Gordon: Injury finishes Bradford, Rams

Gordon: Injury finishes Bradford, Rams Live

This was supposed to be Sam Bradford's make-or-break season. Sadly, he broke.

He re-injured his surgically-repaired left knee Saturday night at Cleveland, ending his 2014 season before it really started.

In a nutshell, this is what is means:

  • The Rams will go forward with Shaun Hill as the starting quarterback, hoping to win with a shutdown defense, a powerful running game and excellent special teams play. The Rams will be competitive this season, but it hard to imagine them getting to the high side of .500 without a healthy and effective Bradford. They will need more than astute game management to beat the better teams on their schedule.
  • Hill is more capable than 2013 fill-in Kellen Clemens, but he can't make all the throws Bradford makes with the same consistency. Once again offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will have to scale back his play script. 
  • Coach Jeff Fisher and Co. must get Austin Davis ready to play. He was just a camp arm in most of the practice sessions to this point. He seemed certain to get cut, just as he did last summer. But at Cleveland he once against demonstrated some playmaking flair. He knows the offense inside-out, so he can offer some near-term relief. So now he needs practice reps and game reps. 
  • Rookie QB Garrett Gilbert needs a lot of work. Given Bradford's demise, the Rams don't have the luxury of giving him that time. General manager Les Snead must start searching for another quarterback ASAP, seeking either another veteran (not Brady Quinn!) to protect Hill or a younger quarterback with serious developmental potential. And his scouts must start paying extra attention to the quarterback class in the 2015 NFL Draft.
  • As for Bradford . . . that should be it for him here. The Rams can't afford to commit so much salary cap space to such a fragile player. After a another major operation on the same knee, how could they reasonably expect him to ever hold up as a No. 1 quarterback? Snead is thankful Bradford's camp didn't want to extend his rookie deal. After this season, the Rams can dump what's left of Bradford and invest the money elsewhere. That's cold, but that's the NFL -- a tough, tough place to make a living.

This is a brutal development for Bradford, who seems like a nice enough guy. He faces another grueling year of rehab and uncertain football future. Fortunately he has tremendous financial security, unlike so many injured NFLers.

This is terrible news for a star-crossed Rams franchise that has endured disaster after catastrophe after fiasco since those glorious "Greatest Show on Turf" days.

Here is how the Twitterverse reacted to the grim news:


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