There have been so many articles that question why the Rams and especially Jeff Fisher put their unwavering faith in Sam Bradford. I did some research and have drawn some conclusions as to why Jeff Fisher feels that way. You can tell me if you agree after you read this.
Let’s start out with the Oklahoma Sooners era 2008. If you have the time you should go to You Tube and watch some film from those games. When OU’s offense was rolling it was a thing of beauty!
An example: One play the Sooners show a 4 wide receiver set. The next play they have a full back and TE formation. They run the ball out of the spread with the running back dropping from the slot to the backfield, or Bradford tosses the ball back to a traditional "I" back alignment.
This is done with high-speed no huddle offense which eliminates substitution by the defense.
So now it’s time to understand a bit of history as how the OU offense that annihilated foes arrived.
Bob Stoops took over OU’s head coaching position in 1999. Stoops had been the defensive coordinator under Steve Spurrier at Florida. He realized that the only team that had any success against his Gator defense was Kentucky. So he hired Kentucky’s offensive coordinator….some guy named Mike Leach and the sooners made a bowl game. The offense Leach had been working on might have become a sooner trademark except Leach got a head coaching job at Texas A&M for the next year.
Stoops had to do something so he elevated his offensive line coach, named Mark Mangino to Offensive Coordinator and the Sooners ran Leach’s "Air Raid" offense, and QB Josh Heupel to a BCS title.
Josh Heupel later becomes Sam Bradford’s QB coach and offensive coordinator.
Stoops was not content without some form of running game so he and Mangino began to tinker with the offense, using the basic Air Raid construct. When Mangino left for Kansas Stoops again needed a new OC and a running game.
Kevin Wilson was hired in 2002 from Northwestern to bring his power-spread ideas to OU. The combination resulted in the highest-scoring offense of all time. Sam Bradford’s abilities were a huge factor in making it possible.
OU was considered at the time to be the best example of a "pro-style" offense. It was balanced, fast tempo, ho-huddle, with multiple weapons that could strike from any position. Led by the intelligent and gifted Sam Bradford.
Leach’s Air Raid Offense:
The Scheme is notable for being very pass centric with as many as 65-75% of the calls during a season being a pass play. A large reason is due to the control that is placed on the QB who has the freedom to audible to any play based on what the defense is showing him at the line of scrimmage. In at least one instance, as a result of the QB's ability to audible, as many as 90% of the run plays called in a season were audibled to at the line of scrimmage.
Another factor in this offense is the inclusion of the no huddle. The QB and the offense race up to the line of scrimmage, diagnose what the defense is showing, and then snap the ball based on the QB's play call. This not only allows a team to come back if they are down a lot as seen in the 2006 Insight Bowl but it also allows them to tire out the defense and allow for bigger runs and bigger pass completions.
So now we know a little more about Sam Bradford and where the offense he ran came from. So can we take that information and relate it to what has been transpiring at the Ram’s under Jeff Fisher?
I say that’s a big "YES" and here’s what I’m seeing.
If you read my GSOT-II articles you know that Fisher was brought up under the variations of "Air Coryell." For whatever reason, that only Jeff Fisher can answer, he tried to utilize a run heavy scheme during his years at Tennessee. That cost him a super bowl win. He lost to a West Coast Offense (Rams) based on that same system he himself had learned.
I say that during the year that Jeff Fisher took off from coaching, he went fishing and thought about everything he knew, and had experienced in his football life. The results were a new plan for the Ram’s or whatever team he would coach next.
Fisher’s plan is to build a hybrid spread offense, which will take the right quarterback at the controls in order to make it operate.
Out of the possible coaching jobs he could have taken, what team had a young quarterback with not only the skill set, but the actual experience of running the type of offensive juggernaut that Fisher envisions?
And to me that explains the undying faith the Rams organization have in him. Even if some of the folks here don’t.
I expect by 2014 this offense will be so different, we will be seeing the ghost of the past (The good ones, not the bad).
Thanks for reading!