From 1999 to 2003 the St. Louis Rams were a dominant force having perhaps one of the most explosive offense’s ever assembled. Led by QB Kurt Warner, RB Marshall Faulk and WRs Issac Bruce and Torry Holt the Rams were dangerous and put fear into the eyes of many.
They dominated their competition in route to seasons that saw the likes of 13-3, 10-6, 14-2 and 12-4. During that span they went to two Superbowls winning one (99) and losing the other (01).
After losing the SB in 2002 (season of 01) to the Patriots the Rams went down hill,
They finished the following season with a 7-9 record having found a replacement, Marc Bulger, for QB Kurt Warner who’s play was sort of diminishing. The 2003 season was the last of the Rams as they finished 12-4 losing to the Panthers in the divisional game.
Ever since the “Greatest Show On Turf” ended St.Louis has been bad. Having gone through the rebuilding stage twice.
The fist rebuilding project occurred when Marc Bulger first took over. Having led them to 12-4 record his first year some thought he was the next guy up. When in reality he was just a mediocre QB. They eventually brought in RB Steven Jackson to take over for Marshall Faulk and let Holt and Bruce finish their careers off.
Following the GSOT’s exit the Rams went on to have records that consisted of a 8-8 (a pair), 6-10, 3-13, 2-14 and 1-15. They went from being respected to being laughed at in a short time span. After finishing the 09-10 season 1-15 placing last in the NFL, they were awarded the first pick in the NFL Draft (2010).
The talk of that draft (QB wise) was Sam Bradford (OU), Tim Tebow (Florida, Two Time Heisman Winner) and Colt McCoy (Texas). ( Hmph Jimmy Clausen as well.) Many believed Bradford had the potential to be very good if not great; stating that he was head and shoulders above the other QBs in his class.
With all of the hype surrounding Bradford and a glaring hole at the QB position the Rams selected the Oklahoma QB number one.
Alot of fans were enthused with the pick. And now some may have questions surrounding it.
Having missed most of his final college season (shoulder injury) Bradford started in every game his rookie year. He was Rookie of The Year (ROY) and broke a few rookie records.He finished the season with 3512 yards, 18tds, 15ints a QB percentage of 76.5 and completed 60% of his passes. The Rams as a team went on to finish with a 7-9 record, which was a decent turnaround from the previous year.
After showing a little bit of promise in his first year Bradford’s encore for the next season saw him miss six games and finish the season with stats of 6tds, 6ints, 2164 yards a 70.5 QB rating and a 53.5 completion percentage on his passes. 2-14 was the record the Rams finished with in year two of the Bradford era.
With that being his second year in the league it’s fair to give him the benefit of the doubt. Quarterbacks generally do worse in year two because they’re game planned alot better and teams know some of their tendencies. Add that in with the fact that Bradford was hurt a pass must be given.
So I’ll let him off the hook…For now.
In year three Bradford had totals of 21tds 13ints 3702 yards 82.6 QB rating and a completion percentage of 59.5. He also played in all sixteen games. He improved a bit from his rookie season individually but when you look at the team’s record they finished 7-8. (One game was postponed.) Better quarterback yet same result.
Year four, which was last year saw Bradford miss nine games. His stats were nice (14tds 4ints 1687 yards 90.9 QBR and 60.7% completion wise) but his absence wasn’t felt like in year two. Last year the Rams still managed to win seven games without Bradford for most of the season which leaves me with this thought.
Is it time to abort the Bradford project?
If you look at it even with Bradford intact this team was still mediocre. They have a decent defense but the inconsistency or should I say absence of a mobile QB seems to throw them off from time to time. They’ve never been over .500 as a ball club and alot of the blame has to be put on Bradford. It may not be fair to him but that’s how it is in the NFL.
If a QB can’t stay healthy and hasn’t done much to make a case in why he should be the franchise guy, why should the team continue to give him chances? Some may say fours years is too small of a sample to evaluate on if a QB is franchise caliber or not. I think it’s just enough if the QB can’t remain healthy.
Oh and if you think this year is going to be a different story you’re wrong. Bradford is already out for the season with an ACL tear and who’s to say he’ll be healthy next year?
For three out of five years now Sam Bradford has failed to be there when his team needed him. This season was supposed to be the year of the Rams. A breakout year if you will that has now been ruined because of Bradford’s cliched departure. Eleven years ago it was okay to wait and build. But now with a division that’s currently on the rise and primed for years of dominance (Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco) the time to act is now.
It doesn’t make sense to pay for a broken product…….. Time is money and money is time. It’s time for the Bradford project to be resigned. Or another decade of mediocrity will be all but enshrined.