Should The St. Louis Rams Expect Sam Bradford To Be Elite This Season

June 12, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) throws during minicamp at ContinuityX Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

This season will be the third season for the Rams franchise quarterback Sam Bradford. Obviously, the majority of us have heard of the "wait three years before you judge a player" axiom. That statement makes perfect sense;sometimes players have a great rookie season and then have the dreaded sophomore slump.

That's exactly what happened with Sam Bradford. Had a great rookie year, and then got crushed, literally, in his sophomore year.

He's the "franchise" quarterback and being the last of the giant contracts before the new rookie salary system. He's being paid like a franchise quarterback.

I don't think his third year should be judged as a year in which he is either elite or a bust.

So when should Bradford be judged as either a franchise player or a draft bust? More on that after the jump.

There are many reasons why Bradford's sophmore year wasn't entirely his fault. The main reason is Josh McDaniels. He brought his offensive system which a young Rams team wasn't ready to run and had only a month learn because of the lockout. There was tons of pressure on Bradford to call the right line protection. He also had his wide recievers and an offensive line in a system which didn't suit their strengths.

Sam Bradford Live- NFL Network HD (via HollyMartins)



There are many things Bradford can improve on going into his third season. Locking onto the wide receiver, for one thing, hurt him at selling play actions, and he also didn't show much of his scrambling ability. He's not Michael Vick on the field, but he's fast enough to get some yards or avoid the pass rush. These were my biggest issues with Sam. However, Jaws had his own issues with Bradford, saying he was tentative in the pocket (sounds like Marc Bulger to me),

With all that being said, let's look at some stats on three of the game's young quarterbacks. These charts are from ESPN.com.


SEASON TEAM GP CMP ATT CMP% YDS AVG TD LNG INT FUM RAT
2009 10 201 377 53.3 2,267 6.01 13 75 20 4 61.0
2010 3 57 96 59.4 535 5.57 6 36 1 1 91.3
2011 16 421 663 63.5 5,038 7.60 41 73 16 3 97.2

Matt Ryan
SEASON TEAM GP CMP ATT CMP% YDS AVG TD LNG INT FUM RAT
2008 16 265 434 61.1 3,440 7.93 16 70 11 2 87.7
2009 14 263 451 58.3 2,916 6.47 22 90 14 5 80.9
2010 16 357 571 62.5 3,705 6.49 28 46 9 3 91.0
2011 16 347 566 61.3 4,177 7.38 29 80 12 5 92.2
Career 62 1232 2,022 60.9 14,238 7.04 95 90 46 15 88.4

REGULAR SEASON PASSING STATS
SEASON TEAM GP CMP ATT CMP% YDS AVG TD LNG INT FUM RAT
2008 16 257 428 60.0 2,971 6.94 14 70 12 6 80.3
2009 16 315 499 63.1 3,613 7.24 21 72 12 6 88.9
2010 16 306 489 62.6 3,622 7.41 25 67 10 7 93.6
2011 16 312 542 57.6 3,610 6.66 20 74 12 9 80.9
Career 64 1190 1,958 60.8 13,816 7.06 80 74 46 28 86.0

Sam Bradford
SEASON TEAM GP CMP ATT CMP% YDS AVG TD LNG INT FUM RAT
2010 16 354 590 60.0 3,512 5.95 18 49 15 6 76.5
2011 10 191 357 53.5 2,164 6.06 6 68 6 6 70.5
Career 26 545 947 57.6 5,676 5.99 24 68 21 12 74.2

The stats for all three quarterbacks tell a lot. Ryan and Stafford both made jumps in their third year, but the reason for that is because their attempts went up. Hell, Stafford threw the ball 663 times to get to 5,000 yards. Stafford and Ryan benefited from stable offenses, so they became the "man" for their teams. They also benefited from throwing to elite receivers.

I can see Sam Bradford mimicking Joe Flacco stats. Like Flacco, Bradford will be asked to lean on his running game and the defense. Flacco also had Anquan Boldin to lean on, which helped him. With that being said, it shouldn't be unrealistic to expect Bradford to get 25 touchdowns like Flacco.

What's holding Bradford back is a lack of reliable weapons. Bradford has to improve, but unlike the other quarterbacks going into their third year, he hasn't had a go to guy to mask his weaknesses.

Bradford will play better than in his sophomore year, but will this be his breakout year this season? No, because he will most likely throw south of 500 attempts. I'm also positive that even though his weapons are improved, they won't be good enough to be elite.

Bradford is still learning how to be a good quarterback in the National Football League. With the improvements still needing to be made to his game and lack of weapons, it 's unrealistic to expect greatness from him this season.

This season Bradford should show how good he is. Honestly, I expect to be teased by his talent like his rookie year. In 2014, the Rams should expect Bradford to be great, maybe not elite, but it took current Super Bowl champion Eli Manning more than 5 seasons to become elite, so there's no reason to rush.



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