Rams taking right approach with Bradford

On Wednesday, Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo answered questions from fans (all four of them) at the Missouri Botanical Garden and reiterated that A.J. Feeley was his starting quarterback for now.

“It would be an injustice to Sam and the rest of the team” to set a timetable, he said. “He’s in the early stages of developing as an NFL quarterback. He came into the league far advanced from some quarterbacks I’ve worked with. We’ll do first what’s right for the team and second what’s right for Sam.”

St. Louis fans might not have wanted to hear that, but Spags is right when he says it’s not far to Bradford to make him the starter right away. He’s in the infancy stages of his career and just went from basic algebra to advanced calculus in terms of his learning curve from Oklahoma to the NFL.

The inexperience of the Rams’ offensive line also plays into whether or not Bradford should start right away. Assuming 2010 second round pick Rodger Saffold joins 2009 first round pick Jason Smith in the starting lineup, the Rams’ offensive tackles will have a combined seven games of experience under their belts. That’s not to say that the line won’t be a strength by the end of the season (Smith and Saffold both offer plenty of upside, while center Jason Brown is an excellent pass blocker and guards Adam Goldberg and Jacob Bell are serviceable) – it’s just too early to tell what the Rams have at the position.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the team has an extremely young receiving corps. I really like Laurent Robinson’s potential, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy and neither has Donnie Avery, who was a bit of a disappointment last season. Brandon Gibson showed last year that he could push for a starting job, but he has fallen victim to nagging injuries himself. Rookie Mardy Gilyard is lightening in a bottle, but like Bradford, he too has a learning curve to overcome. Everyone focuses on the offensive line when it comes to judging whether or not a young quarterback should start, but the talent and experience level of the receiving corps plays a huge part as well.

Spagnuolo and his staff are handling Bradford well. They’re allowing him to learn the system without having the pressure to succeed right away hanging over his head. If he looks like he’s ahead of the learning curve in preseason, then maybe the Rams can visit the idea of starting him as a rookie.

Until then, let the kid learn.

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Panthers in hell of their own making in regards to Delhomme

In the offseason, the Carolina Panthers thought that it wasn’t wise to start developing a young quarterback under Jake Delhomme, even after the veteran turned the ball over 586 times during the playoffs last year. Instead, the Panthers signed Delhomme to a five-year, $42.5 million contract extension through 2014.

We’re not even halfway through the 2009 season and Delhomme has been as bad this year as he was on that fateful night in Charlotte last January. Right now, he’s on pace to throw a whopping 35 interceptions and ranks dead last in the league in passer rating.

After his brutal effort in a loss to the Bills yesterday, head coach John Fox wouldn’t commit to Delhomme being the team’s starter in Week 8. The problem Fox has is that Matt Moore and A.J. Feeley are listed behind Delhomme on the depth chart, so it’s not like he has a viable option even if he wanted to replace Horrendous Jake.

The Panthers absolutely dominated the Bills 425 to 167 in total net yards, yet because of Delhomme’s three interceptions they couldn’t beat a below average Buffalo team. Save for his injury-plagued 2007 season, the sad part is that Delhomme hasn’t been consistently good in four years. The running game bailed him out last year or else the Panthers wouldn’t have made the playoffs.

Fox and his coaching staff should have realized that Delhomme’s better days were behind him and should have done something about it in one of the past two drafts (if not one of the last three drafts). Now they’re left with either Moore or Feeley if they want to replace him, which means the Panthers can kiss the rest of the season goodbye.

Giving Delhomme an extension in the offseason was foolish. Not having the foresight to develop another quarterback behind him is flat out inexcusable.

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