Bradford injury worse for Bradford than it is for Rams

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by Brian Feldman, Football STL

KMOV.com

Posted on August 24, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 24 at 6:32 PM

ST. LOUIS (FootballSTL) - Today’s unbelievably awful news that Rams QB Sam Bradford has torn the ACL in his left knee for the second time in 10 months is twofold.  First, of course, it’s bad for the Rams.  They just lost their starting quarterback two weeks before the season opener.

That’s not good.  It never is.

But the Rams can survive this.  They have a veteran backup in Shaun Hill who is actually a lot better than most fans think.  He can be the ultimate game manager that doesn’t make mistakes and lets the running game and defense win for them.  As bad as this seems, the Rams could be in a lot worse situation than they are now.  But more on that in a minute.

The worst part in all of this is the second aspect.  Bradford’s career could be in jeopardy.  I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV.  But it certainly didn’t look like he took that bad of a hit against the Browns on Saturday night.  It was a seemingly modest hit – far from Rodney Harrison on Trent Green back in the preseason of 1999.

Could this be the end of the Sam Bradford era in St. Louis?  He has one more guaranteed year on his contract and it would be very difficult for the Rams to go into the 2015 season banking on him to be their starting QB.  The time might be now to start looking at long term replacements.  Obviously, there isn’t a whole lot to get at this point in the season. 

If you’re a reasonably good quarterback you’re probably already on a roster.  Finding the next great Rams signal caller will probably have to wait until next offseason.  But that doesn’t mean the Rams can’t make scouting college QBs a top priority this year.  They elected to wait until the 6th round to take SMU’s Garrett Gilbert when they could have done something earlier in the draft.

Will the Rams make QB more of a priority next year?  It’s very possible.

This is a quarterback driven league whether you like it or not.  Yes, playing great defense is critical and having a nice running game helps as well.  But look at the recent Super Bowl winners and they almost always have top flight quarterbacks.  Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Joe Flacco, etc. 

The Rams may not be giving up on Sam Bradford just yet.  They just may give him a chance to prove his health next year.  But it’s hard to envision them not looking to future just in case.  It really is.

As far as 2014 goes, as mentioned, the Rams could be in a much worse situation than they are in right now.  Shaun Hill has credentials.  He’s 34-years old and has been in the league for 13 seasons.  No, Hill hasn’t seen much action the last few years because Matthew Stafford has largely stayed healthy (Hill has played in just four games over the last three years and thrown a grand total of 16 passes).

But the year before that with Detroit, when Stafford was out, Hill threw for 2,686 yards in 11 games and had 16 TDs.  Projected over a full 16-game season that would translate to 3,900 yards and 23 touchdowns.  Not half bad, huh?  Yes, that was a long time ago but it was also the last time Shaun Hill was even given a chance.  We don’t have anything else to grade him on.

It’d be a lot worse throwing a young kid out there who’s never seen an NFL defense and has no clue what he’s getting himself into. 

The Rams were not going to win games with the QB as it was.  Gregg Williams and this defense was going to have to be top 10, maybe even top 5, to get the Rams to the postseason.  The running game was going to be featured behind Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham and Tre Mason as well.

Losing Sam Bradford hurts.  His future could be in jeopardy.  But this hurts probably more for him than it does for the Rams in 2014.  They can still contend behind Shaun Hill.

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