Rams vs. Broncos, what to watch: How Sam Bradford handles pressure

USA TODAY Sports

How well will you play tonight Sam?

The St. Louis Rams are in Denver to play the Broncos in the all important "Dress Rehearsal" preseason game on Saturday. This is usually the week where teams do some type of game planning for their opponent, and the starters usually play until the end of the first half, sometimes longer.

The Rams will be missing their backup right tackle Joe Barksdale today due to an infected cut on his hand. Rodger Saffold could end up playing, but his status is up in the air.

Last season Bradford dealt with an injured line, and although he played well at times, he also struggled against pressure.  When I mention facing pressure, it doesn't mean just getting sacked, just that he has to move in a muddied pocket and make throws with players in his face, that sort of thing.

Of course, the Rams don't want Bradford to take any unnecessary hits this early, but he hasn't faced much pressure this preseason. That's a good thing. The offensive line has been playing well, but  what are the chances that he'll have all five regular starting linemen for all 16 games of the regular season? A little pressure this week with, potentially, a third-string right tackle could be a decent test for the quarterback. Even the NFL's pretty boy QB Tom Brady faced pressure this week against the Detroit Lions, a lot of pressure.

If the pressure get's too bad, they can take Bradford out. But this element of Bradford playing against a team with good pass rush is important right now. This will be the most important thing to watch tonight.

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