Sam Bradford could enjoy a breakout season in 2012.
The St. Louis Rams are about to turn back the clock. Air it out? Throw it all over the field? I don't think so. The Rams are about to pound teams with the run and play a Neanderthal style of football. In an era where NFL offenses look like something out of an XBox game, the Rams are going against the grain.
So we just need Sam Bradford to give his best Alex Smith impersonation, right?
Not so fast. The Rams just might surprise a lot of people this year with the passing game in 2012. Sure, the Rams only averaged 12 points per game last year, and there is no denying that they were terrible on offense, but a lot of things can change in a year.
The Rams also might prove that you don't have to air it out to be explosive.
In his most recent Monday Morning Quarterback, Tuesday Edition, Peter King of Sports Illustrated made some terrific observations about the New England Patriots passing attack. King pointed out how the addition of Brandon Lloyd, the former St. Louis Rams wideout, might make the Patriots passing game even better in 2012.
Speaking about Lloyd, King said, "He's also going to add another dimension to an already multidimensional offense: a genuine deep threat. For all of his production, Brady never really had one last year, as Ochocinco failed in his season in New England, and Brady's top three receivers -- Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez -- all operate best at short range, between the hash marks."
How many passing yards will Bradford go for in 2012?
There is no denying that Brady is an elite QB and a first ballot Hall of Famer, but it wasn't all that long ago that the argument between Brady and Peyton Manning was "rings vs. stats." Manning always put up great numbers, whereas Brady had the better team, put up okay numbers and won Super Bowl rings. It wasn't until 2007, Brady's eighth season in the NFL, that he had a monster passing season.
So where am I going with this? What does this have to do with Sam Bradford and the Rams?
Brady is an elite QB, and the Pats have one of the best offenses in the NFL. This has been true for years. My point is, the Patriots, other than the 2007 season where Brady hooked up with Randy Moss, have always been a dink-and-dunk type of offense. As King pointed out, the Pats "operate best at short range, between the hash marks."
Danny Amendola is very similar to Welker and could easily top the 85 catches he had in 2010. Lance Kendricks, in his second season, should be a big-time weapon at tight end. Steve Smith, who by all accounts is having a great camp with the Rams, led the NFL in catches with 107 back in 2009. Smith is only 27 years old, and if he is truly healthy, the Rams could have an elite trio in Smith, Amendola and Kendricks.
The Rams are going to make teams stop the run. They are going to force teams to put eight men in the box. Steven Jackson, running behind a fullback for the first time in years, is going to get his. That is the one thing all Rams' fans and smart fantasy football owners everywhere can agree on.
Who is the best receiver on the Rams' roster?
Those are favorable passing conditions for Sam Bradford. He has three guys that should excel in the short passing game. Rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens should give the Rams depth and another dimension as deep threats. Greg Salas was impressive as a rookie a season ago. Rookie Isaiah Pead is a weapon coming out of the backfield as a running back.
One more factor to consider is offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who is surely looking to redeem himself after being heavily criticized as the OC for the New York Jets a year ago. Schottenheimer is a smart guy, and you know he is just dying to show everybody that the mess that happened with the Jets wasn't his fault.
Add it all up, and I think the Rams could really shock people with this offense. They are definitely deeper and more talented. Now it's just up to all of these players to step up their game at the same time. If that happens, with the talent the Rams have on defense, this could be a fun team to watch.
We'll get our first sneak peek this weekend as the Rams take on the Colts. I can't wait. As always, thanks for reading.