Last week we covered the biggest surprise of the season, which was the Rams special teams unit. This week it’s time to identify the biggest disappointment of the Rams season.
Rather than single out specific players (Brian Quick and Chris Givens come to mind), I’m looking big picture.
Therefore, my biggest disappointment of the 2013 season is Sam Bradford’s ACL injury. This doesn’t have as much to do with “what could have been” because the Rams wouldn’t have made the playoffs no matter who started at quarterback. They dug themselves too big of a hole to start the season, and the unforgiving war zone known as the NFC West would not have allowed the Rams to climb back out.
No, the reason Bradford’s injury was so disappointing is that the Rams still don’t know whether he’s the long-term answer at quarterback.
Of course, general manager Les Snead is firmly on the record in saying Bradford is absolutely the quarterback of this team for 2014. But I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that the Rams’ brass are privately disappointed not only that Bradford has suffered yet another setback in his development but that he is now heading into his fifth year in the NFL, and nobody can definitively say whether he’s a bust, a mediocre quarterback or a legitimately good starting quarterback with a bright future.
Usually, by year five, you have some idea of a quarterback’s future. Sure, sometimes you’ll have your Josh Freemans (guys who get off to a promising start to their career then go into a tailspin in year five), Alex Smiths (late bloomers who hit rock bottom in year five after a mediocre start to their career and then have a miraculous career resurrection) or even Daunte Culpeppers (guys who peak in year five and seem destined for big things but flame out shortly thereafter instead).
But usually you have a pretty good idea what you have in your quarterback after four years of having that guy as a starter.
Not so for the Rams and Bradford. He’ll be back for 2014, but how effective will he be? Anybody who thinks they definitively know that answer is either a psychic or is full of hot air.
A very interesting feud is brewing in St. Louis.