(FootballStL) - He was signed as the back-up plan, but Shaun Hill is about to start his 13th year in the NFL as the Rams starting quarterback. He's played in just 34 games over those 13 years, but that's helped keep him somewhat fresh.
“As fresh as a 34-year-old could feel I guess,” joked Hill. “No, I feel great.”
When Sam Bradford went down with the knee injury in the third preseason game, the feeling many had was that the Rams would need another Kurt Warner type miracle to save this season. Shaun Hill has never worked at a grocery store or played arena football, but he has put up respectable stats when he's played. Hill has thrown 41 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions. His quarterback rating (85.9 vs 79.3) completion percentage (62.0 vs 58.6), yards per completion (6.69 vs 6.29), and won-loss record (13-13 vs 18-30-1) are all better than Bradford's.
“He doesn’t have as strong an arm as Bradford,” said wide receiver Kenny Britt. “But he gets it to where it’s supposed to be so we can make plays.”
Head coach Jeff Fisher likes what he’s seen of Hill in practices and in the first two preseason games. “He’s got a good feel,” said Fisher. “We didn’t play him in the last preseason game but he’s taken the majority of the reps in practice. He’s got a good feel for what he’s doing.”
Hill has been a back-up his entire career. He did play in 11 games with Detroit in 2010, and threw 3 touchdown passes in the Lions game against the Rams.
“I’ve always taken the same mindset as if I was playing,” said Hill. “It’s the only way I know how to prepare. So the mindset hasn’t had to change.”
Hill is the oldest player on the youngest team in the league, and the Rams are banking on his experience to step up and play well in Bradford's absence.
“The most important thing about being a quarterback in the NFL is being the same guy every day, being consistent, and playing with timing. Being able to anticipate the open holes, trusting your guys, and being on the same page and trusting them,” Hill said.
The Rams don't have much of a choice but to trust Shaun Hill. They don't need another good story at quarterback. They just need wins to snap a streak of ten straight seasons without a winning record.