ST. LOUIS - Around this time last year, St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher stood by his injured quarterback, Sam Bradford, and declared him the starter. Tuesday in Earth City, after a second surgery on Bradford's ACL, Fisher sang a different tune.
"There's going to be competition at the quarterback position," he said, "I think we need to do that. Sam understands that and he doesn't have a problem with competition."
However, Fisher did offer a beneficiary stat as the Rams are 5-2-1 in the NFC West with Bradford as their quarterback and 2-8 without him.
If Bradford would have been healthy for the entire 2014 season, would Rams 6-10 record be better?
"It's hard to say," Fisher responded, "You look at his record against the division, one would expect that to carry over against other teams. I can't give you the exact number, but we would have a different record, significantly."
Bradford was at Rams Park Tuesday and said his rehab is progressing well and that he has been running for the past few weeks.
"This time it seems we have taken things a little slower," Bradford said, "Hopefully having more time between the surgery and the start of the season next year, it will allow me to get into more sport specific exercises than last time."
But the former Oklahoma QB wasn't sure he would make it back onto the field at all. In the immediate aftermath of being hurt in the preseason, Bradford said he thought about quitting football.
"I didn't want to come back. I didn't want to play. I was tired of rehabbing. I was tired of the process," Bradford admitted, "But when you step back and you're away from the game for awhile. Then you come back and you're around your teammates, I quickly realized I wasn't done."
Bradford said he wants to stay in St. Louis. To do that, he and the Rams will have to restructure his contract, currently his contract costs the Rams about $16 million in cap space, but Bradford said he stills has a lot to prove to this city.
"This is the first place I've ever been away from home," he continued, "I love this city. I can't tell you how much support I got, whether it's going out to the gas station or going out to eat. I can't tell you how many people have said they want to see me back on the field. I tell them I'm trying my hardest to get back out there for them."
Fisher did not indicate if the Rams would sign a free agent quarterback and use the draft to find competition for the starting QB spot.