The time has come this season to face a harsh reality. Sitting at 2-10 with four games remaining both the St. Louis Rams and Sam Bradford would be best served if he does not take another snap. How the Rams handle Bradford for the remainder of the season will have a direct impact on the 2012 season. Need to be smart….time to usher in the Tom Brandstater era…well at least for the next four games.
Please understand this is not a performance related benching…rather one based on safety. With Seattle, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and San Francisco on the horizon no good will come from bringing Sam back to soon, or as is the opinion of myself and others, at all this year.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post Dispatch is already reporting that Bradford may sit in favor of Brandstater for the upcoming Monday Night Football spectacular featuring the Rams and Seahawks. Why not take it one step further and sit him the rest of the way. As Tim pointed out no reason to make Sam a $50 million tackling dummy, at least not more than Spagnuolo has already.
Going up against four of the league’s best defenses to finish the season got even tougher with the injury to right guard Jacob Bell. Bell was the sole survivor of the Rams’ starting offensive line on opening day playing his original position. Since then, starting tackles Jason Smith (concussion) and Rodger Saffold (pectoral) have been placed on injured reserve. Center Jason Brown was benched and eventually moved to right guard. Dahl was moved to tackle because of the injury to Smith.
Playing Bradford behind the new make-shift line only exposes him and the Rams to further damage. Remember Bradford was drafted under the old CBA so that $50 million guarantee needs to be protected…AND developed. Going out and getting pummeled, and dinking and dunking his way through the last four games will not further his abilities.
We all see the offense for what it is, and we all see that it has not been affected positively one way or another by who is behind center. Despite missing three games Bradford has been sacked 32 times this season, 2nd in the NFL behind only Ben Roethlisberger. And I think everyone will agree that Bradford is quite built the same as Big Ben.
What will benefit Sam and the Rams is time for the quarterback to heal, to survive, and go into the off season healthy. Allow him what he was not given as a rookie. Time. Time with the clip board and head set on. Time to watch the game in front of him. Time with his offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and QB coach (oh wait) to talk and learn from him.
If 2012 is going to be a positive one in any regards the Rams need a healthy Sam Bradford behind center. Not a shell of the man they drafted gun-shy and hearing footsteps.