For the second year in a row, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has suffered a torn ACL. A short time later, Rams coach Jeff Fisher confirmed Bradford’s season was over and journeyman Shaun Hill would be the team’s starting quarterback.
“We move forward as a football team,” Fisher said. “Shaun’s our guy. We’ve brought him here, he’s got experience, we’ve got all the confidence in the world in him.”
Hill has 26 starts between 2007 and 2010, but has not started a game since the 2010 season, where he took over for an injured Matthew Stafford with the Detroit Lions. He threw for 2,686 yards and 16 touchdowns over 13 games (10 starts) for 5.43 adjusted net yards per attempt that season. Over the period of 2010 to 2013, which coincided with Bradford entering the league, Hill has averaged 5.79 adjusted net yards per attempt which, despite the small sample size, is average for the league. Bradford, on the other had, was not.
Bradford was below the league average for traditional metrics like completion and touchdown percentage and some of the more advanced ones like net yards per attempt, adjusted net yards per attempt and ESPN’s Total QBR rating.
Sam Bradford out for season. Since 2010, Bradford ranks 29th in Total QBR out of 32 eligible QBs.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 25, 2014
In other words, the Rams offense isn’t losing a player who is irreplaceable.
However, there are other options out there.
Eagles’ backup Mark Sanchez could be reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, who is now in St. Louis. However, that doesn’t appear to be likely.
Jimmy Garoppolo could make Ryan Mallett obsolete as the backup in New England, but Mallett has just four passing attempts over the past three seasons so is largely an unknown.
Christian Ponder, a former 12th overall pick, faces a logjam in Minnesota at the quarterback position (Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater), but outside of a 2012 campaign where he started all 16 games (4.99 adjusted net yards per attempt) there isn’t much to be excited about.
The Rams are better off just standing pat since none of the above appear to be a significant upgrade to Hill.
The loss of Bradford, on paper, appears to impact the Rams season. But in reality, Hill may be a slight upgrade.