Throughout the lockout, St. Louis Rams fans played a bit of a guessing game about how exactly Sam Bradford was learning new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' playbook. It turned out that Charlie Weis tutored him, and not Ben McDaniels, who many expected to be the Rams' next quarterback coach. The lockout ended, the Rams got back to work and things have gone downhill from there. Of all the troubling signs emanating from Rams Park, the worst of all seems to be the regression of Sam Bradford. I'm wondering if the decision to forego hiring a quarterbacks coach isn't one the Rams are paying a price for now.
The difference between A.J. Feeley's last start, a win against the Saints, and Bradford's start last week offered a study in contrast. Feeley lacks the kind of natural talent Bradford possesses. Feeley also lacked the hesitation and confusion that Bradford had in last week's loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Bradford was sacked four times in that game, and the usual scapegoat, the offensive line, was not at fault in most of those instances.
Yesterday, Rams Gab relayed something that NFL Films guru Greg Cosell said about Bradford this week. Cosell described Bradford as tentative and lacking the confidence to make throws down the field. He also said that Bradford is missing "a clear picture" of what's happening downfield where plays are developing.
McDaniels was supposed to handle the QB coaching duties himself. He had experience and a bright young QB in Bradford. However, the shortened season and installing a new offense to the other 23 or so players on offense seems to have stretched McDaniels a little thin. Bradford has also been asked to read defenses and make his own protection calls this year, an added element.
That's a lot of change for a second-year quarterback who lacks a position coach to do the intensive one-on-one work required of a young quarterback. For example, nobody's sitting with Bradford regularly on the sidelines during a game, going over the photos of the plays.
When you read a legit evaluator like Cosell say those things about Bradford and think about what you've seen from him on the field this season, it raises a big red flag. Bradford needs a quarterback coach. I hope it's not too late for Bradford.