by ROGER HENSLEY
QUESTION: If the NFL owners and NFLPA cannot come to an agreement by
this weekend and a lockout begins, and if the impasse becomes drawn out,
what hurts the Rams more.
1. An inability to get free agents in the
2. Sam Bradford’s inability to work with new offensive
coordinator Josh McDaniels
Eventually there will be a free agency period in some shape or form.
But the lost time Sam Bradford has working with Josh McDaniels really
can’t be made up if there is a protracted lockout. The official
offseason conditioning program for the Rams begins Monday and
technically that’s the first day Bradford can meet with McDaniels. So
the clock is ticking.
It’s imperative for Bradford and the new OC to spend as much time
together as possible and get acclimated personally and professionally.
Whenever free agency begins, the clock is the same for all 32 teams. The
Rams will have their shot at free agents – no better or worse than
anyone else. It’s equal. But there is no way to easily make up for the
time lost, the time wasted, before the vital launching of the
The inability to conduct the business of football – recruiting and
signing veteran free agents – is the biggest problem for the Rams. Sam
Bradford is an intelligent football mind and he will pick up on the new
offense just fine. He might not be able to talk with McDaniels during
the strike, but he knows other QBs who have worked in that system. They
can help him in the interim.
But the Rams need players to upgrade this roster and if that is
restricted in any way, it outweighs whatever delay Bradford might
experience in learning the playbook.
The uncertainy about free agency would be the initial worry for the
Rams, given that they have so many holes to fill. That obviously
complicates their preparations for the draft, too. Unless the lockout
drags on for some time, I don’t think the Bradford-McDaniels situation
is a big problem.
Since I’ve seen no evidence that the Rams are aggressively pursuing free
agents, I’ll vote for Bradford’s lost time with McDaniels – and his
offensive teammates – within the new system. Sam still needs to grow as
a quarterback. This offseason could be big for him. With a new
coordinator coming aboard and so many wide receivers coming back from
injuries, this developmental time is critical.