I absolutely Sam Bradford and I think he is going to help the Rams win a lot of games. However, Sam the Ram is not the reason that we have three games this year. I would love to give him credit for it, but it just is not true. Everyone touting Bradford as the difference maker is either incompetent or lazy.
The defense has turned this team around, not Ram Bradford's offense.
First, Sam is not playing any better than Bulger did last year.
Bulger: 56.7% completion,70.7 rating, 5.95 yards/attempt
Bradford: 56.8% completion, 69.3 rating, 5.79 yards/attempt
There really is not a difference here. Again, I think Sam was the right pick and he'll prove himself to be an MVP-caliber player sometime in the future, but he has not played like it this year and he has not created the turnaround.
The defense has played so much better this year they have in the past three seasons.The Ram offense is currently ranked 28th in DVOA and the defense is ranked 19th.
2009 Rankings: Offense 32nd, Defense 31st
2008 Rankings: Offense 32nd, Defense 30th
2007 Rankings: Offense 31st, Defense 25th
So, both units have improved, but the defense has been driving the superior production. Who are the drivers for this defensive improvement? I think they are Ron Bartell, OJ Atogwe, Chris Long and James Laurinaitis.
Bradford has received a lot of the publicity, and he deserves for playing as well he has as a rookie, but the defense has really carried this team. I really think that Bulger might have been able to navigate this team to 3-3 with our defense playing this well.
Bartell has a size and speed combo that make him an extremely effective CB. Ronnie B is one the best CBs in the league. Look back at all the top WRs the Rams have faced- Ron stops them. Remember how impossible it was for the Cardinals to get the ball to LARRY FITZGERALD? What about CALVIN JOHNSON? Ok, Johnson caught a TD, but that was under Fletcher's coverage and he essentially was held silent the rest of the game. Seriously, Bartell is one of the BEST in the game today.
While Long hasn’t registered the sacks this year (until last week), he has generated a lot of pressure, especially the first three weeks. I honestly thought at the beginning of the season that one of those two guys would win Defensive P.O.Y. and I still think they both have a shot. They are two tremendous players.
Atogwe's misses have been well-documented, but the guy is a playmaker. He can change a game.
The other guy I would add into the list is Laurinaitis. He is the MLB to put on a Rams jersey since London Fletcher. This year he has shown great run stopping ability and pass coverage. He is a complete football player. Besides making plays, he plays smart. I love having him on the Rams. I feel like he has Atogwe's playmaking capability while being less prone to error. So happy that we took him over that moron from USC.
For the 2010 St. Louis Rams, it may be Bradford that gains headlines, but defense will win a championship