff Fisher has done a tremendous job building a top defense in the league. The Rams finished 7-9 last season with Kellen Clemens as their start for a better part of the season. If the Rams had Bradford throughout the entire season there is no telling what type of success they could have had. While they still need at least one or two more offensive weapons, the sudden emergence of Tavon Austin has been huge. If the Rams can go out and either sign or draft another weapon for Bradford this season then they will be in a very good position next season.
If I’m the Rams, I am making sure that Bradford is immediately given an extension sooner rather than later. He has played very well in his time with St. Louis and I believe he is the right man for the job. He is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league and has all the tools to continue to be successful heading forward. All the Rams have to do now is continue to provide Bradford with more weapons.
Thanks for Reading!