FORT WORTH, Texas -- A big thanks goes to Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young for taking time Friday morning to discuss quarterback situations for each NFC West team.
I'll break out his thoughts and add my own, beginning with a look at the situation in St. Louis, where Sam Bradford will be entering his second season.
Steve Young: You have seen Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and now Sam break down the barriers of really taking on teams that were flat on their back -- Joe, not so much -- and succeeding right away. The year the Falcons chose Matt, they were coming off a disastrous season. They were flat on their back with so much upheavel, and he and a coach righted it. I haven't seen that since Dan Marino, but even then, it wasn't like Marino had to turn them completely around. I thought it was unprecedented what Matt Ryan did. And what Sam did, playing winning football out of nowhere. Hearing him talk, the way he speaks, the way he plays, he is a really heady guy who is going to do very good. You can see that. You get players like that and you know you are going to have them for 15 years. There is nothing more valuable by extreme measurement to a franchise. For St. Louis, it is a big, big deal. They took a risk. I can't imagine as a rookie actually playing good football. I went through it.
My thoughts: Expectations could get out of control a little bit this offseason. As well as Bradford played, 24 qualifying quarterbacks had higher passer ratings this season. Bradford will take an initial step backward this offseason while learning a new offensive system. The Rams need to upgrade their receivers, find another starting guard, get their tight ends healthy and consider adding a change-of-pace running back. They do not need a quarterback, however, and those other holes can be filled without great difficulty. Bradford does appear to have the right makeup and physical ability to be the franchise quarterback the Rams sought when they made him the first player chosen in the 2010 NFL draft.