FanPost

The Johnny Football Gamble

To Johnny or Not To Johnny?

Being afraid to give up on trading for more picks ignores the fact that QB is the most important position on the field. We saw that with Luck and the Colts or Manning and the Broncos (or Brady + Pats, for that matter) - a good QB can elevate an otherwise mediocre or crappy team, and a star QB can make a bubble team look much better than its talent level.

Talent-wise Rams are a bubble team that already has playmakers in place. With better production or players in only one or two non-QB positions (like TE and CB), the Rams would likely have been in the playoffs this year.

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I like Sam Bradford as a QB, but sticking with him is going to take *a long time* to build up the team around him, just like it took the Ravens forever to accumulate enough playmakers for Joe Flacco to win a Super Bowl. It's probably the right strategy, but it's also got its problems.

The problems are twofold. On the one side, within a few seasons, the Rams will start losing production from their established veteran playmakers (I'm thinking Long and JL55, specifically). On the other, we can't count on the "stockpile picks" strategy for every draft. The last two have been productive, and this one seems promising, but it won't always be like that. In particular, teams won't always be clamoring for our first-rounders, especially if we start winning more, or if the next RGIII trade we make doesn't blow up as spectacularly in the other team's face. Not every GM or owner is as incompetent as Dan Snyder or Jerry Jones.

This leads me to suspect that within the next two years, the Rams will start seeing a squeeze, where the rate at which we are bringing in new talent drops more back in line with the rate at which we are losing veteran production. At that point, the rebuilding project is over, and we're sitting more or less pretty like the Bengals or Colts, but all it takes is one weak draft or nasty injury to plunge us back toward another management change, ownership change, or 15-65.

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I like Johnny Football, and I'm sure he'd bring something exciting and new to the dome, but at this point, he's really a gamble. Yes, he can scramble, but he just doesn't fit with our offense. This is the "playoff year" under Fisher and Snead's plan - they can't just gamble it away on an unproven QB prospect.

At the same time, sticking with Bradford lock, stock, and barrel is much too slow of a long-term strategy. The writer of the article I linked to mentioned Drew Brees and the Chargers as a cautionary tale, but I think we should also avoid becoming the next 2013 Houston Texans (or 2013 Rams) - a team caught without a viable QB in development when their game-managing starter either tanks or goes down.

All of which is why I still think the most sensible - and likely - scenario is that the Rams draft a QB in either the 2nd-3rd or middle of the 1st round this year, and continue with Bradford as the starter. Bring on AJ McCarron!

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