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Sam Bradford and James Laurinaitis: Better than we think?




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Sam Bradford and James Laurinaitis are two players who many people consider under performing. Are we wrong?

The common problem associated with Sam Bradford is that he needs to have superior talent around him. I was watching a Tyler Wilson video, and the commentator said one of the knocks on Wilson was the Sam Bradford theory, which is he needs good players around him, and that he can't improve the play of players around him.

Well, for those who think Sam Bradford can't improve the play of his receivers, let me name a receiver that he worked with. Danny Amendola was an undrafted player, who didn't do much in the league before coming to the Rams. Now, 3 years later, he has signed a fairly large contract with the Patriots (even though he has an injury history), replacing their former star receiver, Wes Welker. I would have to say Sam Bradford had something to do with that. I think one could say Sam helped improve the play of Amendola.

And lets look at the stats.

Tom Brady, who most think is the best QB still playing. His average stats per game as follow, rounded to the nearest figure, be it up or down.

Completions: 21 Attendance:33 Completions percentage: 63.6 Yards: 253 TDs: 2 INTs: 0.7 (I didn't round this, to show the difference)

Sam Bradford

Completions: 21 Attendance: 36 Completion percentage: 58 Yards: 223 TDs: 1 INTs: 0.8

Now as we all expected, Tom Brady beats Sam in everything.

But they are not far apart (except TDs, which is double), and when you factor in how Brady had a 10 times better offensive lineman, and a 100 times better coach (compared to Spags) it gets closer. Dd Brady have all-pro receivers? Besides Welker, and Moss and Branch, to an extent, no. But did Sam? Not really. Unless Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola count (remember completion percentage does not factor in drops) So I think people need to cool of on Sam, and wait a bit. He isn't doing that bad. And like I said, he has already made 1 receiver, and also helped Gibson get a good contract too.

Next is James Laurinaitis, who is even more disliked it seems. Well maybe not disliked, but people feel he is not performing as well as he can, and I have seen one or two suggest looking at MLB in the draft. So here it goes.

This is from Ramblin fan, at this link.

James Laurinaitis was 3rd in the league last season in tackles, with 136 on the year. He was also the only inside linebacker in the Top 20 who did not allow a receiving touchdown in coverage, allowing only a 72.4 passer rating (3rd in the NFL) when quarterbacks threw the rock his way. He was also Top 10 in hits on the quarterback (2nd), stops (T-8th), interceptions (T-5th), and pass deflections (T-9th).

Not bad, eh? People who say Laurinaitis can't cover need to rethink. And a lot of them say those tackle stats don't matter. They do. He got the tackle, and stopped the play. And those who said that he doesn't get into the back field, the hits on QB and stops stats seem to disagree with you.

Again, lets compare him to the best inside linebacker, Patrick Willis.

Willis - Tackles: 6.75 Assisted Tackles: 2 Career numbers (over 92 games)- Sacks- 17.5. Forced Fumbles-14 Recoveries-5 Interceptions- 7 Stuffs- 36

James Laurinaitis - Tackles: 6.67 Assisted Tackles - 1.4 Career numbers (over 64 games) Sacks- 8.5
Forced Fumbles- 1 Fumble Recoveries- 4 Interceptions- 7. Stuffs- 24

Now, looking at the per game stats, they are very close, and Willis happens to have Navarro Bowman next to him. Looking in to the more technical stats, at first it seems Willis has Laurinaitis beat. But, take into fact Willis has played two more seasons then Laurinaitis, suddenly the difference doesn't seem as big, except for forced fumbles.

When I wrote this, I didn't really have any argument planned. I just went ahead and wrote this. I didn't look at Brady's or Willis's stats ahead of time, I just thought, " who is the best QB and MLB?" And then compared them. If I had an argument planned, perhaps I would have looked at other examples. I hope perhaps you can see, Sam and James Laurinaitis aren't that far off. And that was before the draft. I don't expect to see many more calls for their heads after next years season, especially while they hold up the Lombardi trophy. ( I can dream.......)

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