The No. 1 overall pick from the 2010 NFL Draft has had to endure more difficulty than perhaps any other starting QB in the NFL over the last two seasons.
The Rams have been terrible, but Bradford led them to a 7-9 record as a rookie, as he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Then in 2011, the bottom fell out. The Rams lost both starting offensive tackles to season-ending injuries. The starting center was benched. The top receiver, Danny Amendola, was lost for the season in the first half of Week 1.
It was one thing after another.
Throw in the fact that Bradford was working for his second offensive coordinator in two seasons, in an offseason shortened by the lockout no less, and Bradford never found his footing in 2011. A high ankle sprain suffered at Green Bay caused Bradford to miss six games, and the Rams finished the season 2-14.
Jeff Fisher was brought in to replace Steve Spagnuolo as the head coach. Fisher is going to pound the run, and I expect Bradford to get a lot better protection now that his offensive line is healthy. Expect Bradford to have a season very similar to what Alex Smith did last year in San Francisco, when a new head coach was brought in to simplify things for an embattled former No. 1 overall pick.
The Rams signed Steve Smith, who led the NFL with 107 receptions while playing for the Giants in 2009. They also drafted Brian Quick in the second-round, and the 6'4" receiver should give Bradford another talented receiver to throw to. Amendola will be back and fully healthy. Throw in Steven Jackson, one of the best running backs in the NFL, and the Rams have the beginnings of a decent offense.
2011 Stats: 53% completion, 2,164 yards, six TD's, six INT's
2012 Prediction: 64% completion, 4,000 yards, 23 TD's, 10 INT's, and the Rams could sneak up and steal a wild card playoff spot.