Over time, our expectations for Sam Bradford has taken a steep decline. Two years ago, he was often compared to Tom Brady. Could Sam Bradford still be as good as Tom Brady? How would the rams look if he did?
We have all listened to the excuses made for Sam Bradford over the past two years, and we agreed with most of them. He always had an injured and weak offensive line. He did change offensive coordinators every season over the past three seasons. His receiving corp has always been inexperienced and injured as well. He did deal with injuries his second season. He has handed the ball off to 10 different RBs. He has had over 30 different offensive lineman block for him. He has thrown to 31 different WRs. Only 3 of those WRs(Mark Clayton, Brandon Lloyd, and Steve Smith) had more than 4 years of NFL experience (most catches with 31, Lloyd). On the average, Bradford threw to Sophmores(2nd year players). These are all great excuses for him to under perform or even delay his development. No one in their right mind would say otherwise. Has he under performed though?
Third year stats
When we compare Sam Bradford's performance last year to Tom Brady's third year statistics, we realize that they aren't very different. We can debate that Tom Brady performed a tiny bit better, but not enough to make a distinction. There are several categories where Sam Bradford excelled. Tom Brady also sat his first year behind a 28 year old Drew Bledsoe under Bill Belichick's first season. Looking at everything above, I can't say that Sam Bradford's development is behind Tom Brady's. The only thing Tom Brady has done better is win more games. Tom's record over his first 3 seasons is 20-12 where as Sam Bradford's is 15-26-1. Were all these games lost by Sam?
During the first two seasons Tom Brady started for the Patriots(2001-2002), their defenses allowed 19.31 points per contest. During last three season Sam Bradford started for the Rams(2010-2012), our defenses allowed 24.64 points per contest. That's an average of 5.33 more points per game. If Sam had 5.33 points lead over his career, he would have won 8 more games.
Would've, could've, should've right? I agree with you, these are all just excuses and statistics. They don't make up for results. We want Sam to win games, and throw touchdowns. What if Sam performs like Brady this year?
A healthy line with Jake Long anchoring it, can definitely give Sam over 4 seconds to throw the ball. An extra second, second and a half can make Sam Bradford deadly. He is an intelligent QB who excels in accuracy. If he gets more time to let plays develop, he can make better choices, and accurate throws. Especially if he has a 6'5" target who can run in the high 4.4s. Cook brings a lot of versatility to the team. He can line up as both a WR and a TE. Which allows the rams to for go either the 5th WR or the 4th TE on the roster. We could even take a chance on a raw talent in the position with a lot of upside. He also creates a lot of mismatches all over the field. He can catch over CBs, he can power through the safeties, and run by the LBs. An extra second also means 10 more yards for Givens who has the capability to just fly by people. This could allow an extra yard of separation. If the safeties step back, Ipead becomes a time bomb for other defenses. A strong OLine also provides great structure for screen plays. Having someone like Ipead running screens behind a strong OLine, with the safeties defending the long ball only adds to Bradford's strengths.
Fisher has stated several times this off-season, that Bradford will have more hands-on control over the offense. A hurry up offense with Ipead(HB/WR), Givens, Kendricks(TE/FB) and Cook(TE/WR) could make it impossible to defend. Especially if Quick can learn to block like a TE, you can run anything from a two TE I-Form formation to a 4 WR, 1TE Shutgun formation within the same hurry up. With 4 seconds to throw, Bradford can move the ball with ease.
Sam Bradford has never been truly given a chance to succeed. With coaching changes, there has been a lot of personnel changes as well. Everyone around Bradford has been like a carrousel except for Steven Jackson. Although his presence will be missed, Rams are moving into a new era of football. Sam Bradford will play his best football this season. Everything was built for him to take the reins and succeed. Personally, I believe that Sam will prove to everyone that he is an elite QB this year, and he will put up Brady like numbers.
4000 yards 63% comp 7.5 y/a 35TDs 10 INTs --- 10-6 record
I also believe our defense will allow 18 points per game this year.