May all the people who doubted the Rams for picking Bradford be silenced.
On Friday evening, the St. Louis Rams quarterback was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in an absolute landslide, taking 45 of the 50 votes (Mike Williams received four, Maurkice Pouncey had two).
This should come as no surprise to anyone who watched Bradford take a lowly, laughing stock of a team in the Rams and guide them to within one game of a playoff spot. It really was a magical year for Bradford and you can't help but be happy for the rookie.
Heading into the season there were several people who wished the Rams would take Ndamukong Suh out of Nebraska, pointing out the risks in Bradford's health and his ability to switch to a West Coast offense. I will admit, even I was sceptical in the beginning when it came to Bradford.
However, once he was in a uniform, something funny began to happen—he made people believe. Whether it was a foundation of belief in himself, the team or the future, Bradford made us all believe that he would be able to withstand whatever challenges came his way. It wasn't long after that he became this beacon of hope that had long been diminished from the Rams fan base.
It wasn't all smooth sailing, however. In his preseason debut, Bradford was demolished by the Minnesota Vikings; getting hit just about every other time he dropped back. In his regular season debut, he struggled some more; tossing three interceptions and being sacked twice in a close loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Despite this, Bradford continued to grow. He studied the playbook harder, practiced harder and worked harder than any rookie quarterback in recent memory. The result? Setting the rookie record for completions in a season along with finishing near the top in several other rookie passing categories.
The offense whose heart beat solely for Steven Jackson finally found another pulse.
Out of everything he did this season, however, the most impressive aspect of it all was the fact that he did it with arguably the worst group of receivers in the league. It isn't that the Rams receivers were bad necessarily, but they just didn't have a go-to receiver.
Danny Amendola, a third-year receiver, was arguably the most experienced of the group. Bradford made them better. Go ahead and accuse me of overselling Bradford, but if you watched him play this season you'd understand, this guy is something special.
Bradford has a long ways to go. He made several bad decisions last season, there were times where he forgot to set his mental clock and he wasn't too solid in the red zone. However, it would be really tough to bet against him improving his second go-round.
As he gains more and more experience, the game will begin slowing down for him. Picture the song "All Kinds of Time" by Fountains of Wayne:
He takes a step back
He's under attack
But he knows that no one can touch him now
He seems so at ease
A strange inner peace
Is all that he's feeling somehow
He's got all kinds of time
As Bradford continues to mature and learn McDaniels' offense, he will be growing into one of the NFL's best. It won't be next year and maybe not the year after, but there is no denying he will be an elite quarterback one day.
His day will come when everything just clicks and he realizes that he has all kinds of time. Suddenly, he'll look down the field and see Julio Jones running in slow motion, breaking free from his man. Bradford will release and hit Jones in perfect stride for a touchdown. Then he'll trot back to the sideline and wear that sly smirk and look of confidence.
This kid is going to be a good one. This Rookie of the Year award is only the beginning.
His day will come.
As a die-hard Rams fan, I can't wait.
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