Rams head coach Jeff Fisher 'discounted last year' for QB Sam Bradford

Fisher thinks Bradford's rookie season is indicative of his potential going forward. (US PRESSWIRE)

Shortly after the Rams put the finishing touches on a 2-14 season, there was some speculation that the organization might use their second-overall selection in April's NFL Draft on another franchise quarterback, just two years after taking Sam Bradford with the No. 1 pick in 2010.

It didn't happen; instead, St. Louis traded down and stockpiled the roster with some much-needed talent. During a recent radio appearance, new Rams head coach Jeff Fisher explained why he has faith in Bradford, who struggled in 2011 after winning Rookie of the Year honors the season before.

“Well, it was his ability -- what he was able to do in college, but also his rookie year. We discounted last year. I didn’t pay much attention to that. There were a lot of difficult things to overcome and a lot of issues, and it made no sense dwelling on it," Fisher said via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "I think what Sam was able to do here his rookie year in that type of offense is an indication of the potential that he has.”

Seems perfectly logical, but late last season during an almost unwatchable Rams-Seahawks get-together on Monday Night Football, coach-turned-analyst Jon Gruden suggested that Bradford had played so poorly that if Gruden were making personnel decisions in St. Louis, he'd take a long look at Robert Griffin III.

If nothing else, this confirms the short shelf life for the next "once-in-a-lifetime" talent. Bradford was that guy a year ago. And now, after an injury-riddled second season, doubts have emerged. (We wonder how long Andrew Luck and RG3 have before people wonder if the Colts or Redskins should think about replacing them with the next shiny object that comes along.)

And while Bradford's numbers were good but not great as a rookie (he completed 60 percent of his passes, tossed 18 touchdowns against 15 interceptions, and Football Outsiders ranked him 34th in QB efficiency), he was also playing for a team that went 1-15 the year before he arrived. (Still, he had his detractors.)

Lucky for Bradford, Fisher and general manager Les Snead used the extra draft picks to add big-play threats (WR Brian Quick and RB Isaiah Pead in the second round, and WR Chris Givens in the fourth round) and bolster one of the league's worst defenses (DL Michael Brockers in Round 1, CB Janoris Jenkins in Round 2 and CB Trumaine Johnson in Round 3). 

Now all the Rams have to do is go out starting winning football games, something that hasn't happened on a regular basis in nine years. (It was so long ago, in fact, that "mad" still didn't precede "genius" when talking about Mike Martz and his offensive philosophy.)

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CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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