Thursday, May 16, 2013
Around the NFC West: Bradford and OC
By Mike Sando
Some of the complications associated with evaluating St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford also apply to the team's offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer.
A weak supporting cast bears some responsibility for each man's struggles, but how much responsibility? That can be a difficult question to answer. My feel is that Schottenheimer got what he could from quarterback Mark Sanchez when the two were together with the Jets, and that Sanchez's limitations were more responsible for the offensive decline precipitating Schottenheimer's firing from the team.
Matt Williamson, NFL scout for ESPN.com, touched on the subject as part of our recent Bradford discussion.
"How much was Schottenheimer limited by his quarterback, the Jets' lack of weapons and a defensive-minded head coach?" Williamson asked. "A lot. One thing he did well with Sanchez, I thought, was get pretty good production in the red zone, from what I recall. He should get much more from the Rams as St. Louis improves its weapons for Bradford."
Sanchez had 21 touchdown passes with three interceptions and a 75.0 Total QBR score in the red zone during the 2011 season, Schottenheimer's final one with the Jets. That red-zone QBR score ranked eighth in the NFL. Sanchez was at 68.5 (ninth) in red-zone QBR for the 2010 season.
In 2011, an injured Bradford ranked 33rd out of 34 qualifying quarterbacks -- only Curtis Painter was worse -- with a 6.0 QBR score in the red zone. His 37.3 QBR score in the red zone last season ranked 25th -- still not anywhere close to where a quarterback with Bradford's talent should rank. Bradford had a 21.2 QBR score (28th) in the red zone as a rookie in 2010.
There are more ways to measure quarterbacks and coordinators, of course. But if the Rams have succeeded in upgrading their talent around Bradford, those figures in the red zone should improve markedly.