Originally posted on Rams Herd  |  Last updated 11/21/11

In the wake of this howlingly bad loss to the Seattle Seahawks, blame is being spread around like melted butter on a hot pan. Fire Spagnuolo. Fire McDaniels. Fire Devaney. And those are the big targets. This season is too far gone to pick on lesser targets like Ken Flajole and Steve Loney, men who are expected to be caught up like lint in the wake of the "sweeping changes" that Rams fans demand.

But there's another target who is deservedly attracting blame, one that makes us profoundly uncomfortable to point out: our golden boy, Sam Bradford. Before he got hurt, we could make a legitimate case that he was better than his stats, thanks to a receiving corps that dropped balls by the dozens. But now, there's no arguing that his game has severely regressed.

Borrowing (and butchering) a sentiment from the Righteous Brothers, an early diagnosis of Sam's troubles can be reduced to this: He's lost that winning feeling.

You never open your eyes any more when you make your reads...

We can pin a lot of blame on Josh McDaniels here, both for his wildly diverging offensive gameplans from week to week, and for his decision to not hire a dedicated quarterbacks coach to help him parse the gameplan in real time. (This has become a cause célèbre among Rams writers.)

We could also wonder about his comfort level with his constantly rotating cast of receivers. Bradford has had four different receivers start games in the slot: Danny Amendola, Greg Salas, Austin Pettis, and now Mark Clayton. His security blanket routes may not feel secure any more.

Whatever the cause, Sam's head is no longer swiveling. Stepping back from center, he looks as rigid as a London Beefeater, his eyes locked in one direction as he stares down his primary receiver. He no longer has the ability to envision routes unfolding in his mind ... he has to see it happen in front of him.

The result is that very little separates Sam Bradford from Mark Sanchez right now. When his primary read is open, he is making the throw roughly 2/3 of the time. When that read is shut down, or takes too long to develop, he is lost and you can pretty much write off the play, and the drive.

There's no tenderness, any more, in your fingertips

We aren't alone in making these observations. Compare what NFL Films guru Greg Cosell had to say about Bradford a year ago...

    "Because of his accuracy, he will always make his receivers better in the long run, because he's very compact, and he's very accurate. Believe me, I'm not comparing him to Tom Brady at this point in time, but I think he has attributes like that."

... to what he says about Bradford now:

    "I think he's been tentative, QBs can't play tentatively in this league. Checking down, unwilling to throw down field."

Bradford's vaunted accuracy has gone out the window, and a big problem comes in his approach to the throws themselves. His touch, his feel for throws has disappeared completely. You never see him lead a receiver, or loft a ball over the top, or put air under a throw. Every throw is a "stick" throw, as if he's afraid that the window for making a play will disappear unless he guns the ball as hard as he can.

As a result, receivers are dropping balls off their chests, off their hands, and throws are coming in at bad angles, forcing receivers to stop or leap awkwardly to make catches. Yards after the catch have disappeared almost completely. And his deep routes leave no room for receivers to adjust to them. He just guns the ball down field, and either the receiver catches up to it, draws a flag, or it falls harmlessly out of reach.

You're trying hard not to show it... Bradford

Sam is known for his quiet demeanor, for not showing his emotion, for not calling out his players. But that veneer is wearing awfully thin now, and I don't think he's doing anyone any favors by keeping quiet. You can build rapport with your receivers with all the positive reinforcement you want, but if the WR lines up wrong, or runs a bad route, the QB has to set him straight. And if the QB throws a bad throw, it's on him to say "my bad."

We can talk about the lack of trust that Bradford might have in his receivers all we want, but trust is a two-way street. What trust should his WRs have in their quarterback right now? What has Sam earned along those lines?

It's time to let down the shield. If Sam can't lead by example -- and right now he isn't -- he needs to find another way.

But Bradford, Bradford you know it...

"I'm beyond frustrated right now," said Bradford after the game. "I've never been a part of a team that's been in this situation. I don't like it. I hope this is the only time in my career that I'm ever in a situation like this.

"I do know this: I know we have six games left in the season, and I'm going to continue to do everything I can to help this team win. I'm not going to quit. I'm going to push our guys to continue to work and I think that's all we can do right now.

"Obviously it's not what we envisioned it to be at the beginning of the year. But that doesn't mean because we are 2-8 right now that we can give up. There are no excuses. We've got to continue to fight, and we've got to figure out a way to win games.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: JJ Watt re-injures back, facing extended absence

Nationals GM: Strasburg ‘unlikely to pitch in NLDS’

Nebraska regent wants players kicked off team for kneeling during anthem

WATCH: Wayne Gretzky tells the hilarious story of his secret Hall of Fame visit

Wilson Ramos done for year with torn ACL

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Sam Allardyce, English FA announce contract termination just 67 days into the job

Report: Clint Dempsey to miss rest of 2016 MLS season

Report: Rose not revealing true concern over rape investigation

UFC 205 headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez

Greg Hardy told police someone slipped cocaine in his wallet

Report: LSU will ‘gauge the interest’ of Saban, Meyer, others

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Green Beret shares how he helped alter Kaepernick protest

Gordon: Hitting HR for Fernandez ‘best moment of my life’

Box Score: 9/27 - Goodbyes, farewells and hurdles

Kevin Garnett's unique career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

15 greatest calls of Vin Scully's career

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Kevin Garnett's unique NBA career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker