Going into his third season, we still don't know the real Sam Bradford. Is Sam Bradford 2012 the "gun-slinging-hero-to-be" we saw play his rookie year, or is he the quarterback who played like Marc Bulger last season? Maybe he's just a suave young man who captures the hearts of models and other women eager to give their hearts to him?
Hopefully the St. Louis Rams will get their answer to these questions and more, this season. The new regime decided to help Bradford out this season by hopefully upgrading their offense.
In free agency, they added former Packers center Scott Wells and former Giant and Eagle slot WR Steve Smith. In the draft. the Rams added two wide receivers Brian Quick,and Chris Givens, and speed back Isaiah Pead.
The Rams new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer didn't really set the world on fire with Mark Sanchez as his quarterback, but he should have a better chance at having a good offense with Bradford.
More on the Rams franchise quarterback after the jump.
In hindsight, it's easy to say the Rams put too much on Sam Bradford's plate last season. How do you expect a second year player to excel calling the pass protections in a new offense. The old regime should have simplified the offense, similar to what Cam Newton and Andy Dalton had their rookie seasons.
The offensive system just didn't work and it's most likely because of the Rams personnel. The Rams lacked players who could prevent opposing defenses from putting eight men in the box. Their outside wide receivers couldn't get separation, until the Rams acquired Brandon Lloyd. The Rams slot receivers - Danny Amendola and Greg Salas - were lost for the season.
This year, the Rams offense should be better. The Rams will have two new starters on an offensive line that allowed Sam Bradford to get sacked 36 times in 10 games; two more than in his rookie season where he played all 16 games. Then you have the the players I mentioned earlier, and the returning cast of Brandon Gibson, Austin Pettis, and Danario Alexander.
The Rams offense will be closer to what the Rams ran in Bradford's rookie season, which means quick passes and more running the ball. They should be able to work the middle of the field with tight end Lance Kendricks and the other slot receivers, which should leave the outside wide receivers in more one-on-one matchups.
The thing is, the beginning of a new running back tandem could derail the makings of a great statistical season for Sam Bradford. It's Fisher style to run the ball, and with Steven Jackson and Isaiah Pead leading the charge into the next season(more on them in a later article) it would seem that Sam could be in more of a game manger position than in his last two years.
Why would Sam taking a backseat be such a bad thing? He's going into his third offense since he's been in the NFL. So if Steven Jackson and Isaiah Pead can take up some of the slack for Bradford this season - that's a good thing, right?. The Rams new center Scott Wells should be calling the protections, taking more responsibility off Bradford shoulders so he can concentrate on other aspects of the offense.
The Rams tried to fit Sam into a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodger's role last season and it didn't work. You can blame injuries, lack play makers, or the system for last season's debacle. Whatever excuse there was to use, all that matters is the end result and that was a bloody, beaten, and banged up quarterback.
Am I saying that Sam will just be another game manger like Alex Smith? Well, maybe I am. The 49ers got to 13-3 using Alex Smith as a game manager. If it wins games - and lets Bradford improve in the process - then that's a good thing. .
Sam has the potential to be a pretty good quarterback, and he will be the key to the Rams winning in 2012. The NFL is a quarterback's game. However, at this point of his career, I would have to say "simpler" is better for Sam Bradford.