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Reevaluating our relationship with Sam Bradford

My relationship with Sam Bradford is at a crossroads. 

In the beginning, I wore my number eight jersey with pride, symbolic of this player who I truly and irrationally believed would immediately exorcise the hollow memories of the Greatest Show on Turf that echo through the Edward Jones Dome.

The Rams fan base lived through a half-decade of dismal football and Bradford was the knight in shining armor, the charming prince and the franchise player that would bring the St. Louis back to prosperity all rolled into one.  

However, nearly a year and a half into our fan-player relationship, I wonder where our future together is headed.

Gone are the honeymoon days, where nagging concerns were dismissed by self-convincing statements such as “he’s only a rookie” or “well, the team has a long way to go”.

We all expected him to become a leader for this team we love so much.

We all expected him to shoulder every expectation, fair or not.

We all expected him to be an elite quarterback.

The question remains, however, is if he can deliver on these expectations.

Don’t misunderstand me, Sam is only a second year quarterback in his second offensive system, playing with an inept offensive line and underwhelming receivers.

There will be struggles and the schedule this year has been brutal for a Rams team that is outmatched on paper and on the field.

But when does reality set in and when do the excuses stop?

Before halftime in the Ravens game, Bradford was awful, completing only four of 15 passes for 17 yards against a team missing two of its starting cornerbacks. He threw a terrible interception to Lardarius Webb that was nowhere near a stumbling Danario Alexander.

His completion percentage this season is barely above 51 percent and his average yards per pass is hovering around 6.3, reminiscent of his rookie season where each pass was choreographed to minimize mistakes.

He seems flustered, locks onto one receiver too often and might as well write a book on how to get passes tipped at the line of scrimmage.

Amidst all of these flaws, however, is a quarterback who also flashes greatness.

His touchdown passes to Danario Alexander against the Giants and a smooth rollout 34-yard score to Brandon Gibson Sunday are reminiscent of throws only elite passers can make.

These reasons make Bradford a Ram fan’s living conundrum. 

He falls right between a time when we supported him unconditionally and a time when we are on the cusp of mutiny because we can’t stand the thought of another losing season.

This is our collective crossroads.

At the end of another long Sunday, none of us have an answer on where this relationship is headed but the best we can do is hope it’s the right direction.

Until then, you’ll recognize us as the guys with the number eight jerseys on, booing Bradford’s mistakes and cheering even louder for the plays our knight in shining armor makes.

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