After watching another ho-hum, ever-frustrating performance by Sam Bradford last night on “Monday Night Football” (yes, I was the one person outside of Seattle and St. Louis watching this), I couldn’t help but wonder how long it will take for people turn on Bradford.
Considering reports are already coming out that Jacksonville might be ready to admit their mistake with rookie Blaine Gabbert (the 10th pick in 2011 draft) after just one season, it’s pretty apparent that teams league-wide are getting wise enough not to waste time on a quarterback who isn’t producing. Gabbert is currently 3-8, with a league-low 65.3 passer rating, and looks completely scared in the pocket.
Bradford — now in his second year — is also struggling mightily.
The NFL is clearly a quarterback-driven league, in which rookie quarterbacks no longer get the benefit of the doubt when they fail early on in their careers. Recently we have witnessed rookie quarterbacks be competent enough to make the playoffs (Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez), and this year Andy Dalton is trying to lead the Bengals to the postseason.
Then year two comes around, and we really get a glimpse of what a quarterback can do. For example, Peyton Manning’s rookie season didn’t go so well (3-13), but his second season went a lot better (13-3). Roethlisberger won the Super Bowl in his sophomore season. Flacco, Ryan and Sanchez have all been good quarterbacks since, making return trips to the playoffs.
Which brings us to the case of Sam Bradford. Will Bradford get extra time to prove himself solely because he was the No. 1 pick? From a statistical and situational standpoint, what’s the difference between Bradford and Colt McCoy?
Here’s how they compare statistically:
Sam Bradford: 8-18 as starter, 218 ypg, 24 TDs, 21 INTs, 74.2 rating
Colt McCoy: 6-15 as starter, 205 ypg, 20 TDs, 20 INTs, 74.5 rating
Those are nearly identical lines. Both have sub-par offensive weapons (Bradford actually has the edge with Steven Jackson and Brandon Lloyd). Both have had sub-par coaching (Steve Spagnuolo vs. Eric Mangini and Pat Shurmur). Both appear poised enough to look the part of the quarterback (they’re not Tyler Palko awful), yet still have major problems getting the ball downfield or in the end zone.
Yet, it’s McCoy who’s standing out as the career backup, while Bradford will most likely get the year two mulligan.
I’m not saying Bradford is an official bust yet, but why aren’t more people discussing this probability?