Sam Bradford Owes St. Louis Rams GM Les Snead Big Time
Like naming his first-born son after him, huge.
Like buying him a new Bentley Phantom, huge.
Because Snead went out this offseason and hooked his quarterback up better than West Coast Customs hooks up cars on Pimp My Ride. He saw holes in the offense that was run last year that needed a ton of talent to fill them.
He needed to knock off those old rusty doors and provide better protection for his driver while also providing him a brand new sound system and paint job to wow the crowds.
Or in football terms, he improved the protection and provided weapons. Let's explore why exactly Sam Bradford needs to thank his general manager for the gifts bestowed upon him.
Quarterbacks need protection first and foremost
Last season's starting offensive line of Rodger Saffold, Wayne Hunter, Barry Richardson, Harvey Dahl and Scott Wells was mediocre at best.
The weakest links were at left guard and right tackle. Wells had a poor year, but with a better supporting cast, he would have been much better. Dahl is a solid player, and Saffold can effectively play either tackle spot.
So what did the Rams do?
They brought in a pair of guys who should help that offensive line tremendously. It started with a huge acquisition in former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long. The massive tackle should bring a long-term solidarity to that offensive line and will force Saffold over to the right side.
Then, at offensive guard, they drafted a guy who may not start until halfway through the year in Barrett Jones out of Alabama. But in taking him, they have a guy who can back up all five offensive line positions and should start at left guard until Wells retires.
By the end of the year, the Rams offensive line should have Long at left tackle, Jones at left guard, Wells at center, Dahl at right guard and Saffold at right tackle. It will be big, it will be mean and it will be able to provide Sam Bradford beaucoup protection from oncoming pass-rushers.
After that, they need effective weapons
When Danny Amendola, Austin Pettis and Brandon Gibson are your best options in the passing game, you have not set your quarterback up to succeed. The Rams needed to make sure that they had someone for Sam Bradford to throw to at all three levels of the defense—short, intermediate and long.
When the Rams brought in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey through the draft and Jared Cook in free agency, they just gave Bradford the perfect weapons for Jeff Fisher and Brian Schottenheimer's offense.
When looking for deep options, guys like Brian Quick and the aforementioned Austin and Bailey will be able to stretch a defense. But more than that, intermediate routes for Quick, Bailey and Cook will open up the running game to where it's all about the blocking and hole-hitting runs.
The short passing game would include screens and running back receiving. However, if it features Austin and Bailey the way a team like the Falcons use wide receiver screens on the outside to set up mid-to-intermediate level passing, the Rams could definitely take advantage of the deep ball.
The issue they will have at running back is finding someone who can replace Steven Jackson's effectiveness as both a runner and a receiver. Fortunately for them, Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson look to be a solid platoon.
But the real addition that could shock the world is Zac Stacy. The former Commodore has a unique skill set as both a rusher and a receiver that can fit perfectly in the offense despite his diminutive frame. But the Rams will need someone of the three backs to step up to make the offense part of the division winner.
The Rams have an excellent shot to win the division. And Sam Bradford now has all the tools to make his team a true title contender. He's out of excuses, and it's time for Bradford to prove that he's the quarterback for the long-term.
And after he shows that he's the franchise quarterback this year, he should be more than willing to hook up his general manager with whatever he would want.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.
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