Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Learning to live with risk

Those reading this blog know I was never on board with the selection of Sam Bradford. I was against it all the way. To the very last instant, I was hoping for a trade announcement. Why so negative?

I felt drafting any QB #1 overall is an outrageous risk. Moreover, the natural risk is exacerbated by how poorly setup the Rams are to receive a fragile rookie QB. Our risk factors are higher than average, and average is pretty damn high already.

More specifically, I believed Sam would face the same fate as Marc did before him. Marc wasn't a bad guy. As I have said many times, we killed Marc Bulger. We let his OL dwindle to shit. We let his receiver corp dwindle to shit. Last year, we put Marc together with the worst offensive coordinator I have ever seen: Pat Shurmer. Now we are going to stick Sam Bradford in almost exactly that same shit.

Now does that sound like a good idea...?

And we are going to do so at the cost of $80 million. This is half an offshore oil drilling rig. This is the price of a modest Hollywood blockbuster. This will officially make Sam Bradford the highest paid Ram in history.

I used to laugh at teams who selected QBs #1 overall. A team fresh off of disaster elects a QB as their savior. A downtrodden fan base anoints this kid as the savior. Everyone hopes this will be the key player who is the linchpin of the next dynasty. They never seem to realize how seldom this works out in the end. The probability table is downright ugly.

If the kid will sign and play for you--which isn't always--he often gets hurt, or isn't good enough, or looses his confidence, or isn't serious enough to succeed. It will be the medical in Sam's case, if he doesn't pan out. When they don't go bust, the often turn into serviceable QBs who don't do much of anything spectacular. Look at Carson Palmer. Although he was selected #2 overall, look at Donovan McNabb. I always thought these poorboy franchises were foolish for going this route.

And now we have done it.

I spelled out the real risks in crass anatomical detail. I published them in high-traffic websites. I did everything possible to make this pick as uncomfortable as possible for Devaney. I was stone-cold ignored. He went and did anyway. When the pick came, it was like a wedding day celebration on national TV. It was clearly a joyous occasion for this administration. My heart was strangely warmed by this celebration. I was glad to see them make this pick with solid confidence. It gave me a very small modicum of confidence. 7 micrograms worth to be specific. Now what if they are fools?

Well, we did get one lineman and one receiver for him. I guess that's cold comfort.

The organization has taken a risk I have never witnessed in my lifetime. In 30 years of being a Ram fan, I have never seen the Rams do this. The last time we took a QB in the 1st round the year was 1964. This was something like 9 months before I would be conceived. We drafted Bill Munson from Utah State. He was not the absolute #1 either. That bust-o-matic bustola cured us. We would not take such a risk again for 46 years.

They stone-cold ignored me in several years when I wanted to take a Quarterback. I launched the "Draft Trent Dilfer" campaign at UCLA in 1994. The Rams gave me the middle finger. We fucked up. We stayed down low and selected Wayne Gandy from Alburn. He was a bust for us and the Steelers. Trent was a bust for the Bucs. He had to go elsewhere to succeed. I still contend that both Trent and the Rams would have had a much better time together than apart. We suffered without a QB for 5 years.

I was totally against Tony Banks and we saw what a tremendous bust he turned out to be. The only reason we don't mention him in the top 10 is because he was a 2nd round draft pick. This guy broke all records for fumbles and interceptions. He made Jake Del Homme look like a careful guy. The second we fired him, we won the Super Bowl. The second the Ravens fired Tony Banks (the very next year) they succeed us as World Champions.

Now when two teams that were struggling with you fire you and then immediately win the Super Bowl... in back-to-back years... Trent Dilfer succeed Banks in Baltimore. Don't you think we should have taken Dilfer instead of Banks in the 1990's?


I hardly raised an eyebrow over the Trent Green acquisition. You never take a flier on somebody else's backup QB. Kansas City refuses to learn their lesson. Montana, Bono, Grbac, Green, Castle... they just keep doing it over and over again. Seattle will fair no better this season. Mark my words: Whitehurst is a stop gap insurance policy. Next year they are going to make a big move on Jake Locker. You never take a flier on somebody else's backup QB. This is why I was not big on the Trent Green trade.

In all fairness, Trent Green did show up big time for us in 2000. He was the NFL's highest rated passer that year. We immediately traded him. That was a mistake. I would still like to hire him as our offensive coordinator--if they won't hire Mike Leach--and sack Pat Shurmer.

I am usually not wrong about these Quarterback things. I have an instinct for it. I hate being right all the time. I am very hopeful that I am wrong about Sam and our organization... this time. However, I doubt it.

Devaney aught to know his ass is on the line. Spagnuolo is also on the line. If this doesn't work out, they are both dead meat. If it works, they are both geniuses, and everybody knew it all along.

I remember the scene when Governor Tarkin turns to Darth Vadar and says "This is an awful risk you're taking, Vadar." Vadar allowed the Millennium Falcon to escape with plans of the Death Star, knowing the the Rebs would take it to their main rebel base immediately. He planed to track them and destroy that rebel base-planet with the Death Star.

Let's just say it didn't work out. They blew the Death Star with a real bad call on that one.

Just picture me turning to Billy Devaney as Tarkin turned to Vadar and saying "This is an awful risk you're taking, Devaney."