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Sam Bradford tentative in pocket, Ron Jaworski says

Sam Bradford represents one of the NFL's biggest question marks heading into the 2012 season.

As a rookie, Bradford looked every bit the future star the St. Louis Rams envisioned when he was selected first overall in the 2010 draft. He nearly took the Rams -- 1-15 a season earlier -- to the playoffs and won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors for his efforts.

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Bradford's sequel to 2010 fell somewhere between "Speed 2: Cruise Control" and that "Indiana Jones" alien movie. In other words, it was a grisly mess.

ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, currently in the process of ranking each of the NFL's starting quarterbacks, said this week he was troubled by Bradford's behavior in the pocket last season.

"In 2011, Bradford, with very few exceptions, did not look like the same confident quarterback that I saw as a rookie," Jaworski said on "SportsCenter". "He was tentative in the pocket, a function of both erratic offensive line play and receivers that could not win on the outside. But I was troubled by Bradford's increasing tendency to anticipate the rush. I call that `cabin fever.' And Bradford struggled with that."

("Cabin Fever 2." Another bad sequel.)

In fairness, Jaws might have been jumpy in the pocket too if one of his ankles was essentially non-operational, as was the case with Bradford. The QB dealt with a nasty high ankle sprain troublesome enough that he still wasn't 100 percent by the spring.

Still, however, Bradford didn't look like the same guy even before the Week 6 injury. He's taken 70 sacks in 26 games, a level of abuse that would stunt most young signal-callers. Health and better protection can go a long way toward getting Bradford's development back on track.

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