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Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Protecting Bradford, Rams from turnover

By Mike Sando

NEW ORLEANS -- Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams will be learning their second offensive system in as many seasons together.

They will not want to make it three systems in three years, but what happens if a strong 2011 season launches new coordinator Josh McDaniels to another head-coaching job? The question, raised recently by regular blog commenter egravning, did not faze Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo over breakfast at the NFL owners meeting Tuesday.

Bradford
Bradford
"I guess I have to take over the offense," Spagnuolo joked.

The coach then turned a little more serious: "If that happens, that is probably a good thing for everybody. We'll just wait and see."

McDaniels became available to the Rams after the Denver Broncos fired him as head coach. Shaky personnel moves and McDaniels' handling of situations off the field contributed to his demise in Denver far more than his coaching. The Broncos put up impressive numbers on offense with Kyle Orton at quarterback. I would expect him to do the same, and rather quickly, with Bradford as long as the Rams continue upgrading their offense. If that happens and McDaniels projects himself well, he could have opportunities elsewhere.

Bradford showed during his rookie season an ability to learn a new system and play more consistently than most rookies.

Orton's success suggests McDaniels' system might offer even more opportunities for growth. But repeatedly changing systems would probably delay any quarterback's development. That's why I've said it's important for the Rams to develop a succession plan in case McDaniels does become a head-coaching candidate again. So far, though, the Rams have not hired a quarterbacks coach. McDaniels has largely joined the existing staff.

"As a head coach, I thought Andy [Reid] did a great job of having someone on staff ready to step in," Spagnuolo said. "We feel comfortable there. You are getting way ahead of me there."