As Rams quarterback Sam Bradford went down to a season-ending knee injury, I realized that he is truly the victim here.
While it is easy to lay blame on the quarterback when a team does not perform well, I will remind you again that any quarterback is as good as his protection up front in his offensive line. The Rams have spent millions on draft choices and free agents over the years, and few have lived up to any expectation that would surpass average. The most recent offensive free agent signing of substance watched his man go right around him to lay the season-ending lick on Bradford.
Sad but true, the Rams’ woes have always existed with poor offensive line play, no matter who was wearing the jersey. Hence the poor offense, multiple sacks and multiple injuries.
Before you start the “Bradford is not mobile enough” chant, this is not a Bradford thing. Please allow me to introduce you to Mark Bulger who knocked senseless nearly every Sunday because of a poor offensive collection of players, poor offensive scheme and virtually no real protection after Orlando Pace and Adam Timmerman moved on.
No, the Rams have never been able to get it right, no matter who the general manager, coach, offensive coordinator or line coach would be. It has cost the team another quarterback and perhaps another season of playing close to .500.
The Rams have made it clear that they will not trade for another quarterback right now. Good move, considering that there may not be much help out there. If there is a quarterback good enough to lead the Rams to better days, he would already be starting for some other team. Aside from Kurt Warner and his great run, I challenge you to name the street free agents who came in at this stage to lead a team to the post-season.
Now that the Bradford injury is behind us, I should remind you that the Rams still have a season to play no matter who the quarterback is. Bradford was one bad season from being a former Ram, so let’s not get too droopy-lipped, as nine wins would be considered a landmark season for the Rams.
The Rams and their coaches still have to show up and turn in the same effort as if Bradford or any other high-priced quarterback would be under center. They are all professionals, and they should treat their jobs as such. I am not big on predictions, as injury in the NFL turns things around too quick. The Rams still have enough to make it interesting. They are not household names nor fantasy football draft material, other than the kicker.
Not having Bradford should not be an excuse for this team, as he was an unproven commodity coming off a knee injury. Spare me on how good he looked in practice, as he was not touched. The one time he was touched he was knocked out for the season.
The Rams do not have any favors on the schedule, as on paper things appear to be tough. But then again, aside from San Francisco, Seattle and a few other teams who have proven they could be good again, who really knows who is any good these days?
There will be no pity party here for the St. Louis Rams and the loss of their quarterback. We did not know if he could play before he got hurt. The next move is on the Rams and how they respond. Better offensive line play would be a great start, as there is no need to get someone else hurt at this early stage of the season.
That brings me to another question about the offensive line. I was a big advocate for the Rams to take an offensive lineman early in the draft. They did that in taking Greg Robinson with the second pick. If you take a person second overall in the draft, you would think he would be able to step right in and play.
Then why is Robinson not playing tackle? Why is Robinson playing guard? Why is Roger Saffold playing tackle when you brought him back begrudgingly as a guard? Why was Robinson not on the field in Cleveland before Saffold got hurt AGAIN?
Why is it taking Robinson so long to get ready? He was not a contract holdout, he was at the OTA’s and training camp when required. Offensive linemen are the second-hardest player to develop on a team behind quarterback, and I get that. But why did the Rams draft him that early if he is not going to play?
The Rams were desperate to shore a glaring weakness, and they have yet to do it. Yes, I know the season starts in two weeks, but will the Rams be ready or be better at the most critical spot on the field when the whistle blows? If they are not ready, perhaps we should be in the market for another quarterback, as current QB Shaun Hill could have a short shelf life.