Stunted Growth? Why Sam Bradford’s surroundings have let him down

Stunted Growth? Why Sam Bradford’s surroundings have let him down

Before I begin this, let me make something clear, I genuinely have absolutely no idea what I want the Eagles to do at the quarterback position. None. I like Bradford and I thought he improved a great deal down the stretch. I also like the prospect of developing Paxton Lynch or Jared Goff though so. I really don’t know.


I’m going to ignore Bradford’s play in the last 7 games. That’s been covered already. I want to look at his previous years in the league though. People always say he can’t be blamed for his performances because the situation around him was awful. Was it really that bad though? Everyone says it was awful but how bad actually was it? 


Let’s have a look at his coaching staff, offensive line, running game and receivers each year and decide how bad his surrounding talent was each year. This is important because I’ve heard lots of people say that Bradford has been in the league for 6 years so he therefore cannot improve. But if his surrounding talent is as bad as some say, surely giving him more talent will help him reach his ceiling? I obviously don’t have the time to watch Bradford offensive line play each year so I will use Pro Football Focus‘ yearly offensive line rankings which can be found on their site.


2010 – Bradford was 354/590 (60%), 3512 yards, 18 TD & 15 INT.


Coaching staff – Steve Spagnuolo was his HC and Pat Shurmur was his OC. Yikes, not ideal.


Offensive line – Ranked 26th by PFF and 22nd in pass blocking. Not exactly a good start here during Bradford’s rookie season.


Running game – Steven Jackson played all 16 games, having 330 carries for 1241 yards with 6 TDs. Overall though, the Rams running game was ranked 25th in yards. So it wasn’t good.


Receivers – His best receiver was Danny Amendola with 689 yards and 3 TDs. That’s the most receiving yards Amendola has ever had in a season. His next best receiver was Brandon Gibson with 620 yards, he’s never gone over 700 once in his career. His TE was Daniel Fells who had 391 yards, which is a career high too for him.


Verdict – Awful. I mean come on, for a rookie QB to have those receivers with no running game and a poor OL. Ouch.


2011 – Bradford started 10 games, was 191/357 (53.5%), 2164 yards 6 TD & 6 INT.


Coaching staff – Steve Spagnuolo HC, Josh McDaniels was his OC.


Offensive line – Ranked 28th in both overall and pass blocking.


Running game – 23rd overall in yards again led by Steven Jackson.


Receivers – Brandon Lloyd was his main receiver with 683 yards, he had some great years in the league later on. He only played 10 games that year though. Brandon Gibson and Danario Alexander were next with under 500 yards each. Alexander only played in 5 games though, he was on pace for over 1000 yards. Lance Kendricks was his TE.


Verdict – Awful. Lloyd and Alexander can play but they both missed a lot of games and his OL and running game were bad. But, I’m not sure that excuses how bad he was that year. 53% is not good enough regardless of the situation. Still the situation is just flat out bad.


2012 – Bradford started 16 games, was 328/551 (59.5%), 3702 yards 21 TD & 13 INT.


Coaching staff – Jeff Fisher HC, Brian Schottenheimer as OC. You have to feel for Bradford.

Offensive line – Ranked 26th overall and 21st in pass blocking. One day the Rams will fix their OL…


Running game – 19th overall in yards led by Steven Jackson, still yet to have a running game in the top half of the league.


Receivers – The top three receivers had between 650 and 700 yards – Chris Givens, Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola (for only 8 games). Amendola was on pace for a good year but couldn’t stay healthy. His TE was Lance Kendricks still who had a career year with 519 yards. Can the Rams get the man some weapons?!


Verdict – Awful. This is getting ridiculous now, it’s just flat out bad.


2013 – Bradford was looking good, going 159/262 (60.7%) for 1687 yards 14 TD and 4 INT before tearing his ACL in week 7.


Coaching staff – Jeff Fisher and Brian Schottenheimer, still.


Offensive line – 13th!! The OL was finally decent, it only ranked 17th in pass blocking but still.


Running game – 19th overall in yards once again.


Receivers – Jared Cook led the team with 671 yards. No WR had over 600 yards, with Chris Givens leading the team and Tavon Austin and Austin Pettis just behind him.


Verdict – Bad. It’s his best team so far. But his coaching staff still suck, his running game is below average but at least his OL could block that year. Maybe that’s a major reason why he was having his best year before the injury.


2014 – Bradford missed the whole year after tearing his ACL again in preseason.


2015 – Bradford started 14 games, going 346/532 (65%) for 3725 yards, 19 TD and 14 INT.


Coaching staff – Chip Kelly and Pat Shurmur. Not the Chip Kelly of 2013 though, the awful boring Chip Kelly (read why here)


Offensive line – PFF ranked the Eagles as 12th overall and 18th in pass blocking which I found generous.


Running game – The Eagles ranked 14th in yards which isn’t that impressive when you consider the up-tempo

approach, it was also incredibly inconsistent.


Receivers – By far the best he’s played with, which says a lot. Jordan Matthews had 997 yards and Zach Ertz had 853. They are the two best players he’s thrown to throughout his career. After that though the receivers were atrocious as we all know by now.


Verdict- Below average. It wasn’t a good offense, simply put. The offense was dull and just not very well coached. The running game wasn’t consistent and even Matthews and Ertz weren’t great all year.


So what can we conclude from this? I don’t know. I’m not defending Bradford or attacking Bradford. I agree that if he was a stud he would have elevated the talent around him. But not many quarterbacks can do that. 


After looking at this. You cannot deny that Bradford has been an incredibly unlucky quarterback in regards to the talent around him and coaching. Does that mean he’s a top 12 franchise quarterback though? No. Not yet anyway. If the Eagles do decide to keep him around though, PLEASE get the man some more weapons and a better offensive line.

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