As most know from Ryan's post, for the first time in his NFL career, Sam Bradford will have the same Offensive Coordinator. From this, Ryan is completely right, we should now expect more and expectations should rise dramatically. Sam has no excuse this upcoming season and I personally think he can meet the expectations that are about to be hammered this upcoming season. The Rams fan base should be giddy with anticipation about the 2013 season for many reasons, but look no further than this past season for evidence that he will get better.
In 2012, No. 8 upped his completion percentage by a full six points, posted his career best touchdown percentage and dramatically bettered his touchdown to interception ratio. Bradford also improved in a plethora of additional statistical criteria including passing under pressure, on deep throws and in fourth quarter action.
This alone should have most on their feet in applause. Some of the key reasons why some entertained picking Robert Griffin, Sam improved on like passing under pressure. How many times did we have to hear how Sam cracked under pressure of defenders in the 2011 season to the point of annoyance because it was true. Sam goes to his deep ball which part of that goes to the addition of Givens who singularly made opposing defenses respect his speed and the deep ball. With another year, I hope he works on other routes so he can be more than a one trick pony.
In fact, the Rams signal caller led four fourth quarter comebacks, tying for second in the league. To put that into perspective, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has never bettered that number and Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has yet to construct more than two such comebacks in a campaign.
This I had no clue about and it brought a huge, joker type smile to my face. This mainly being because some had continued to argue that Sam could bring a team back from a deficit, which was relevant considering he hadn't done it til this past season. There should no more be any reason to believe that he can't do it again, lets just hope he and this offense gets better in the first three quarters so he doesn't have to do it as much. Although, he has made much improvement from even his first season, there is still much to improve on.
While Bradford has progressed substantially in those regards, there is still room for improvement in both areas and in other elements of his game. For example, he has yet to post a 60 percent completion percentage season. Doing so would seem to be a realistic threshold to cross in 2013.
Some still have questions about Bradford and his ability to not just improve as his talent level increases, but to seemingly raise the play of those around him. For example, some wonder why the likes of Donnie Avery, Laurent Robinson and Danario Alexander posted their most productive campaigns after leaving the Gateway City.
Some cite the offensive line as a problem area, but should pass protection still be considered a significant issue? When one considers that — per Football Outsiders — Paul Boudreau’s unit ranked a solid 13 of 32 in sacks allowed and did not give up a sack in either of the season’s final two games, one would have to wonder if that line of argument still holds water.
I wouldn't necessarily get my hopes down after reading that because for the simple fact, you don't expect a Quarterback nor any player no matter how great they are to be perfect. When you have a Quarterback that's gone through more OC's then Charlie Sheen does women, you defiantly don't expect it, but it is reality. To add to this, I would like to see Sam stop choosing who he wants to pass it to before he snaps the ball then no matter what pass it to them anyways. Sure he's gotten better at not locking on to receivers but if I was a better man I would bet at least half of his interceptions this season have been to do him locking onto a receiver and not going through his progressions. For the first time, I take issue with him saying Elite Quarterbacks make their surroundings better. We alll consider Brees and Rodgers elite, who exactly do they make better? Both of these players have some of the best surrounding casts in the NFL. You could throw Brady into that discussion but he has already proven that he can make his surroundings better. So, with the exception of Brady which other "elite" Quarterback makes their surroundings better? Or is it more, some how some way most have to be surrounded with the right weapons and crew to succeed. I would consider this to be true. If you ask me though, considering what Sam was working with, you could say he made the most of what he had, no?
This might be the biggest thing I do agree with in his article.
Bradford must continue to improve in regard to completion percentage, red zone efficiency, progressing through reads and pocket awareness
If you could all of the times that we had to walk away with a field goal in the red zone instead of a TD, it could piss the most calm person off. Efficiency doesn't all fall on his shoulders, but at times I would like to see him give his receiver the chance to go up for the ball instead of throwing the ball away.
This upcoming season we get to see Sam either fly into the upper echelon of Quarterbacks or crash and burn with the other busts of the past decade. I don't think even the biggest apologist can except a middle ground this season because even if we do get some good prospect in the draft like a Wide Receiver or Tight End, it will still be up to Sam to form a bond with said players. It's Sam's team now and this team goes where ever he takes them. If he plays good, we should make the playoffs. If he doesn't, Fisher and crew might be looking for a new face of the franchise come this time next year. Do I think he can become elite, yes. He's shown the ability and skill set to do so, now he has to put it together.
Do you think Sam can be elite in 2013, why or why not?
Thanks for reading and hope you liked the read.