Remember that big, freakish tight end? Also, thoughts on Bradford, Fisher, and the safety position.
I don’t understand the Rams’ usage of tight end Jared Cook. Cook went off Week 1 against Arizona catching seven passes for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sam Bradford targeted Cook 10 times, more than any other game this season. In the six games since, Cook has a combined 32 receptions for 203 yards and zero touchdowns. He’s a below average blocking tight end — which is why 3rd stringer Corey Harkey has seen significant playing time. So when the Rams outbid the entire NFL for Cook, giving him $35 million over five years, didn’t they expect a few more games like Week 1? Well, what happened?
Even a well-documented Sam Bradford basher can admit losing him is a big time blow. Bradford played a relatively strong game at Carolina before suffering a torn ACL. Having said that, he still threw his 3rd interception returned for touchdown — all of which were or deflected. So it’s unfair to pin those entirely on Bradford, but he certainly has a hand in the problem. No team can just replace a starting quarterback circa ’99 Rams — and Kellen Clemens simply isn’t Kurt Warner. Clemens can make plays with his feet, but his inaccuracy usually does him in. It’s as simple as this: the Rams are a better team with Bradford.
Jeff Fisher needs to reevaluate his quarterback position, and if he continues to back Sam Bradford, then his job should and will ultimately be jeopardized. With another bevy of high draft picks in 2014, the Rams need to find a quarterback that they can groom as a reliable option if Bradford simply can’t answer the bell. And for a guy said to be having a “career year”, his numbers aren’t exactly eye-popping for a former No. 1 overall selection. According to Pro Football Focus, Bradford ranks 17th out of 38 eligible NFL quarterbacks in 2013.
This graph from ESPN shows how far behind the learning curve he is:
So any production from Clemens, Austin Davis, Brady Quinn or any other street free agent shouldn’t hinder the organization drafting a QB next April.
3 Wild Thoughts:
- Trade for Kirk Cousins
- Trade for Terrelle Pryor
- Trade for Ryan Mallett
Finally, the safety position is a huge problem. Fisher, a former safety himself, must recognize a secondary’s importance. From stopping the run to helping cornerbacks over the top to punishing opposing wide receivers — they play a big role. But St. Louis, who saw how Craig Dahl’s inept play hurt the team a year ago, decided that they were good with essentially two rookies at safety. Quintin Mikell became a cap casualty, and as witnessed by his play on Sunday, the 2012 Pro Bowler can still wreck havoc. His QB hit disrupted a deep pass and the Panthers had a “pick-six” on the opening play of the ballgame. Losing T.J. McDonald (broken leg) hurt, but by not upgrading the depth over Darian Stewart, he left another wide open door for disaster.
I know, the Rams are 3-4 and the Cardinals are in the World Series … my priorities are out of whack.
Thanks for reading.