Bradford Injury is a Scary Reminder
From the “things could always be worse” department, Sam Bradford tears his knee during a meaningless pre-season NFL game on Saturday night and the St. Louis Rams are in big trouble. Already facing a monster NFC West with both Seattle and San Francisco in it, the Rams without Bradford have about as much chance making the playoffs as–the Cowboys without Tony Romo. Over the past decade the NFL has quickly become a league of the have and have-nots, when it comes to quarterbacks. If you have an elite one, like Denver or Green Bay or New Orleans or New England, you’re a playoff contender. If you have a project like, Tampa Bay, Oakland or Minnesota, you’ve got no chance and if you’re one of the “tweeners” like the Cowboys, you’ve got a chance.
Seeing Bradford go down makes any Cowboy fan realize how fragile the 2014 season is. Brandon Weeden has looked pretty good as Romo’s back-up in the pre-season, just like Kyle Orton did before him, but he’s in Dallas for a reason. He couldn’t get the job done as a starter in Cleveland. A lot of us may not think much of Romo, because for all of his stats and team records, he hasn’t won squat. But he is considered by the experts to be in that group of 10 quarterbacks right behind the aforementioned elites. Romo is 34 and coming off back surgery that ended his 2013 season prematurely. Bradford should be in the prime of his career and his days may be numbered. The real fear for Romo, as I see it, is not his back–which has taken some good hits in the pre-season games so far, and come out fine, it’s one of the dozen other injuries that start to happen to a quarterback. Torn ACL, dislocated shoulder, broken hand/fingers, broken ribs etc.
The Cowboys have built a talented offensive line in front of their $100 million dollar man, but he was very vulnerable against the Dolphins in the last pre-season game. Bradford has proven that it only takes one hit, and not a real big one at that, to end a quarterback’s season. If Romo goes down, the Cowboys have zero hope of reaching the playoffs. With a healthy Romo their chances are still thin. For all of those reasons, it might have been wise for Jerry and his band of followers, to have drafted a talented quarterback in the last couple of years. As sure as I’m sitting here, I’ll bet you that some third or fourth round pick will come out of nowhere and replace an established quarterback this season, and blow people away.
There are always finds in the draft, they’re just not on the Cowboys draft board. Why not take a chance on a kid from Boise State or Ole Miss instead of another wide receiver or linebacker. Quarterback is the most important position on the team and the backup quarterback is right behind him. That’s why Jimmy Johnson used a pick in the supplemental draft to take Steve Walsh in his first year with the Cowboys. He knew then what is still true today, always have a talented back-up because as important as a quarterback is–he’s that vulnerable as well. The Cowboys got another reminder from Bradford just how close they are to a 4-win season.