For me, one of the strangest phenomenons in the St. Louis Rams' season to date is that Sam Bradford, despite having a new offense befitting his talents, has looked altogether worse in 2011 than he did in risk-averse, zero-yards-per-attempt, Pat Shurmur-ized 2010. It's been brutal watching an obviously talented quarterback struggle now that he's been given so much room to operate.â†µ
That said, there are clearly a few things still standing between us and a real understanding of Bradford's talents. One is the talent around him, not just the wide receivers (though they've been unpleasant) but the offensive line, which has in four games allowed half as many sacks as Bradford took all last year.
The other is the remarkably difficult schedule the Rams have played thus far. In the Football Outsiders' quarterback stats that's a little easier to pick out—Bradford is ahead of only the two Jacksonville quarterbacks and the equally hapless Matt Cassel in Value Over Average, the Outsiders' unadjusted metric for quarterback performance. Step from VOA to DVOA, however, which adjusts for opponents' defense, and Bradford moves out of the sub-basement to the basement, sidestepping Kerry Collins and Jay Cutler and looking more like, say, Mark Sanchez.â†µ
That's still not great, but with major acquisition Mike Sims-Walker sitting near the bottom of their wide receiver statistics—well, the team has a ways to go before we can blame the dysfunctional offense on its super-prospect quarterback.â†µ