If players in today’s NFL aren’t evolving, they are falling behind. For St. Louis Rams’ QB Sam Bradford, that statement couldn’t have any more validity as the signal caller completed his third season as the man under center for the franchise in 2012 showing some real progress. Bradford may not be considered in the upper echelon of quarterbacks just yet, but don’t be surprised if he continues to trend in that direction over the coming seasons.
While seeing the field helps for obvious reasons like experience and accruing statistics, playing all 16 games in 2012 may have been more helpful to Bradford mentally than anything else. According to the quarterback: “Last year was extremely frustrating for me, probably one of the hardest years I’ve had at any level of sports having to sit out as many games as I did. So to be able to make it through this year completely healthy and play all 16, that’s something I hope I can continue to do and not miss any games.”
A high ankle sprain limited Bradford in 2011 forcing him to sit out six games and he suffered a few setbacks with the injury including some lingering issues coming into the preseason. Considering the pressure that Bradford has been under during his three years in the league, getting through a year unscathed is a definite step in the right direction.
It showed on the stat sheet as well with the quarterback recording career-high numbers in passing yards (3,702), touchdown passes (21), yards per attempt (6.7) and passer rating (82.6). If you factor in the idea that this was Bradford’s third season in the league and his third new offense to absorb, the numbers seem even more impressive.
Head coach Jeff Fisher thought so as well saying: “I thought Sam played well. I thought Sam got better as the year went on. He had a much better feel for opponents, much better feel for what we were doing. We asked him to do a lot more stuff on the line of scrimmage.” That will most likely continue with Bradford now having a full offseason to gain even more knowledge of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s schemes.
Bradford loves that thought as he said: “You have no idea. I’m extremely excited about the future of this team and this organization. Hopefully for the first time since I’ve been here, we’ll come back with the same staff, the same offense and just be able to build on what we were able to do this year. It’s not easy changing offenses and changing systems. I really like what we’re doing. I really like Schotty and what he was able to do this year. Hopefully he’s back, hopefully this whole staff is back and we can just fine tune everything and start working on the little things.”
Continuity will be huge for this entire Rams offense going forward. Just having that extra security in your head of knowing where your fellow players will be out on the field will allow the Rams the ability to be that much more successful in 2013. Look out for Bradford as a potential breakout player next season as the Rams continue to retool this roster in all of the right ways.
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