We’ll start with the good news: Sam Bradford has thrown far more touchdowns (59) than interceptions (38) in his NFL career and last year completed a career-high 60.7 percent of his passes.
So there’s that.
The bad news, however, is that Bradford, who suffered a torn ACL in Saturday’s preseason win over Cleveland, will miss the entire 2014 campaign. He has now missed part – or all – of three seasons.
“You don’t like to speculate, but it doesn’t look good for his long-term prospects,” MMQB.com NFL insider Andy Benoit said on The MoJo Show. “Now, for the Rams and their immediate future, no team ever wants to lose their starting quarterback, obviously, and the gap between Sam Bradford and Shaun Hill is a substantial one. That said, the Rams do have the style of offense to survive something like this. I’m not saying they will, but if this kind of thing happened to any team, you’d want it to happen to the teams that are going to be the run-first type of teams.”
“And the Rams – with that high-power defense that they have – were absolutely planning all along to become a run-oriented offense, which is actually something they transitioned to last year. When their spread did not work, they scrapped the whole thing heading into October and became a run-first team and it went okay for them.”
The Rams went 6-6 over their final 12 games, including 4-5 in games started by Kellen Clemens. Hill, 34, is considered by many analysts a significant upgrade over Clemens – despite the fact that he’s thrown just 16 passes since 2010.
“They survived Bradford’s injury last season (by running the football),” Benoit said. “They stayed well above water with him out of the lineup, and so they’re going to be doing the same thing again. They’re equipped to handle it, but it’s not something they want to be handling.”
While the Rams are not expected to make a play for Mark Sanchez or Kirk Cousins, one must wonder what they’ll do should Hill get injured.
“I hadn’t thought of that,” Benoit admitted. “You don’t think about two quarterbacks going down, but I guess the football gods don’t care, right? (But the) chances of them finding an experienced backup behind Shaun Hill are very slim – because those type of guys are the Shaun Hills. And chances are, anyone who’s experienced that they could get, they might even want to play ahead of Shaun Hill. If he’s the guy they stick with, I think they roll the dice and say he’s the guy all the way.”
Unfortunately for the Rams, they play in the toughest division in football. Even with Bradford, there’s a decent chance St. Louis would have finished last in the NFC West, which boasts the last two NFC champions and another team, Arizona, that won 10 games last season.
“I think that is one of the unintended consequences that the league has encountered (since) they realigned in 2002,” Benoit said. “I’m sure this kind of thing came up in the meetings that they had, but when they went from five teams in the division to four teams, that really shifted a lot of balance of power. But yes, you’re right: divisions matter very much.”