It looks like Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has hit a rookie wall. He’s thrown five interceptions with no touchdowns over the last three weeks. The dink-and-dunk Rams offense has grown even less explosive.
ESPN’s Trent Dilfer, who said he was thoroughly impressed with Bradford overall, believes the “wall” may really be defenses figuring Bradford out. Dilfer said on ESPN Radio 101 in St. Louis that Bradford likes to get out of the pocket and is not always a “progression” passer. Defenses have taken away Bradford’s fastball of late by keeping him in the pocket and taking away quick throws.
“You know you don’t want to Sam Bradford to be on the move,” Dilfer said. “One of the ways you protect Sam and that offensive line is a lot of bootleg and play-action passes. . . . Then all of a sudden teams say, ‘Wait a second, we can take away the quick throw, we make him go somewhere else with the ball, make him wait.'”
Dilfer went on in greater detail about how teams have taken away Bradford’s strength. (It can be heard in full right here.) He gave Bradford a lot of credit, but said it will be very difficult for Bradford to truly adjust and improve this late in his rookie season. It’s one reason why we continue to suspect the 49ers will sneak in the playoffs as NFC West champions.
“You can only smoke-and-mirror [defenses] for so long, and it’s catching up to them,” Dilfer said.
[Hat tip to ESPN's Mike Sando for pointing out this interview.]