Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Josh Freeman was benched this week in
Tampa and you get the distinct feeling that plenty of people in Minnesota
aren't all that disheartened by Christian Ponder's broken ribs, a convenient
injury which happens to open the door for the far more competent Matt Cassel.
Freeman and Ponder are hardly the only quarterbacks in the NFL who should be
fearing for their long-term job security but at least one who should be firing
up the laptop to update the resume -- St. Louis' Sam Bradford -- need not
Bradford is being saved by his draft position as the last No. 1 overall pick
under the old CBA -- a position which meant a massive rookie contract and the
inability to easily cut ties with a mistake.
Well, that and the fact there is no legitimate alternative for the Rams.
The pedestrian Kellen Clemens is the current backup quarterback for the Rams
and probably the most popular man in all of St. Louis today after Bradford's
latest laughable attempt to play the position during a 35-11 fiasco of a game
against NFC West rival San Francisco on Thursday night.
Bradford finished 19-for-41 for 202 yards with one touchdown and one
interception for the Rams (1-3), who have dropped their past three after
opening the season with a victory.
"Obviously as a football team, we have a lot to work on considering what's
happened the last five days," Rams head coach Jeff Fisher understated. "I have
faith in this football team and we're going to get this fixed."
Not with Bradford under center.
Apologists can fall on their swords all they want for Bradford and to be fair,
it's hard to look like Peyton Manning on play-action when Daryl Richardson and
Benny Cunningham are running it for 22 yards on 16 carries.
But, pointing to things like that or the unimaginative offense of Brian
Schottenheimer or a mediocre offensive line or the fact highly-touted rookie
Tavon Austin doesn't have a clue how to run a route doesn't mask the fact that
Bradford is regressing at a rapid rate.
In fact, give this guy Adrian Peterson in the backfield along with Calvin
Johnson, Julio Jones and Jimmy Graham to throw to and I'm still not sure he
would look anything like a franchise quarterback.
Being a great signal caller in the NFL is similar to being an ace pitcher who
doesn't have his best stuff on a particular night. You find a way to grind
through things no matter who is stationed around you.
Take a look at Tom Brady in New England this season. You can make a strong
argument that "Tom Terrific" has fewer weapons at his disposal than Bradford
yet still has the Patriots at 3-0 heading into Sunday night's matchup in
At times you can see Brady wants to pound his head against a wall but he finds
a way to make it work with Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson.
Bradford, on the other hand, is now 16-29-1 as a starter and his confidence is
eroding more rapidly than the New Jersey shoreline.
In fact, one of the major reasons Schottenheimer's offense looks more
conservative than Sean Hannity stems from the fact that Bradford checks down
everything at the first sign of trouble and refuses to take a peek at any
vertical routes because his accuracy when throwing the football down the field
is virtually non-existent.
Against the 49ers Bradford averaged a pitiful 4.93 yards per attempt and that
was against a group missing Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis.
"Tomorrow's going to be a pretty tough day in the film room," Bradford said
after the game. "The good news is we have 10 days, 11 days until we play again
and there's going to be ample time to get that corrected."
Anyone see this getting corrected anytime soon in a division with the Niners
and Seattle Seahawks?
St. Louis already opened up the Brink's Truck in the offseason for left tackle
Jake Long and tight end Jared Cook, and then traded up to draft Austin in
order to speed up Bradford's development.
Now those same players are being thrown under the bus as sacrifices to some
twisted altar of pedigree.
A pedigree which shows no signs of morphing into performance.
The Sports Network