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Sam Bradford is having a better season than his numbers indicate, but it could be better.
Nobody that wears a St. Louis Rams jersey, at least nobody that gets paid to wear one, is under as much scrutiny as quarterback Sam Bradford. Every other week talk radio DJs question the decision to trade the second pick in the draft and stick with the third-year quarterback. Of course, a Rams offense stuck in neutral doesn't help things for Bradford.
The good people over at Pro Football Focus have a few signature stats designed to help us sort through the kind of noise that surrounds the evaluation of NFL players. On Friday, PFF took a look at the league's quarterbacks using accuracy percentage.
Traditional completion percentage is calculated by taking completions and dividing it by attempts. The problem with this simple formula is that not all incompletions are representative of a quarterback's accuracy. Drops, throwaways, batted passes, spikes, and plays where the quarterback is hit while throwing are all incompletions that have no bearing on accuracy. So what we here at PFF did was treat those drops like completions and then take away all those other plays from attempts to give a quarterback's true Accuracy Percentage. The final equation looks like this:
PFF Acc. % = (Completions + Drops) / (Attempts - Throw Aways - Spikes - Batted Passes - Hit As Thrown)
Bradford, as you can see, did not make the cut among their top ten quarterbacks for accuracy percentage. Still, when you look at his accuracy percentage, it makes a decent case for Bradford's work so far.
69.4 percent is Bradford's accuracy percentage.
Drops aren't plaguing Bradford like they are others. His receivers have only dropped nine passes, according to PFF. Only one quarterback in the top ten has had to deal with fewer drops.
Pressure continues to be a problem, but it's hurting his completion percentage more than anything else. Only two quarterbacks have been sacked more than Bradford, who has been sacked 15 times. Bradford has thrown just one interception when pressured, but is completing just 43.8 percent of his passes on 48 attempts. He's been hit five times while throwing the ball, tied for the most in the league with rookies Andrew Luck and Brandon Weenden.
Bradford's official completion percentage is a pedestrian 57.5 percent. With less pressure, fewer big time drops his overall numbers wouldn't be very positive.
The need for offensive line help is obvious. The need for another receiver is too, but comes with a caveat. Bradford overwhelmingly favors throws to Amendola, either by design or subconscious or both. He's thrown the ball to DA 47 times. The receiver with the second most targets is Brandon Gibson with 20. There have been times this season where Bradford is not keyed onto a hot read or locks onto his man at the expense of others.
Yes, the Rams need offensive talent. They also need their current players to get better.