Today, I will discuss what the loss of Sam Bradford means to the Rams this year and next. Bradford was injured finishing up a run play yesterday towards the sidelines. There was nothing malicious about the hit the Carolina Panthers player put on him. Bradford’s feet got trapped under him as he fell down and his knee got twisted. In the process, his anterior collateral ligament(ACL) was torn and this will be put him out for the remaining 9 games of the 2013 season.
A huge blow to a team with a 3-4 record and definitely not dead in the NFC wildcard race. It’s an unfortunate part of the game. The Patriots lost Tom Brady to a knee injury years ago and rode Matt Cassel to the playoffs. Remember when a former grocery store shelf stocker named Kurt Warner took over for Trent Green. These are broad and slightly ridiculous examples but some Rams fans are acting like this has never happened to another team. Last night, the Indianapolis Colts lost star wide receiver Reggie Wayne to a torn ACL as well. It’s a common knee injury that happens on grass or turf and is a product of the environment and speed of play. Bradford was busy skipping himself out of bounds and just got tripped up. In trying to brace himself, he lost his footing and his leg got trapped and injured. He will need 6-9 months of recovery time and be ready for the 2014 season.
I don’t think this makes the Rams quarterback searchers in the offseason. Jeff Fisher came to this team because Sam Bradford was the quarterback. He isn’t letting that go after 2 seasons and especially one that started so promising this past month. Inside of nearly 7 games, Bradford was among the top QB’s in the NFL with 15 touchdowns and 4 interceptions(all tipped). He was playing better in the fourth quarter and on the road. For all the doubters who thought he couldn’t have a great season, he was putting one together until yesterday. The reason his team is under .500 is due to horrible special teams play, very bad penalties, a defense that proved breakable the first 4 weeks and a couple tough spots on the schedule. If the receivers didn’t drop a couple balls yesterday we are talking about 3 touchdown passes for Bradford instead of 1 and maybe he is still working on two good knees.
That being said, the Rams will draft a QB and try to keep a bigger safety belt than Kellen Clemens, who will be the starter at home on Monday Night Football next week unless the Rams find someone to replace him. I don’t care whether or not Clemens knows the offense or not he can’t be the guy to take on the division rival giant Seattle Seahawks. He isn’t the answer. Nobody with a career QB rating of 62.2 is the answer. Arms will be flown in this week to try out and someone will take over the spot. It won’t be Tim Tebow but as I stated in my dose yesterday, he deserves a shot elswhere(Jacksonville). Guys like Matt Leinart(ouch that hurt to say), Tyler Thigpen and John Skelton. In particular, Skelton will be a nice low risk pickup. He has a cannon for an arm and lost a close race in the Cincinnati Bengals training camp for the backup spot to Josh Johnson. He is a pocket passer type who is the kind of arm Fisher wants. He can sling it, learn a playbook that included a lot of short 5-10 yard passes with occasional launches and be ready. I also think the team will bring in early training camp contender Austin Davis because he is younger and quicker than Clemens and also knows the playbook. We will see what happens.
The Rams were only carrying 2 quarterbacks on the main roster and didn’t even have a good option in their practice squad and got bit in the ass here with this injury. Now they will scramble and find someone. It’s too bad Josh Freeman signed with the Minnesota Vikings when he was released 4 weeks ago. He could have slipped right in here and been a threat. Vince Young is about as unlikely as Tebow. Fisher has had enough with him.
I wouldn’t expect the Rams to finish with too great of a record after the loss of their quarterback but don’t be surprised if they played differently and shocked a few people. Everybody expects this team to resort to 2009 form and really suck. Find the right quarterback and that may not happen. Their running game has awoke in the past 3 weeks and their defense is getting stronger(at least against the run). Their schedule has some rough spots in it but we can make something happen. Just don’t rule out the Rams from being competitive this season. A playoff spot is probably out of reach but a few thrills are possible.
The Bradford haters will get what they want. A Bradford less offense for at least 9 games. I was never completely on board with the way he played until last year in the second half. He adjusted after a puzzling first half and nearly pushed this team into the playoffs. He looked like a different player under Fisher. This year, he looked great and deserved better. We will have to wait for that story to be continued next year. For now, the Rams QB search begins.
Here’s what they have to do no matter who takes snaps under center. Play like a group of professionals. Save me your apologies Chris Long and act like a leader. Don’t lose yourself on the football field. Receivers, catch the ball please. That is your job. Stop with the ridiculous BIG PLAY cancelling penalties and special teams nightmares. It’s embarrassing. We can attack the coaches all we want but the players need to do a better job. And, corners and safeties, it’s okay to stop a few big plays from happening. Just letting you know.
The Rams are 3-4 and host the red hot Seahawks next week on Monday Night Football. They have 7 days to keep it from looking like a massacre.
Thanks for staying to the end,
Dan L. Buffa
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