Fantasy football: Sam Bradford vs. Andrew Luck

Joe Robbins

Some offseason deliberation for you concerning two quarterbacks in similar situations.

Andrew Luck or Sam Bradford? Regular or sweet potato fries? Hops or no hops?

Questions like that are a like a navigational star for football fans, a sure sign that we're mired in the doldrums of May.

Bradford vs. Luck is an issue mostly for Rams fans with mayonnaise loving relatives in Indianapolis or Colts fans with cousins in St. Louis obsessed with what high school they attended. Then again, it's nice little mental exercise to keep us sharp ahead of the season. And Chris Burke at SI.com does a nice job with tackling the debate.

To be clear, the debate is focused solely on stats, asking readers to pick whether Luck or Bradford will post better numbers next year. Inevitably, the answers will piss off a few because this is the internet and why read what someone has to say when you can spout off in the comments! But Burke is talking only about the numbers.

He ultimately goes with Luck. I guess I probably would too. Why? Start with the schedule. Indianapolis has four games against the Titans and Jaguars. St. Louis has to face the 49ers and Seahawks twice. Hell, even the Cardinals have the potential to be slightly more respectable this year. In fact, the Rams have one of the five toughest schedules in the NFL right now. Meanwhile, the Colts play in the AFC ... the A-F-C.

Go beyond the numbers for a second, and the two quarterbacks do have some interesting parallels shaping up this season.

Protection

Luck was sacked 41 times last year. He was pressured countless more times. It's pretty amazing that he posted the numbers he did considering the amount of pressure he had to deal with all season. Both he and Bradford had the same QB Rating as rookies, 76.5.

This year, both the Colts and Rams spent big to fix their offensive lines. St. Louis brought in Jake Long; Indianapolis signed Gosder Cherulis. Whatever player you pick to post better numbers, those stats should be helped tremendously by fixed up offensive lines.

Running backs

A quarterback can't do it by himself. On top of the pass protection, a good running game really helps. Luck had nothing like that with Donald Brown and Vick Ballard. Those two are still the lead backs in Indy. An improved offensive line should help, as well as the transition to an offense with less emphasis on the downfield passing game.

The Rams lose Steven Jackson, who has been the focal point of this offense for years. Jackson did turn 30, so his days as a feature back are numbered. Nevertheless, his departure leaves a void. To fill that void, the Rams are counting on a group of young, inexperienced running backs. The veterans of that group are in their second season. Daryl Richardson has the most NFL experience with 98 attempts last year. It looks like a capable group, but it's fair to describe it as an unknown.

Coordinators

Sam Bradford finally, for the first time in his career, gets a consecutive season with the same offensive coordinator. His playbook will be a little different just because of additions like Tavon Austin and Jared Cook open whole new chapters. But the continuity is being counted on a huge factor in Bradford's development.

Luck gets to experience something Bradford knows all too well: new coordinator means learning a new offense. Fortunately, the transition shouldn't be too bad. After all, Pep Hamilton was Luck's offensive coordinator for his senior season at Stanford.

Alright, since this post began with the question of Luck vs. Bradford, statistics edition, we owe it to Chris to head over there and vote. Let's also hear your thoughts and predictions in the comments here.

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