During the past two seasons, the spread offense has made its way from the college game to the NFL thanks to the athletic and skilled quarterbacks who have entered the league.
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is athletic, but he does not possess the running ability of a Robert Griffin III or even Andrew Luck.
Bradford is mobile though. He is effective when he is able to move the pocket or escape and make throws on the run. But Bradford will not be running the “read-option” anytime soon.
While Bradford does not possess the dual-threat ability of a RG3 or Russell Wilson, that does not mean the Rams can not run the spread offense. In fact, the Rams should embrace the spread offense and utilize it extensively in 2013. Here are five reasons why.
1. Bradford ran the spread offense in college.
While the spread offense gets attention because of the success teams have running the ball out of the formation, it is still well-suited for an aerial attack, which is what Bradford did so well back when he was at Oklahoma.
Bradford obviously was comfortable in the formation. The shotgun allows him to get a quicker read on defenses and it lets him move the pocket more quickly too. The spread could certainly benefit Sam Bradford.
2. The spread will allow the Rams to be move creative with Tavon Austin
One of the great features about the spread offense is the flexibility it offers. Formations can vary and so can the play-calling, which really could benefit No. 8 overall pick Tavon Austin.
The Rams could line Austin up anywhere in the spread and could get him the ball in a variety of ways. Austin could line-up anywhere at any time in the spread. He could also be put into motion more freely in the spread, which could really create a headache for the opposition, who will certainly try to target the explosive play-maker.
The Rams could get Austin the ball via various screen plays, end-arounds and traditional down-field patterns. Running the spread could help maximize Austin’s home run ability.
3. Austin and fellow rookie Stedman Bailey grew up in the spread offense too
The spread suits Austin appropriately, but it is also an offense where his former college teammate Stedman Bailey should feel comfortable. Bailey and Austin were apart of West Virginia’s high-flying spread offense and adjusting to a pro-style spread could make the transition to the pros easier for both of them.
This could be huge for the Rams, who will likely lean on these two young receivers a lot in 2013. Anything that can be done to make them more acclimated to contribute in a big way should be considered.
4. Jared Cook could be dangerous in the spread
Cook’s athleticism has been well-documented and many feel is more of a wide receiver than a tight end, which means the spread offense could suit him very well.
Cook could lineup in the slot and at 6’5″, he will be sure to give Bradford a big target over the middle. Lining up in the slot should make it easy for Cook to get off the line and stretch the seem, opening up short passes to Austin and company and bringing a safety off of deep threat Chris Givens. The spread could be the perfect offense for a player with Cook’s skill set.
5. The Rams lack a true No. 1 running back
With Steven Jackson gone, the Rams will rely on a young group of running backs with limited experience to carry the rock.
The spread offense will allow the Rams to utilize the passing game, as the New England Patriots have done for years, to replace a running attack that may not be up to par.
It is unlikely the Rams will go to a primarily spread offense in 2013, but they should. The personnel is set-up for it and Bradford is obviously comfortable in it.
The offense will be better in 2013 than it was in 2012. It could be a lot better in a spread attack.
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