“We lost our starting quarterback,” Rams Coach Jeff Fisher said at a news conference Sunday. “But for Sam personally, it’s devastating. The news was devastating to him this morning, as you can appreciate. Anyone that’s gone through that procedure and the rehab understands, and to have it happen again within the calendar year is very, very difficult.”
For Sam Bradford, this was the beginning of a turnaround for the 5th year QB who had seen previous years ended by injuries. During the 2011 campaign, Bradford was bothered by a nagging lower body injury that stuck with him much of the season while at the same time the rest of the Rams roster would be ravaged with injuries of their own. The Rams would go on to finish the 2011 season with a win/loss record of 2-14. In 2012 Bradford made much improvement both physically and in his game, leading the Rams to a 7-8-1 finish while setting a career high of 3,702 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions with a 59.5% completion percentage. It is important to remember that the Rams could have selected Baylor QB Robert Griffin III during the 2012 NFL Draft. Instead, they traded their second overall pick to the Washington Redskins for the 2nd-overall pick (2014), 6th-overall pick (2012), 22nd-overall pick (2013), and 39th-overall pick (2012). Jeff Fisher was adamant that Sam Bradford was ‘their guy’ and so stuck to his guns. As 2013 rolled around, there was excitement in St. Louis as Fisher and the Rams began putting pieces in place to help Bradford succeed. Through the first 7 games of the 2013 regular season, Bradford threw for 1,687 yards, 14 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions and a passer rating of 90.9. However, during the Rams game in Carolina in week 7, Bradford tore his ACL as he ran out of bounds, effectively ending his season.
During the offseason, Sam rehabbed his torn ACL and was ready to make his return to the field in 2014. He sat out the first preseason game and returned to the field against the Green Bay Packers for preseason game number 2. In the third game against the Cleveland Browns however, Bradford was again injured and pulled from the game. It seemed as though the Rams had dodged a bullet following initial tests, however upon further testing the following Sunday, it was revealed that the 5th year QB had again, torn his ACL, ending his season before it could even begin.
Now, with all the pieces in place for the Rams to get down to business, the main piece their board was being built around, is once again out of commission and everyone is left scratching their heads wondering exactly what the Rams will do. Rumors have swirled that they may possibly trade to acquire former Jets QB Mark Sanchez, who currently resides as the backup QB in Philadelphia. Or perhaps they would seek to make a deal with the Washington Redskins to bring current backup Kirk Cousins to St. Louis to replace the injured Bradford. Jeff Fisher however, will not make any desperate moves. On Sunday Fisher said, “It makes no sense to jump and react right now and try to fill the hole, whatever it costs. We’re gonna take our time and evaluate this. There’s gonna be some quarterbacks that are released and there may or may not be some quarterbacks out there that have trade value. We just don’t know. It’s way too soon.”
The Rams may also look at current backup Shaun Hill to fill the void at the starting QB position. Recently an agent who is familiar with the quarterbacks being discussed as possible trades for the Rams said: “There’s no reason to believe any of those guys who are out there would play any better for them than Shaun Hill, who’s there and knows the offense.” In the 2007-2010 seasons, Hill played for the 49ers and the Lions, making 26 NFL starts between the two teams. “We move forward as a football team,” Fisher said Sunday. “Shaun’s our guy. We brought him here. He’s got experience. We’ve got all the confidence in the world in him. We have around our quarterback position right now probably as good of talent as we’ve had since we came here.”
Sam Bradford has played only 49 of the Rams 80 games since he was drafted back in 2010 and will be entering the final year of his contract in 2015. Having gone nearly two years since playing a regular season game and having the same ACL repaired twice now, it’s hard to imagine Bradford remaining the man under center in St. Louis in the future. Will Sam ever be healthy enough to sustain a solid career in the NFL? It’s hard to say, but one thing seems to be certain, that if his injury woes ever do disperse and he is able to be a consistent quarterback in the NFL, it’s difficult to imagine him being with the Rams.
What do you think? Will Bradford bounce back and remain with the Rams in 2015? Should they try to trade him or draft his replacement? Tell us in the comment section below!