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St. Louis Rams Roster 2014: Quarterbacks

The St. Louis Rams currently have four quarterbacks looking to stake their claim under center in 2014. Let’s have a closer look at each as we head into training camp...

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

In regards to the Rams’ heated starting QB discussion heading into the 2014 season, the headlines probably read similar to that of 2013...and 2012...and well, the entirety of Sam Bradford’s career.  The team is just as confident in Bradford as their starter in 2014 as they were when Steve Spagnuolo and Co. drafted him first overall in 2010.  [Gulp!]

The Starter

It’s Bradford...and it’s not close.  There was a time earlier this year when one might question whether Bradford would be ready for the home opener against the Vikings, while still recovering from a knee injury suffered in Week 7 of last year.  But like many of the Dr. James Andrews' super-human knee surgery bounce backs, Bradford is not only looking like a go for Week 1, but was ahead of schedule in late May.

And as disappointing as some may have been when the Rams passed on college football’s best QB prospects in May’s 2014 NFL draft, Jeff Fisher and Les Snead haven’t wavered in their stance on the team’s signal-caller.  Bradford is one of the main reasons Jeff Fisher chose St. Louis as his eventual landing spot, and it’s whom he plans on backing for the foreseeable future.

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Despite every year being deemed a "make or break" for Bradford, it’s evident he was finding success - minimally progressing - with the Rams’ offense in 2013.  With less than half the season gone, and prior to the ACL injury, Bradford was on track to surpass many of his single-season statistical bests.

As an aside, there are a couple of players glad to see Bradford healthy.  Jared Cook and Tavon Austin looked to be Bradford favorites early in 2013.  Cook, who played a full 16-game season, was targeted 82 times in 2014.  42 of those came within the first seven games, with Bradford at the helm.  Austin only played in 13 games last year, but was targeted 46 times in the team’s first seven games...he was only targeted 23 times in the six games [he played] that followed.  That means he was targeted 6.6 times per game with Bradford at QB, with only 3.8 targets per game when Kellen Clemens stepped in.

Regardless, these two [amongst others] will be running routes in anticipation of Sam Bradford looking their way to start the 2014 season.

A Battle at Backup?

Probably not.

The Rams signed Shaun Hill during the 2014 offseason after losing Clemens to the Chargers in free agency.  Hill has made his career in the NFL as a backup, and is regarded - by many - as one of the better backups in the league.  Some, with Twitter bravado, claim he’s better than the guy we were just talking about.

But those folks don’t make those kind of roster decisions for the Rams, and Twitter is free.

I suppose it’s possible we hear rumblings of the Rams’ most recent 6th round selection - Garrett Gilbert - challenging for the backup role as training camp rolls on...but it’s extremely unlikely.  The Rams didn’t go after any of college football’s best in the 2014 draft because they didn’t need [or want] to.  They’re not in a position of desperation.  Shaun Hill, in the eyes of many, is an upgrade over Kellen Clemens, and his experience may prove invaluable.  Bradford and Garrett can both benefit under his tutelage.

For Gilbert, who I covered in a "Rams’ roster preview" last week, it appears he’ll go the way of the quarterbacks of year’s past.  Despite the college resumé, and without regard to hype or popularity, Gilbert is destined to take the slow road to playing time in the NFL.  He’s going to absorb as much knowledge as he can - whether it be on the practice field, team meetings, or film room - in hopes of one day stepping in and utilizing what he’s assimilated to play meaningful downs in the NFL.

Hill is in St. Louis on a one-year, $1.75 million deal.  If Gilbert can pick up quickly, and show promise, the Rams might have a far more affordable option at backup heading into the 2015 season.

In the Mix

There are only four quarterbacks currently on the Rams’ depth chart.  The only one we’ve yet to mention is the undrafted free agent from 2012, Austin Davis.  The Rams aren’t known to carry four QB’s through the season, so it’s a long shot for Davis to make the roster.

You may remember early in 2013, when Fisher talked up Davis as the team’s backup to Bradford.  And then, after a rather terrible preseason showing...

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Couple more Rams cuts now confirmed: LB Josh Hull and QB Austin Davis. Davis still practice squad eligible.</p>&mdash; Jim Thomas (@jthom1) <a href="">August 31, 2013</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Note: QB Austin Davis was not signed to practice squad. So only two Rams QBs at the moment are Sam Bradford and Kellen Clemens on active 53.</p>&mdash; Jim Thomas (@jthom1) <a href="">September 1, 2013</a></blockquote>
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If I were a betting man, I’d place a heavy wager on Davis receiving the same treatment in 2014 that he received last year; walking papers with an opportunity to catch on elsewhere.


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