Where is the end of the road?
As Rams fans, both old and new, we've all been riding along with our favorite NFL team on this long winding road for far too long for comfort. The great journey! Full of jaw-dropping canyons of heartbreak. Through the mesmerizing valleys of disappointment. Then ultimately reaching the giant ravines of futility, as you suddenly realize the team was lost miles ago. Blinded by flashes of beauty at times, but missing all signs which warned you they were heading in the opposite direction of the destination.
For those who have ever taken a road trip, I'm sure at times you've taken a moment or two to take in some of the amazing natural scenery. It can be easy at times to become distracted by it's beauty, losing sight of where you're headed on the road before regaining focus and concentrating on your next destination. That's what our St. Louis Rams have been doing since the end of 2004.
Unfortunately, they still haven't found their way back to where they once were.
So what is there that they can do? Finding a new direction and heading that way may be a good start, and fortunately the Rams seem to have done that. They found a new driver in Stan Kroenke who won't accept being lost any longer. Two passengers in Jeff Fisher and Les Snead who have a vision to help Kroenke guide everyone in the right direction. Plus a handful of new friends (recent draft picks and positional coaches), who have hopped on board to get everyone in the right direction, and have yet to be discouraged from years of heading in the wrong way.
Seems like they'll finally make their way back to the main road right? Why then are they still struggling to make their way out?
Look who's riding Schottgun...
Not sure that's the right way Schotty.
The hiring of Brian Schottenheimer may have single-handedly, ended the Sam Bradford era in St. Louis. Heading into 2012 after a disappointing sophomore season, Bradford had reason to hope that he finally got some help to aid him and his 52 other friends to their destination. The Superbowl.
Unfortunately, Schotty just may be the icing on the cake of those dreamings being deterred and even worse, it won't be as easy as getting rid of him. Bradford has been trying to lead and keep this ride moving for 4 years now, and it seems as though those long hard times have turned him into damaged goods. Sam can no longer attempt a pass on the field, without feeling as though the world is collapsing around him. Causing errant passes, hesitancy and a lack of confidence to go out there and complete passes more than 20 yards down the field. Especially when in reality there is nothing around him. In fact, even when a clear sign flashes right in front of him that says "This way Bradford! Trust me! Give me a chance and I will help you overcome these obstacles!" Sam instead hesitates, misses the turn and settles for making the next turn later...if there is one. This was evident twice this past Thursday against the Niners, when he missed a wide open Pettis for an easy TD. Then again later when he under-threw Brian Quick for almost another sure TD.
So why not fire Schottenheimer?
Get rid of this guy!
Sadly, it may not be that simple. Let's say the Rams do fire Schotty at the end of the season (or now), then what? Bradford would have his 4th offensive coordinator in 5 years, then after he goes through the growing pains of learning a new offense again, what do they do after that in his final year? What if the Rams get another bad offensive coordinator and Bradford struggles to win even more after his contract ends at the end of 2015? Should they roll the dice on another coordinator for his 5th in 7 years and give him an extension? Where does the line get drawn, and when would be the time to accept this isn't the future and cut bait with Bradford?
With another potentially great QB class upcoming, the time to cut ties with Bradford is now. Along with Schottenheimer. That way the team can start over fresh with a more capable offensive coordinator, and the team can pick up a young new starter from the college ranks to get this team back on track.
Sam is in an inescapable mirage, and is no longer fit to be one of the leaders to help steer everyone in the right direction. Instead, keeping him here would only hinder progress...leaving the team stranded even longer on the long winding road.