EARTH CITY, MO - JANUARY 17: St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis and quarterback Sam Bradford look on during a press conference to introduce new head coach Jeff Fisher at the Russell Training Center on January 17, 2012 in Earth City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher was on the Mike and Mike show Friday morning talking quarterbacks. Asked about Sam Bradford, Fisher held nothing back in the hyperbole department.
There's a number of friends of mine in the league that know the league, and I had one of them tell me during the process that they thought Sam may be one of the better quarterbacks - or the best quarterback - in the league, he just hasn't had a chance to prove it yet. That weighed very heavily in my opinion. Very, very impressive player. I think he has a tremendous upside.
Fisher's opinion of Bradford has never been a state secret. Even before he took the job, rumors swirled that he leaned toward St. Louis because of the quarterback situation. He reiterated that point at his own introductory press conference.
Of course, to dip my toes in the waters of homerism, Fisher is right. However, Bradford and the Rams have a process to go through before getting him to that level. Bradford is in his third offense in three years, coming off a season mostly wiped out by injuries. That is not a recipe for throwing him into the fire this season.
Which is not to say that Bradford should be coddled, but the Rams cannot roll out a full-fledged version of Brian Schottenheimer's Air Coryell offensive roots this year, not with the current group of receivers and whatever receiver they add in the draft this year.
Somehow in the debate over the Rams decision with the sixth pick, Schottenheimer has been painted with the "ground and pound" label. That's not quite accurate. Scottenheimer used a run-heavy offense to bring along Mark Sanchez in New York. He tried taking the training wheels off last season, only to find he lacked the quarterback, not to mention any semblance of a healthy team chemistry.
Expect him to chart a similar course with Bradford, which is part of the reason the Trent Richardson talk is real. Next year, the Rams will hand off more responsibility to Bradford, and he can take a great leap forward to becoming "the best quarterback in the league."