Patrick Daugherty

Football Daily Dose

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Bradford's Blues

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Whether it’s politics or sports, you’ve gotta have it. Hope that tomorrow will be better. Hope that last year’s mistakes won’t be repeated. Hope that you don’t become the second straight team to lose by 55 to the Saints.

Well hope is one thing that figures to be in short supply for the 0-6 Rams this weekend, as franchise quarterback Sam Bradford (ankle) has yet to resume practicing, or even to make plans to test out his ailing joint.

All signs are pointing toward episode two of the A.J. Feeley show against New Orleans, which is unfortunate since episode one wasn’t all that good.

For Bradford, the injury is the low point of his disastrous start to a reality-check sophomore season perhaps more people should have seen coming.

In between enough blown protections and wide receiver drops to make any quarterback look bad, Bradford has thrown for just three touchdowns and surpassed 200 yards only twice through his first five starts.

But while it could be tempting for fantasy owners to pack it in and call it a day with their QB2, the reasons for hope in St. Louis remain plentiful. Not hope for making the playoffs, but hope that watchable football will at least soon be on the way.

“Why?” you ask. For starters, there’s now one of the league’s better receivers in Brandon Lloyd where Mike Sims-Walker and Brandon Gibson used to be. Then there’s new slot-man Greg Salas, who made up for one of the season’s worst single game performances in Week 2 against the Giants with an eight-catch, 77-yard effort in Green Bay in Week 6. As anyone who owned Danny Amendola in 2010 can attest, the slot is an all important position in St. Louis.  

Last but not least, there’s Steven Jackson, who though undoubtedly on the downside of his career has proven he can still be an above-average NFL running back when healthy. Since resting up during the Rams’ Week 5 bye, Jackson has averaged 4.61 yards over his past 36 carries.

Throw in the fact that Danario Alexander has shown continued improvement and Lance Kendricks has slowly proven capable of catching the ball, and you have an offense that should be able to take big steps forward in the second half of the season as the schedule eases up and Bradford finds himself back under center.

Today it might seem like it makes sense to drop Bradford and add John Beck or Carson Palmer, but you could have a different view on things as early as Week 9 when St. Louis travels to Arizona and squares off with the Cardinals and their 28th ranked pass defense.

As has become the norm for Beanie Wells and his injuries, there were mixed signals sent on Wednesday.

Appearing on local radio, Wells painted a picture so bright you’d need shades to stare at it.

“It’s just a matter of controlling the swelling,” Wells said of his injured knee. "It's just a day by day thing. Hopefully I'm out there on Sunday and I personally think I will be."

Wells is an optimist. That’s great. The world needs more of them. Unfortunately, boundless optimism often tends to get checked by stone-cold realism, provided in this instance by the Arizona Republic’s Kent Somers, who has helpfully pointed out Wells’ history of overestimating his ability to take the field and produce when hurt.

"I'm all good.” This is what Wells said of his ailing hamstring just three days before the Cardinals traveled to Seattle in Week 3. "Just needed to rest my wheels and maybe change a tire."

Of course, Wells was not “all good,” and ended up sitting out despite assuring roughly 24 hours before game time he’d “definitely” play.

As Somers points out, what a player does in practice — and not what they say on the radio — is a much better indication of whether or not they’ll take the field.

So what did Wells do in practice Wednesday? Nothing. He was held out.  

If he is again on Thursday, prepare to be without your RB2 against the Ravens’ third-ranked run defense, and be ready to pick up and start Alfonso Smith. Averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and going up against a defense allowing only 3.3 yards per carry, the second year undrafted free agent would likely be in for a long afternoon if given the call.   

Wells wasn’t the only RB2 sitting out on Wednesday. Just three days after a highly disappointing effort against the Broncos’ soft run defense, Daniel Thomas was sidelined by a hamstring injury he’s been able to play — and practice — through the past two weeks.

Of course, he has not played very well, which has become a pattern for the rookie as he runs through injury. More than likely, he will take the field this weekend, but even against a leaky Giants’ run defense, the odds that he gets back on track are low if he’s still less than 100 percent.

If his Wednesday practice participation is any indication, he’s currently far below that level. 

Despite Kregg Lumpkin’s almost total inability to run the ball (he’s gone just 54 yards on 14 carries since entering the league in 2008), the Bucs have decided to stick with him as LeGarrette Blount’s backup after Earnest Graham was lost for the season with an Achilles injury.

Lumpkin will slide into Graham’s third-down role, making him an intriguing flier in deeper PPR leagues since the Bucs had made throwing to Graham a big part of their offense before he went down. As for every other format? Lumpkin can be safely ignored as long as Blount (knee) returns as expected in Week 9.

Having come to terms with his seemingly inevitable dismissal, Tony Sparano has put his Davie, Florida home up for sale. If these pictures are any indication, Sparano might be best served by just resigning now and taking a few months off to relax.  

Matt Hasselbeck (thumb) was limited in Titans practice Wednesday. He is fully expected to be under center against the Colts on Sunday. … Adrian Peterson (foot) did not participate in Vikings practice after appearing to injure his ankle in Sunday’s loss. He should be active for Week 8, but what he does this afternoon will be critical. … Joseph Addai missed Colts practice three days after aggravating his hamstring injury. Expect Indy’s backfield to consist of Donald Brown and Delone Carter this weekend. … Andre Johnson hinted he needs another week to let his surgically-repaired hamstring heal. … Mark Ingram (heel) missed Saints practice, and will not be rushed back with New Orleans set to take on the Rams. … Philip Rivers insisted his slow start is not due to injury, going as far as to say he’s "as healthy as I've been through six weeks." His 7:9 TD-to-INT ratio would seem to disagree.

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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