So Sam Bradford is out for the 2014 season, should we panic without our number quarterback? Shaun Hill has been named the starter for the season and behind him are two inexperienced rookies. Should Rams fans be concerned that this team will struggle without Bradford? Here’s our top 5 reasons why the Rams will be fine without Bradford.
5) Sturdy Offensive Line
Even without Bradford under center for the Rams, if the team can keep the quarterback upright and give him plenty of time to throw the ball, they can have success. When healthy, the Rams have one of the best O-lines in the NFL. This team has plenty of down field threats and Shaun Hill is capable of commanding the offense. Hill’s success will depend on how strong his offensive line will be during the season.
4) Reliable Receivers
Even if the throwing game isn’t something Jeff Fisher likes to use a lot, Hill will have a good core of receivers. Bradford was clicking well with his number one offensive unit but Shaun Hill was doing the same thing. The growth of Brian Quick, the returning second year players Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, and the signing of Kenny Britt give the Rams plenty of reliable hands. Along with Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook, Shaun Hill will have no problem connecting with his receivers.
3) Shaun Hill’s Ability
This isn’t Hill’s first year in the league. Remember how good Kellen Clemens was last year? Hill has been in the league since 2002 and has played since 2005. From 2008-2010, Hill started 24 games as QB and threw 23 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions. He threw for over 5,500 yards in those games, so this isn’t a rookie running the offense for the Rams. The hardest part of OTA’s and training camp for Hill was the playbook. Now that he has had time to study and work with the number one unit all through training camp, there’s no reason why Hill can’t lead this team to the playoffs.
2) Relying on Defense
Were we even talking about the offense during the off-season? The biggest news going into OTA’s was the signing of Gregg Williams as defensive coordinator and what a healthy defense can do under Williams. The Rams have plenty of depth at defensive line with players like Quinn, Long, Brockers. The additions of Aaron Donald along with Laurinitis, Dunbar and Ogletree gives the Rams a scary front line. They’re a bit smaller on the secondary side, but that’s where Williams prevails. Gregg led the Saints last season to a top 10 defense in running and passing. Put that with this young defense and you may be seeing more of the defensive side winning games rather than the offensive side.
1) Fisher’s Running Game
Let’s be honest, Fisher was not going to be using the Hail Mary that much this season anyway? Fisher always has been, and will continue to be, a run first offense. It was successful last season with rookie Zac Stacy who almost ran for 1,000 yards in 14 games. Benny Cunningham came alive toward the end of the season last year and this year the Rams added 4th round pick Tre Mason, who dominated in the SEC last year. Fisher will utilize the running game as much as he can throughout the season for those grind ‘em out points that the NFL likes to see. Sure, he will give Hill some freedom to throw the ball, but don’t be surprised when you see a higher run count compared to a pass count for the offense.