For St. Louis Rams, is an average Sam Bradford enough?

Norm Hall

Sam Bradford has just about pegged 50 in ESPN's "QBR" quarterback rating system. Is that enough for the St. Louis Rams?

If football's basic and advanced metrics are any indication, Sam Bradford is finally something close to average as a quarterback. His yards-per-attempt are at a career high 7.0, his rating is 84.0, and he's on pace for 3500 yards passing and 20 touchdowns. On the advanced side, his QBR (which ranges from 0 to 100, theoretically) is at 49.4 and his DVOA is 19th in football among qualifiers. The St. Louis Rams' ex-savior is definitely having the best season of his career, but it's hard to say whether that's enough.

Of course, since it's his third season it's also hard to say this is where it stops. But the enormous contract he signed just under the NFL Draft reform wire and the huge expectations his moribund franchise dropped onto his damaged shoulder make it hard to get excited about the progress Bradford has made—all it does is feed our compulsion to watch him make more progress.

It hasn't helped that he rarely looks like an average quarterback. Much has been made of the fact that Bradford has had very few great games in his career, but on a more granular level it seems like Bradford only ever has great drives and terrible drives. He's either in competition for the strongest-armed, most accurate quarterback in football, hitting any of his unimpressive wide receivers in stride for 40 yards, or he's looking like the zombified version of Marc Bulger, inaccurate and conservative all at once.

This year, at least, the good and the bad appear to have canceled themselves out. But that doesn't feel like a very stable status quo—or a satisfying one.

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