"Battered quarterback syndrome (BQS)." Symptoms include jumpy feet, erratic throws and frustrated WRs unable to complete their routes before the whistle blows dead. Once the diagnosis is made, few have recovered.
Sam Bradford is one of those few.
In his first home preseason game in 2010, the Minnesota Vikings sacked Bradford 8 times in one half. It was his welcome to the NFL, and a harbinger of things to come. Over the next two seasons, Bradford was sacked 69 times in 26 games, and hit just as many more times. He led the league in being hit as he threw in both seasons, a sort of ignominious stat that combines toughness with total lack of protection.
By the end of 2011, the hits had taken their toll. His body had given out and his pocket discipline went with it. He showed all the symptoms of BQS.
After that season, the Rams cleaned house and were desperate to entice Jeff Fisher out of retirement and away from the similarly desperate Dolphins. The Rams offered him a blank check and full control, but Fisher had one make-or-break question: Did the Rams still have a quarterback? Or did they have the new David Carr?
It was a question that couldn't be answered by reviewing tape, or by looking at the stat sheet. By those measures, the answer would probably have been No. It was a question that Fisher needed to ask Bradford himself, face to face.
Whatever the young QB said or did in that meeting, it was enough to convince Fisher that there was more to Bradford than the tape or the stat sheet revealed. It was enough to convince him that there was still the core of a franchise quarterback under the bruised and battered exterior. Since then, Fisher and his hand-picked GM Les Snead have fully committed to Bradford, and completely remade the team around him. New center. New left tackle. New left guard. Four new receivers and a new playmaking tight end. New position coach, new offensive coordinator, new backup QB fully fluent in the new playbook.
Now, a year later, those pieces have come together and we’re starting to see Bradford’s core attributes shine through. And arguably, his success all starts with his protection up front.no comments