Originally written on Rams Herd  |  Last updated 11/4/14
For three years now, Rams fans have been told to have patience with Sam Bradford. We have all heard the excuses, new offensive coordinator (each year), no quarterback coach (last year), terrible quarterback coach (first year), wide receivers that can’t get separation (all three years), wide receivers that can’t get deep, and, of course, inconsistent or bad offensive line play. However, I have not seen an article yet get into detail on these excuses so we can determine if they are explanations or excuses. I will attempt to address that now, so you can form your own conclusions. We all know that a quarterback, whether or running QB or pocket QB, cannot excel without an offensive line which is at least adequate. We can all agree that Sam Bradford had a good to great rookie year. Why? I propose to you that the consistency on the offensive line was the major reason. Certainly, it was not the amazing talent that he had to throw to (addressed later).  The Offensive Line In 2010, the same person started at left tackle, center, right guard and left guard all year. The right tackle was Jason Smith, and he only missed one game. No one on that line was an all-star, but Sam Bradford knew their strengths and weaknesses. He knew or should have known when he was going to have protection problems because he knew who was protecting him. In 2011, the line was in amazing disarray. The only person to start every game was Harvey Dahl, yet Dahl did not start every game at the same position. Rodger Saffold started 9 games. Jason Smith started 6 games.  Jacob Bell started 12 games, and Jason Brown started 14 games. In got interesting thereafter. Adam Goldberg started 8 games at multiple positions. Tony Wragge started 8 games, and Mark LeVoir started three games. The incredibly famous Kevin Hughes and Thomas Welch each played in multiple games. It should surprise no one that Sam Bradford got hurt in 2011 and only played in 10 games. So far in 2012, Sam Bradford has been inconsistent, but so has his line. Barry Richardson, who was ranked as one of the worst offensive lineman in the league last year by Pro Football Focus, has started all 11 games for the Rams. Harvey Dahl has started 11 games and so has Robert Turner. Otherwise, Rodger Saffold has started 5 games, Chris Wells 2 games, Quinn Ojinnaka 5 games, Shelley Smith 6 games and Wayne Hunter started 4 games. We now have our regulars back. If my theory is correct, we should see improvement in Bradford’s play over the remaining five games. This is borne out by the chart above, which shows that - aside from Barry RIchardson - the vast majority of QB hits and sacks have come from backups on this year's line. Last week was one of Bradford’s best. While his completion percentage was not up to par, many of his incompletions were throw aways.  His quarterback rating was his second best of the season and fifth best of his career. The Receiving Corps The other major issue for Sam Bradford in his short career has been his targets. In 2010, his wide receivers were Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola, Laurent Robinson, Danario Alexander (on one knee), Mark Clayton, Mardy Gilyard (on the sidelines) and Dominique Curry.  If you remember, many of us were expecting great things from Donnie Avery in 2010 (or at least hoping), but he got injured by the turf monsters in pre-season.  Danny Amendola proved in 2010 that he could be a reliable option, and he had 85 receptions. Danario Alexander, when he was healthy, was spectacular, but he was only able to play in 8 games and started only 2. Mark Clayton looked like he was going to be the guy who could get separation and make a key catch when necessary, but he only made it through the first five games before getting injured. Otherwise, Brandon Gibson was his normal inconsistent self with numerous drops. Laurent Robinson was his normal, non-2011, self, which means unspectacular. Mardy Gilyard and Dominque Curry had no impact. It is somewhat surprising that Bradford had as good a year as he had in 2010. Last year was an embarrassment from the wide receiver perspective. Danny Amendola and Mark Clayton, the only two receivers on the team that showed any ability to consistently get open, went down quickly.  Bradford was left with Danario Alexander (still gimpy), Brandon Gibson, Brandon Lloyd, Nick Miller, and two rookies who were not ready for the NFL, Austin Pettis and Greg Salas. This year, Bradford has Danny Amendola, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Brandon Gibson, Brian Quick and Steve Smith as targets. When healthy Danny Amendola is a reliable target, but can have difficulty when doubled teamed. Chris Givens has shown an immediate ability to get deep, but his other skills need refinement. Brandon Gibson and Austin Pettis can get some separation, but it is slight. Bradford has to be perfect to complete a pass to either. Brian Quick is the guy that we need desperately. He is someone that has the build to handle press coverage, with sufficient quickness to get some separation. Unfortunately, Quick is completely lost right now in this offense and Bradford has zero confidence in him.  Steve Smith’s balky knee does not allow him to get separation, even from the nickel cornerback or linebacker. In my opinion, Sam Bradford has shown every skill necessary to be a top quarterback. Even without a single pro bowler on the line, he has shown that he can perform when he at least has consistency on the line.  When he has a legit deep threat, he can get the ball deep.  The real question is whether Bradford has the ability to show consistency, when he has consistency around him. Certainly, Bradford needs reliable players around him. However, we fans want to be able to rely on excellence from Bradford when that occurs. Will we see it in the next five games? I believe we will.  What do you think?
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Matt Kemp reportedly has arthritis in both hips

Saints pose legitimate threat to any playoff team

Danny Ainge: Celtics 'having a lot of discussions' about trades

Eagles fan posts on Craigslist seeking help for team

Michael Vick has almost paid off all his massive debt

Russell Wilson changes agents ahead of big payday

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dolphins CB: Brady needs to 'wake up' about playing into 40s

Bears to bench Jay Cutler, start Jimmy Clausen

Wes Welker once pulled funny UGG prank on Tom Brady

Wil Myers heads to Padres in 11-player, 3-team trade

Bo Pelini calls Nebraska AD a ‘c–t’ and ‘p-ssy’

49ers release Ray McDonald

Dwight Howard kicks Nuggets mascot Rocky

Report: Bears in disbelief over Cutler benching

Is Titans-Jaguars the worst prime-time game this century?

Ranking the most underrated players in the NBA

Darrelle Revis feels sad for Rex Ryan

Five reasons why Oregon will win College Football Playoff

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason so far

Report: Celtics in serious trade talks involving Rondo

WATCH: Brandon Jennings makes mind-boggling play

WATCH: Drake intros Raptors on 'Drake Night'

Brian Billick owns Browns fan over Johnny Manziel criticism

WATCH: Did Flyers' Giroux wipe boogers on linesman’s back?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Report: Matt Kemp has arthritis in hips

NBA's most underrated players

Michael Vick nearly debt-free

Dolphins CB rips Brady's career plans

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

C's in serious trade talks about Rondo

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Four can't-miss match-ups in NFL's Week 16

RG3 quits social media for season

Each NFL division’s MVP

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.