Sam Bradford: Slamming Sammy Struggles, But It Isn't Time To Panic

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2010

Sam Bradford
Sam BradfordJoe Robbins/Getty Images

Finally the fat lady has sung, and Week 1 of preseason football is well and truly in the books.

In a week that has seen it's fair share of impressive yet concerning story lines, it is fair to say that so far, this years NFL season is set to be as explosive and as exciting as past years have been.

However, as much as we are all eager for the real games to kick off and energize us all, believe it or not, preseason football does have some meaning when it comes to determining how certain players will do in the coming year.

Perhaps one of the most important factors that comes with preseason games, is the constant rookie watch that is undertaken by each and every fan.

So far we've seen just about every rookie in action, and if it isn't Dez Bryant being released from a ridiculously large ankle brace boot, it's Jimmy Clausen lighting up and impressing folks over in Carolina, as he looks to backup starting quarterback Matt Moore nicely this season.

But before we study these seemingly less important rookies in comparison to Tim Tebow and Ndamukong Suh right now, how is the NFL's newly deemed "golden boy" Sam Bradford doing right now?

Well, if you've just gotten home or are one of those select fans that ignores preseason games, Sam Bradford notably struggled in his very first game as the St. Louis Rams' starting quarterback.

As expected, Sam Bradford took the field to a huge ovation.  After all, Sam Bradford is quite possibly the only remaining beacon of light in St. Louis remaining, behind Steven Jackson of course.

Yes, the applause was loud, and the cheer for what many people believe to be the next great passer in the league was definitely heard at home on our television screens.

But what went on to unfold on the field, certainly wasn't worthy of any appreciation.

In Sam Bradford's first ever real NFL game, he started off poorly.  A bobbled snap, short dinky passes and an overall lack of confidence seemed to sweep over the former Oklahoma star, who we all expected would handle a tough defense like Minnesota better.

Of course, there is the obvious theory that Sam Bradford did have defensive standout Jared Allen right across from him, but when it comes to forceful lineman, it isn't something Bradford hasn't encountered before.

So what was the reason for this disappointing display?

It's simple, he's a rookie, and more so than that, he is a St. Louis Rams quarterback, that has been given the near impossible task to turn this franchise around, and set them on a winning path.

Unfortunately for Sam Bradford, the games scoreline didn't do him any favors.  The rest of the Rams team struggled, and at the end of the game the score card read Minnesota 28 - St. Louis 7.

Credit Bradford though, he remained positive, and here is what he had to say:

"It was fun to get out there, get hit a couple times, get hit, get knocked down, get back up," Bradford said. "Just getting back into the flow of a football game was fun."

Now, for those more critical fans, I do understand that you would be more than likely criticizing Sam Bradford at the present time.

But for those more optimistic fans like myself, I suggest you stick on the bandwagon, as one poor preseason game certainly does not highlight how Bradford's remaining year will or will not turn out.

Look at it this way, Sam Bradford is a talented guy, and at the end of the day, he didn't get drafted number one overall to turn out to be a huge disappointment.

Sure, a Ryan Leaf style argument could be made about Sam Bradford, but are we really willing to throw this impressive rookie under the bus so early?  I know I'm not.

Therefore, give Sam Bradford a chance.  He missed passes tonight, however somehow people have managed to miss the point that Sam Bradford was the most impressive player during the NFL Combine this year, and had just about every team wishing they could draft him.

Also, let's remember that the Rams were short of their starting running back Steven Jackson tonight, and this acts as a serious handicap to any rookie quarterback when trying to help a team.

Against Minnesota the Rams were heavily outscored.  Statistically the team is 6-42 in the past three seasons, and for St. Louis fans, this is surely stat that you would shy away from.

But like a true coach, Steve Spagnuolo stepped up to the plate, and admitted that some rebuilding is still to be done.

"In the first quarter, we did a decent job, after that, I think it's obvious we've got a lot of things to work on, both sides of the ball".

Before we look at the team, Sam Bradford will always be the focus.  And while we're on the topic, cut the rookie some slack.  He was a standout in College, a standout entering the Draft, and is still the right guy for the job in St. Louis.

Let's hope slamming Sam gets the job done a little better in the future.  As for tonight's game, it was the Minnesota Vikings, and while I'm not making excuses, this is a very defensively oriented team, and it doesn't help when they hound a young quarterback.

For the Rams, a team effort is needed, not just a single player work ethic.  It's been a problem in the past, and for the most part, still is.  Like the old saying goes "A player is only as good as his team", and Sam Bradford is certainly doing his best to change that right now. 

Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report . He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters . Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports .  Don't forget to follow him on Twitter .