I’d like to preface this post by saying that, every time I write about anything related to my beloved St. Louis Rams, I feel like I need to precede the event of sitting down and typing with a few shots of Jack Daniels, because the act of writing anything about this organization is a bit of a provocation to me. Nerves get stirred and expletives tend to be thrown around.
See why I’ve avoided much NFL discussion over the past two months?
I took interest in a throwaway comment Chris Wesseling made about Sam Bradford in an article on NFL.com last week regarding Chris Johnson’s potential suitors.
You can read that article in full over here, but I’ve pulled the Bradford quote below.
What Johnson is
Judge the game, not the name. Along with Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, Johnson is perhaps the NFL’s most enigmatic player. Ever since the magical “CJ2K” season, analysts have been debating why Johnson has failed to live up to expectations.
Interesting, and to an extent, quite valid. Four years into his NFL career, do the Rams really know what they have in Bradford?
I don’t want to turn this into another speculative, nonsensical post on the internet trashing Bradford, but I’d like to pose the following question: is Sam Bradford the most enigmatic player in the NFL?
“Once Bradford gets a good offensive line and some stellar receivers, he’s gonna do some damage!” I’ve been saying this for four seasons now…
If we can take coach Jeff Fisher at his words that he isn’t that interested in top prospects at the wide receiver position, we might have to wait a bit longer.
Yet for all the offensive line and wide receiver talent issues Bradford has faced over the last four years, he has done a solid job. What I worry about is that he will become a “Steven Jackson at the quarterback position” — a talented player who never gets to see a serious run at the postseason and a shot at a Super Bowl.
If Fisher thinks he is going to get the Rams to pro football’s big dance just on the strength of defense and ground and pound, Bradford likely will never see a Super Bowl while clad in a Rams’ jersey during Fisher’s tenure. Too many issues to get in the way that makes it unlikely, like the strength of the division, inevitable injuries and the very nature of the NFL’s NFC teams. Lets face it, it’s just not the NFC but the AFC, as well, that is stocking up on defense simply because the rules are too offensive friendly and they need to overcome that advantage, and it’s a solid game plan strategy overall — limit the opponents’ offensive opportunities and if the opponent isn’t flexible and adaptive in the course of a game, it just makes it easier for a defense to prepare.
I wish the Rams would go out and draft Sammy Watkins out of Clemson. He’s a playmaker that’s going to be something special. The Rams haven’t had a big time receiver since Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.
But the whole “once Bradford gets this and that!” excuse well is drying up.
Last year, a 36-year-old Tom Brady led a terrible offensive squad in the New England Patriots to the AFC title game, and one could make a compelling case that if Rob Gronkowski wasn’t hurt and if Aaron Hernandez wasn’t a serial killer, the Pats could have been in yet another Super Bowl. Brady turned Julian Edelman into a damn 100-catch, Pro Bowl level receiver, and the Pats’ offensive line wasn’t anything to brag about, either. But Brady is a legend, a hall of famer, something I highly doubt Bradford will ever be (although I’d love to be pleasantly surprised and proved wrong by his play).
Bradford had 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions by the time he tore his ACL against Carolina in October. Looking back, the Rams ended up losing games they could have possibly won under his command.
I said it a couple of years ago and I’ll regurgitate it: only time will tell.