Sep 15, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) calls a play at the line in the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Josh Freeman was benched this week in Tampa and you get the distinct feeling that plenty of people in Minnesota aren't all that disheartened by Christian Ponder's broken ribs, a convenient injury which happens to open the door for the far more competent Matt Cassel.
Freeman and Ponder are hardly the only quarterbacks in the NFL who should be fearing for their long-term job security but at least one who should be firing up the laptop to update the resume -- St. Louis' Sam Bradford -- need not bother.
Bradford is being saved by his draft position as the last No. 1 overall pick under the old CBA -- a position which meant a massive rookie contract and the inability to easily cut ties with a mistake.
Well, that and the fact there is no legitimate alternative for the Rams.
The pedestrian Kellen Clemens is the current backup quarterback for the Rams and probably the most popular man in all of St. Louis today after Bradford's latest laughable attempt to play the position during a 35-11 fiasco of a game against NFC West rival San Francisco on Thursday night.
Bradford finished 19-for-41 for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception for the Rams (1-3), who have dropped their past three after opening the season with a victory.
"Obviously as a football team, we have a lot to work on considering what's happened the last five days," Rams head coach Jeff Fisher understated. "I have faith in this football team and we're going to get this fixed."
Not with Bradford under center.
Apologists can fall on their swords all they want for Bradford and to be fair, it's hard to look like Peyton Manning on play-action when Daryl Richardson and Benny Cunningham are running it for 22 yards on 16 carries.
But, pointing to things like that or the unimaginative offense of Brian Schottenheimer or a mediocre offensive line or the fact highly-touted rookie Tavon Austin doesn't have a clue how to run a route doesn't mask the fact that Bradford is regressing at a rapid rate.
In fact, give this guy Adrian Peterson in the backfield along with Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and Jimmy Graham to throw to and I'm still not sure he would look anything like a franchise quarterback.
Being a great signal caller in the NFL is similar to being an ace pitcher who doesn't have his best stuff on a particular night. You find a way to grind through things no matter who is stationed around you.
Take a look at Tom Brady in New England this season. You can make a strong argument that "Tom Terrific" has fewer weapons at his disposal than Bradford yet still has the Patriots at 3-0 heading into Sunday night's matchup in Atlanta.
At times you can see Brady wants to pound his head against a wall but he finds a way to make it work with Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson.
Bradford, on the other hand, is now 16-29-1 as a starter and his confidence is eroding more rapidly than the New Jersey shoreline.
In fact, one of the major reasons Schottenheimer's offense looks more conservative than Sean Hannity stems from the fact that Bradford checks down everything at the first sign of trouble and refuses to take a peek at any vertical routes because his accuracy when throwing the football down the field is virtually non-existent.
Against the 49ers Bradford averaged a pitiful 4.93 yards per attempt and that was against a group missing Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis.
"Tomorrow's going to be a pretty tough day in the film room," Bradford said after the game. "The good news is we have 10 days, 11 days until we play again and there's going to be ample time to get that corrected."
Anyone see this getting corrected anytime soon in a division with the Niners and Seattle Seahawks?
St. Louis already opened up the Brink's Truck in the offseason for left tackle Jake Long and tight end Jared Cook, and then traded up to draft Austin in order to speed up Bradford's development.
Now those same players are being thrown under the bus as sacrifices to some twisted altar of pedigree.
A pedigree which shows no signs of morphing into performance.
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