In a recent airing of “NFL Total Access,” the NFL Network flashed a graphic listing the Rams’ current wide receivers and alongside the names were the players’ career receptions. Hosts Jamie Dukes and Heath Evans then debated one of the lazier topics ever produced on a network that normally doesn’t do lazy.
The topic? Are the Rams putting Sam Bradford in a position to fail?
Yeah, that’s exactly what they’re doing. Following a 17-year stint in Houston and Tennessee, Jeff Fisher took last season off, and then spurned the opportunity to coach the Dolphins because he wanted to stick it to Sam Bradford. In fact, the only reason Les Snead was hired as general manager was because he introduced an intricate plan on how to bring down the Rams’ third-year quarterback.
Rams COO Kevin Demoff back in February: “Les, tell us about your role in the drafting and development of Matt Ryan.”
Les Snead: “We can talk about that or I can show you this 75-page binder detailing how we can put Sam Bradford in position to fail. I’ve been working on it the last three years just waiting for the moment to unveil it. It’s genius.”
Demoff: “You’re hired.”
Was the NFL Network fresh out of ideas that day or was it trying to foster a serious debate? Never mind – that’s not even worth discussing.
Fans have the right to be upset that the Jaguars did everything it took to land Justin Blackmon in last month’s draft. The Rams’ plan was to sit tight at No. 6 rather than move up and give back some of the selections that they acquired from the Redskins for the No. 2 overall pick. Credit the Jaguars for being aggressive, but don’t condemn the Rams for sticking to their original plan.
Their plan, by the way, netted them the ultimate sleeper in Brian Quick. After speaking with him at Rams Park the day after he was selected, let me assure you that Quick doesn’t lack for confidence. You get the sense he understands what the expectations are around here, and he’s completely comfortable with the idea that he has to produce like a true No. 1. While it may take him time to learn an NFL route tree after playing for a FCS program (Appalachian State), he isn’t lacking for athleticism, size or potential. And as the NFL Network reminded us, he should have plenty of opportunities to succeed because his competition isn’t very good.
What I’m suggesting is that Brian Quick could make the biggest impact of any receiver taken in this year’s draft. Blackmon is a great talent, but he has to deal with the growing pains of former Mizzou quarterback Blaine Gabbert. He also finds himself stuck in Mike Mularkey’s offense, which still relies on power running and routes that force receivers to come back to the football (thus limiting their ability to make big plays).
Michael Floyd will have an opportunity to make noise playing opposite Larry Fitzgerald, but he never played a complete season at Notre Dame and last time I checked, Kevin Kolb is still Arizona’s quarterback. Kendall Wright is talented but his learning curve is high (Tennessee’s playbook will be the first of his career – at any level), San Francisco’s A.J. Jenkins plays in a run-first offense and Stephen Hill is about to find out the frustrations of having Mark Sanchez as his quarterback.
Heading into the draft, the Rams needed a receiver that could play outside the numbers. While we need to be patient with his development, they found one in Quick, who will have an opportunity to make plenty of people look foolish six months from now.
That includes certain television networks that conduct silly topics.