The Rams and the Saints are about to have their rematch this Sunday. The match up between these two clubs is more important this year however since both of these teams are fighting for playoff contention. The New Orleans Saints come into this game averaging 24.9 points a game while the Rams are averaging 19.3. Those numbers seem close but the Saints are entering this game with at least 30 points scored in their last three weeks.
I could go on and on about this match up but thats not the main issue. This game the Rams will need to open the offense up early and often. However this has been a problem for the Rams over.......... well 90% of the 2010 season. The Rams have had good success when throwing the ball deep this season. However as everyone knows the Rams rarely throw the ball deep. Sam Bradford has had 29 passes that went for over 20+ yards this season. In comparisons Aaron Rodgers has 51 passes, Ryan Fitzpatrick has 35, Jimmy Clausen has 12, and last but not least Josh Freeman has 41 passes over 20+ yards. What does all this mean? That Sam Bradford has proven that he can throw the ball deep plus when you watch the ball placement it's almost always in the right spot for the WR. So why do the Rams barely use Bradford's deep ball? After the jump I will discuss three possible reasons why.
The Rams don't have the receiving threats to attack defenses.
The main reason that the Rams don't try to attack deep anymore is because they just don't have the talent to. It would be different if we had Donnie Avery who was a good deep threat down the field and if we still had Mark Clayton who knew defenses and ran good routes. Steven Jackson has the Rams longest reception and it was a 49 yard catch. Danny Amendola who is our best receiver he doesn't try to go deep often. Our most constant deep threat is D. Alexander and even Sam Bradford said as much recently. Before the season started it seemed like Mardy Gilyard would step up and be a deep threat/playmaker but he just hasn't gotten used to the flow of the NFL yet. Then you have Brandon Gibson who in all honesty could be a good number two but he is a possession receiver. The Rams TE's Daniel Fells and Billy Bajema aren't the type of security blanket a rookie QB should have but they are okay, the TE's on the Rams are good at getting first downs at best.
The Rams want to protect Bradford physically.
Yes, the Rams have a franchise QB he has great poise, he has the accuracy, and Bradford is more athletic then people thought he would be when he came in the NFL. The Rams offensive line that has been getting better at pass protection but has their occasional letdowns where they just get beat but they have been been getting better. Bradford although he doesn't play like it at times is still a rookie plus his lack of weapons have made him take a lot of nasty hits this season. So if you the Rams would you take a chance with Bradford taking a 7 step drop with our WR's and leaky line?
I don't know why people worry about how hard of a hit Sam Bradford can take though.
Playbook: Breaking down Sam Bradford.
The Rams want to protect Bradford's psyche.
When a player loses his psyche they might not get it back and develop bad habits. Remember Marc Bulger 2006 he threw for 4,301 yards he was on top of the world. Then the line couldn't protect Bulger and then next thing you know he turned into one of the worst QBs. The Rams don't want that to happen especially when the Rams don't have good WRs. Bradford is used to having success and winning games, but how would he react if the Rams had a lead and threw an interception for a td or they lost because of Bradford? He could end up like Peyton Manning and force more passes. The most common thing though is Bradford getting happy feet because the line isn't blocking good and throw the ball before it should come out and bracing for the hit kind of like Manning did in the Charger game a couple months ago. Bradford is very hard on his self at times and maybe this could have something to do with the conservative approach in the 4th quarter.
"I love him on game day, especially when he comes to the sideline all (mad) about something," Spagnuolo says. "I look at him and think, 'That's beautiful.' I mean, he doesn't like it when he throws a completion and it was on the (receiver's) right shoulder instead of the left shoulder."
Quote from USATODAY.com