ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Last year Sam Bradford didn't really stand a chance when you think about it.
His left tackle tore his pectoral muscle. His right tackle suffered yet another concussion. His right guard had to move to tackle just to get him a little protection on the outside.
And, to be honest, anyone the Rams put on the field to protect #8 didn't do much blocking.
Could you imagine dropping back to pass knowing full well you're about to be blasted by a 6'4" 285 pound defensive lineman who's determined to put his helmet right into your ribs?
I don't care how tough you are...it will have an effect.
Look, I'm not going to put Sam Bradford's 2011 performance solely on the O-line. Bradford completed just 53.5% of his passes for 2164 yards. He threw just 6 touchdowns in 10 games and had a lower passer rating (70.5) than he did as a rookie (76.5).
But the offensive line certainly did not help.
That's why coming into this year there is not a single group under more scrutiny than them.
Sure, Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford will add a much needed push on the interior of the defensive line. Sure, Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson will make the cornerbacks much better. Sure, Brian Quick and Steve Smith will provide more athletic targets for Bradford to throw to.
But if the offensive line does not keep the former #1 overall pick on his feet, none of that will matter. This is a quarterback driven league where, let's face it, you're as good as your QB allows you to be.
The last 9 Super Bowl champions have had the following QBs at the helm:
-- Eli Manning (2008, 2012)
-- Aaron Rodgers (2011)
-- Drew Brees (2010)
-- Ben Roethlisberger (2006, 2009)
-- Peyton Manning (2007)
-- Tom Brady (2004, 2005)
All 6 of those names would have to be considered very good at worst...elite at best.
And you can't be leading your team to a championship if you're constantly on the ground.