EARTH CITY, Mo. -- On Tuesday afternoon, ESPN Insider Mike Sando posted another of his usual insightful pieces, this time regarding what is needed from rookie quarterbacks who could start in NFL cities like Jacksonville, Cleveland and Minneapolis.
In it, Sando digs into the numbers by breaking down the caliber of defenses quarterbacks see, how they fare against them and the relative success needed to beat them.
By now you might be asking what that has to do with the St. Louis Rams? Well, early in the piece Sando provides an interesting find about the types of defenses that quarterback Sam Bradford and the Rams will see this year. There's this little nugget that sticks out:
"St. Louis and Cincinnati have big decisions to make about their quarterbacks, but the Rams play a league-high eight games against defenses that finished 2013 ranked in the top quartile, as measured by defensive expected points added, while the Bengals play only one game against a defense in that category."
It's not groundbreaking news to say the Rams will play a number of good defenses in 2014. Such is life in the NFC West division.
But for Bradford and the Rams, playing top defenses is old hat. In fact, Sando's findings indicate the Rams have played the second-most top-tier defenses (top eight) since 2010, Bradford's rookie year. In that time, they've played 22 such defenses, trailing only the 23 of Cleveland.
That's not meant to make excuses for Bradford, who has yet to distinguish himself in that time. But it's worth noting. And in what figures to be a big year in determining his long-term future as a Ram, it's not going to get much easier in 2014.
A roundup of Tuesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... The Ram-blings began with a spin around the radio dial from various Rams discussing the draft and Michael Sam. ... Next, we provided a first look at the jersey numbers the rookies will be wearing at this level. ... From there, we offered a look at where the Rams rank in the post-draft Power Rankings. ... The biggest news of the day came in the rookies' introductory press conference. Here's the news story on Sam's introduction followed by a column on Sam's chance to move on to playing the game.
Presenting the aforementioned Power Rankings.
The always entertaining Gregg Easterbrook brings his draft review.
Darren Rovell takes a look at Sam's jersey number and early sales of it.
At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas grades the Rams draft class.
Bryan Burwell writes that the time has come to let Sam get to work.