The Rams have no shortage of leaders on defense, in fact one at every level of the unit. End Chris Long up front, James Laurinaitis at linebacker and Cortland Finnegan in the secondary.
As for the offense, for years the alpha male has been running back Steven Jackson. It showed itself in many forms, whether it was Jackson running wind sprints with a struggling teammate to encourage him during training camp. Getting on a wide receiver because of inconsistencies in his play. Or rallying the entire offense in the huddle, or the entire team on the sideline at critical junctures of a game.
But now that Jackson is an Atlanta Falcon, who will fill the void? Especially on offense, where the skill position players as a group figure to be among the youngest in the league.
Coach Jeff Fisher has an obvious candidate in mind: quarterback Sam Bradford.
“You know we saw it was coming (last season),” Fisher said. “Sam really took things over the second half of the season. We’ve got guys who can stand up and take charge and carry the torch. I’m not concerned about that. Sam, I was very impressed with how he handled things.”
As a rookie in 2010, Bradford was careful about not overstepping his bounds. No. 1 overall pick or not, he didn’t want to walk in and act like he owned the place, as if he had a sense of entitlement because of his lofty draft status.
In the disastrous 2011 season, Bradford was preoccupied by a nasty ankle injury that wrecked his season. Then came 2012, with a new regime in place and a roster turned upside down. Bradford never will be a screamer or yeller, but there were signs that he was asserting himself.
From encouraging his teammates on the sideline, to speaking with wide receiver Chris Givens about his importance to the team after Givens’ was suspended for the Nov. 11 game in San Francisco.
Bradford set for leader's role
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Mar 22