So, it has been over a month since I did my last step it up article, which was about everyone's favorite tight end Fendi Onobun.. I know I said I wouldn't be talking about Sam Bradford, but hell, he doesn't get a pass,
The St. Louis Rams are going into a new offense. So I decided, if I'm going to write about Sam, I might as well write about some more of the offensive players. So don't be shocked to see two players from the 2010 draft class, a player from the 2009 draft class, and a 2008 player who everyone has different opinions about.
First, let's talk about what I know about Josh McDaniels' offense. It's not a spread offense; it's more of a multiple offense. I haven't followed McDaniels' coaching career, but I heard he changes his gameplan to attack a opponent's weakness. In the game vs. the Rams, McDaniels threw a lot of formations at the Rams. Against the Rams, he had Kyle Orton roll out a few times. I saw the Broncos go heavy set, and then two plays later go four wide. What I liked the most is that even when the Rams were blowing the Broncos out, he never got out of his gameplan. Hell, he even went heavy again a couple of times.
This offense reminds me a lot of the Mike Martz offense. It relies on wide receivers and running backs a lot. The different formations will keep defenses on their toes. However, just like with Martz, when I was looking at the stats and some of the film, it seems like McDaniels does forget about running the ball and passing to the TE's. This doesn't concern me, because Martz ended up running and passing to Greg Olsen last season. Hopefully McDaniels doesn't wait till the middle of the season to do this. This should be a good system for Bradford to flourish in.
Now let's talk about Sam Bradford. He broke the completion record. He had a stretch where he completed 11 touchdowns to one interception, winning the offensive rookie of the year. And most importantly, he led the St. Louis Rams to a 7-9 record. After Bradford's rookie season, he proved that he was the right pick for the Rams. Bradford showed great poise, took a losing franchise on his back, and didn't miss a snap no matter how bad of a game he had. Bradford was great at rollouts, and also did a pretty good job of improvising.
All that is great, but now it's time to get to the bad. The Rams had to put all their hopes in Bradford; when he had a great game, we won most of the time. It seemed like he did good dealing with the pressure, and then he hit the rookie wall where he threw one touchdown and six interceptions the last five games.
You have to wonder if the pressure got to Sam. It can't be easy knowing that you have to have a good game if your team is going to win. Sam Bradford might have the potential, but he still finished with the 25th best QB ranking. It's not like the competition got stiff either, so that is a concern.
Defenses got used to Bradford rolling out, and they started to defend against it. They started covering Amendola with their best defenders. At times, Bradford lost his poise and threw horrible passes. During the course of the season, a few of his passes got batted down. There were plays where you wished Bradford would have just slid or threw the ball away, like the shovel pass against the Atlanta Falcons.
Sadly, it's not like the Rams have given Bradford the best weapons to work with. The only positions that started for the Rams offense that were high draft picks were offensive lineman and Steven Jackson. Bradford had to work with players who are projects or who got cut from other teams. If that's not bad enough, the organization is asking him to learn a completely different offense.
All of this could result in Sam Bradford going through a sophomore slump and the Rams not going to the playoffs. It happened to a certain extent to Matt Ryan in the 09-10 season. Hopefully, the final five games last season won't translate to things to come.
With all that being said, Bradford is still a good quarterback. He has great accuracy, good mobility, and you can tell he is becoming more of a leader. If Bradford can stay healthy, and the Rams put a good cast of players around him, his decision making should increase. The most important thing about Bradford is that he elevates the players around him. Mark Clayton, Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola all played better with Sam Bradford, then the other QB's they played with the year before.
Next season, Bradford will be getting a few players back from injury. Bradford will also have Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator next season who has had a pretty good track record of developing quarterbacks. I can see a bright future ahead of Sam Bradford, and hopefully the Rams will give him the talent he needs to succeed.
We always talk so highly of Bradford that we forget he was a rookie. He has some things he should work on, just as much as any other quarterback. Below, I decided to throw in a couple of highlight tapes. Based on last season, the future is bright with Bradford.
Sam Bradford - 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year Highlights (via TheVikingsworld2)
2010 St. Louis Rams Highlights (via yrba1)