It’s not as if the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner and the 2010 number one overall draft pick didn’t have enough pressure on him as it is, right?
Throughout the entire pre-draft process, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead repeatedly said they have spent absolutely zero time on scouting quarterbacks. Well, in the words of Fisher, “Yeah, we looked at quarterbacks because they threw to receivers.”
Countless experts, analyst and pundits have all observed and spoken out about the woeful talent that plagued the Rams’ previous roster. How can your franchise quarterback operate in the pocket if he has no time to deliver a pass? How can your quarterback throw completions if his receivers have hands made of asphalt or lack explosiveness to create separation? What about the revolving door of underachieving, inexperienced and “deer in the headlight” coaches? Injuries too?
Not one time in Bradford’s career has he ever made an excuse for his play or the organization’s failure, and he better not start now.
St. Louis arguably had the best draft class, as far as immediate impact and starters. Already thriving off last year’s draft success, Bradford hasn’t had this much talent around him since his 2010 Sooners, who produced four first round picks. Armed with the most dynamic player on the team in Tavon Austin, a formidable duo at tight end with the newly acquired Jared Cook and incumbent Lance Kendricks, as well as an array of lineups and formations at their disposal with Brian Quick, Chris Givens and draftee Stedman Bailey, this group of speed and athleticism has fans reminiscing of the Greatest Show on Turf days.
The recycled, but somewhat true phrase, “a true quarterback makes players around him,” Bradford has already proven that.
Didn’t he elevate a horrid 1-15 franchise to a team that was one game away from making the playoffs? A team whose top leading receivers were Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Daniel Fells, and running back Steven Jackson who finished fourth? With an increased boost in talent this past year, Bradford enjoyed a career year in yards and touchdown passes. He’s given no indication as to why his production won’t escalate as he enters his fourth year in the NFL.
However, the new look of the Rams roster will truly allow the organization to evaluate their franchise signal caller. A lot of fans and outsiders see this as Bradford’s make-or-break year, and this could very much be so. This new regime has proven they are not scared to wheel and deal draft picks if they are smitten with a player.
Still reaping benefits from the Robert Griffin III trade, St. Louis has another draft with two first round picks. The Rams could easily trade up for a quarterback if needed. Teddy Bridgewater? Johnny Manziel? AJ McCarron? They’re all possibilities in the 2014 draft.
Bradford undoubtedly has the talent, and this regime has made choices that showcase their confidence in him. Equipped with youthful firepower in their arsenal, Bradford has all the tools to have another successful season. But what is the expected success? Video game like numbers mirroring Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, or a playoff appearance? Perhaps both, it’s almost implausible to think the NFC West will feature three playoff teams.
Whatever the case may be, this franchise rest surely on the shoulders of Bradford.