Recently, I've seen a lot of people making the ridiculous claim that Clemens played better than Bradford this last season, or at least that their performances were close. All I can guess is that these people look at the W/L record without actually watching the games.
Yes, we had a better record with Clemens, but football is a team game, and the reason for that better record was that the team improved throughout the season. That, of course, has me excited for what we can do when we get Bradford back. Do remember that we've had the youngest team in the NFL the last two years. Over the course of last season, these guys got experience and improved.
The big difference between our games with Bradford and with Clemens: the running game. At the start of the season, we tried Schottenheimer's failed spread experiment. This experiment failed because Schottenheimer has no idea how to call a good spread gameplan. Additionally, we had no running game to speak of. Richardson was terrible, and Pead, as usual, looked lost on the field. Cunningham had his moments later in the season.
After the disastrous 49ers game, however, we changed our offensive philosophy. We abandoned the spread and turned to Zac Stacy at running back, and our offense improved drastically. Bradford had a very good three-game stretch the last three weeks before his injury.
So Clemens ended up reaping the benefits of the improved running game and offensive philosophy. For proof of this, just look to this 2013 Rams highlight video.
By my count, we had four rushing highlights while Bradford was QB, and two of them were by Bradford. When Clemens was quarterback, the count was either sixteen or seventeen, and none of them were by Clemens.
If defenses don't respect your running game, it puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback, the offensive line, and the receivers (especially an inexperienced bunch of receivers like ours). The fact that Bradford came out of the beginning of the season with decent numbers and only four losses is actually quite remarkable, especially when you factor in the fact that our defense was also pretty bad at the beginning of the season.
A couple other notes from the video:
Tavon Austin made a couple of nice touchdown catches against Atlanta, especially the tightrope act on one of them. I'd like to see more of that out of him. If he can develop reliability to go with his explosiveness, he'll be scary.
I was also surprised to see Quick had a few nice highlights. There's ability there. Like Austin, though, he needs to get the reliability to go with it.
Oh, and Robert Quinn is fun to watch.