NFL St Louis Rams

St. Louis Rams’ Potential Replacements for Sam Bradford

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Potential Replacements For Sam Bradford

St. Louis Rams
Bob Donnan-USA Today Sports

Sam Bradford was on pace to have his best statistical season as an NFL player for the St. Louis Rams before tearing the ACL in his left knee on Sunday. Bradford had completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 1,687 yards for 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Despite his best year so far, Bradford has been scrutinized for not raising his teammates' level of play and being erratic at times on passes. His efficiency has improved greatly since Zac Stacy took over the starting running back job. The addition of Stacy helped balance the Rams offense and take pressure off of Bradford.

Bradford started the game against the Carolina Panthers on a bad note, throwing a pick-six to Captain Munnerlyn. It was the first interception Bradford had thrown in three games, and he recovered nicely completing 21-of-30 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown before going down on a scramble play. Bradford had shown his ability to throw the ball deep hitting Brian Quick for 73 yards setting up a touchdown earlier in the game. In the second half the Rams' offensive line continued to break down under the pressure of the Panthers' defensive line forcing Bradford to find space in the pocket and eventually take off and run. If the Rams offense cannot protect their QB then they should seek a mobile replacement for Bradford.

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer likes quarterbacks that are accurate in the short passing game like Bradford and before an epic fall from grace, Mark Sanchez. Here are some potential replacements for the Rams to consider.

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Matt Cassel Could Be A Cheap Trade

Matt Cassel
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA Today Sports

Matt Cassel has experience as a starter and a backup in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings brought in Josh Freeman to be their starter putting Cassel back on the bench. Minnesota now has some depth at QB but are still far from being a playoff team. They could be looking to dump Cassel for a pick or two in the upcoming draft. Cassel has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes during his NFL career with more touchdowns (85) than interceptions (59). His most productive year was when he took over for St. Louis' nemesis Tom Brady for the New England Patriots in 2008. With his services not being needed in Minnesota, St. Louis could look to trade a 6th round pick for him.

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Matt Leinart Fits Schottenheimer's Offense

Matt Leinart
Kevin Hoffman-USA Today Sports

Matt Leinart's career is seemingly over after being cut by the Buffalo Bills in August. He possesses the short game accuracy that fits well into Brian Schottenheimer's scheme, but he has lacked the ability to recognize defenses quickly in the NFL. Most teams have given up on the former No. 10 overall pick from the 2006 NFL Draft. The biggest knock on him throughout his career has been his lack of arm strength. The Rams brass might be willing to give Leinart one more shot in the NFL to prove his worth. If he were to provide some stability for the rest of the year the Rams would likely sign him to be a backup next year over Kellen Clemens and Austin Davis.

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If Case Keenum Can Start, Why Not Graham Harrell?

Graham Harrell
Benny Sieu-USA Today Sports

Graham Harrell led an explosive spread offense in college, the type of offense that tends to scare NFL teams away from a player. He relied heavily on short routes and receivers gaining yards after the catch. Harrell lacks the true arm strength to be a starter in the league much like Leinart. In today's league you have to have some arm strength to make every throw and squeeze the ball into tight spaces. Harrell has never really received enough playing time in the NFL to try and prove himself or get comfortable in an offense. In order for him to succeed early St. Louis would have to implement a lot of shotgun spread packages similar to his college days. Schottenheimer and Fisher have both neglected to let Bradford run a spread offense during their tenure in St. Louis, so it is unrealistic to think they would change for Harrell.

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Tyler Thigpen Could Add Depth

Tyler Thigpen
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA Today Sports

Tyler Thigpen is an available option for the Rams, but let's just say he probably isn't too high on the Rams' list. He is a clear downgrade from Bradford and probably equal to Clemens as far as productivity. He hasn't thrown as many interceptions as Clemens has, but he only completes 54 percent of his passes. For a fan base that complained about Bradford's sometimes wild throws, Thigpen would be worse, much worse. He could give the Rams another QB on the depth chart, but he would fail to provide any chance at salvaging the season if he started.

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Dennis Dixon Provides Mobile QB Option

Dennis Dixon
John Geliebter-USA Today Sports

Now we move on to the exciting mobile quarterbacks. Dennis Dixon was an electrifying college player that ran well and was accurate enough to hit the open man. His NFL career has been to back up Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Michael Vick. The only playing time he saw for these teams was when the starters went down, and he was never going to be relied on to be a starter in the NFL. He has the speed and mobility that could fit into a read-option offense, but his arm strength and accuracy lack true potential. Since the Rams can't give their quarterback time in the pocket Dixon could buy time with his legs. If teams have to worry about Dixon taking off then Chris Givens, Brian Quick, andJared Cook could get open down field. The only problem with that equation is that Dixon would have to hit them in stride, and that's a lot to ask of him. He could be a St. Louis Ram at a bargain, but he would have to develop quickly to provide the Rams with any positive returns on their investment.

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Vince Young Has A History Under Fisher

Vince Young
Benny Sieu-USA Today Sports

I said he has a history. I didn't say it was a good one, did I? Still, Young is a player that could give the Rams a mobile option, and Jeff Fisher knows what he can and can't do. He would definitely be a cheap player to grab. His passing ability is one of the worst on the list, but the guy has won for most of his life on the football field. He would probably be the last player that Fisher would even consider to join the team. It could make the Rams more exciting when he keeps a play alive with his legs only to end it with an interception from his arm.

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Tebow Time in St. Louis?

Tim Tebow
Andrew Weber-USA Today Sports

This is the most well spread rumor in the NFL right now. Is it really going to be Tebow Time in the Lou? It is understandable to think that the Rams would want to bring in the most polarizing player out of the league right now. Realistically, Tim Tebow doesn't fit into Fisher and Schottenheimer's scheme at all. He lacks accuracy on all passes and doesn't read defenses well at all unless it's a read option play. Another question that has to be asked is whether Schottenheimer has the creativity to mold the offense around Tebow. His playbook has done nothing to generate exciting offensive plays with the exception of a few deep passes once every other week. Can he really create a new offense based on Tebow's abilities? The bottom line is that the addition of Tebow would instantly make the Rams a must watch team for a couple of weeks until the Tebow aura wears off. On a positive note, you could actually hear about the Rams on TV outside of St. Louis for once.