Editor’s Note: This article was the winning submission of one of our Writing Contest winners – Dan Hasty. It was chosen for its creativity, humor and obvious creative spin on a debate. It was succinct, to the point and a perfect illustration of originality being important. Team DLF is excited to welcome Dan to the writing group and we know you’ll enjoy much more of his work in the coming months and years.
About a month ago, I was talking to a co-worker who led me to the following realization: I am incredibly lame. Sure, I’ve been accused of this before, but this time it was true. I believed it because I had never seen an episode of Breaking Bad on AMC. It has been airing since 2008, but I just started watching last month. After only a few episodes, I became hooked on the show. Not only did I learn about the greatest show on television, but I learned something about chemistry – the person in charge has to have the right parts to make things work. Without them, using what’s already there to the best of its ability is the next-best option.
This brings us to the growing debate between which young quarterback should be drafted first in dynasty leagues: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford or Titans quarterback Jake Locker.
In his first two years, Bradford has struggled. In fact, this year should tell us a lot about what Bradford can do at the NFL level. Call it a “put up or shut up” season, if need be. The prevailing opinion is that the Rams never gave Bradfordanything to work with to improve the passing game. Sure, Steven Jackson has been lining up behind him, but Jackson’s ability and presence has not opened up the passing game in a way Bradford can take advantage of.
I’ve watched Bradford for two seasons and have yet to see him “lock-in” with any of his wide receivers. Last season, the Rams traded for Brandon Lloyd, reuniting him with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the president of the Brandon Lloyd Fan Club. This combination, designed to make sweet fantasy love, saw Lloyd average only 60 yards a game during his time with the Rams. This is on Bradford, who needed to get the ball to Lloyd more than he did.
Bradford has hope in the future, as head coach Jeff Fisher rolls into town. In recent years, Fisher has not taken running backs or wide receivers high in the draft. Fisher took just one first-round runner inTennessee, but he would make it count in 2008 by selecting Chris Johnson. Fisher knows offensive skill when he sees it. In two to three years, this offense should be much improved with talents like Brian Quick and Isaiah Pead in the mix, but I question whether Bradford will be around to see it.
This moves us to Locker, who last season had Heisenberg-like chemistry with his team in his short time on the field. His best Bonnie-and-Clyde impression came with wide receiver Nate Washington. Not only were all four of his touchdown passes to Washington, but he made him look like an All-Pro (19/307/4 in their three games together). Locker is fearless in throwing the ball downfield, as two of his four touchdowns last year came from 40 yards out. He also protected the ball extremely well, committing zero turnovers. Numbers like those are the kinds that will make coaches take the training wheels off remarkably fast. Meanwhile, Bradford threw 15 interceptions and fumbled six times last season.
Locker’s prospects for 2012 improve significantly with a full recovery from Kenny Britt. As embarrassing as he is off-the-field, he can embarrass defenders just as much on Sundays. They also used their first round pick on a wide receiver drawing rave reviews this off-season in Kendall Wright. There’s serious talent there. In the backfield, Chris Johnson represents a bigger threat even if it is only with his sheer presence than Steven Jackson does in St. Louis. This should open up the field for Locker even more, who can even score points with his running ability when Bradford has to live in bubble wrap behind the line of scrimmage.
If we’ve learned anything from Walter White, the fact that he will do anything to protect his own interests should top the list. In this case, Locker has shown he can take care of the people around him. The kid creates chemistry with his receivers, a great sign for future quarterback success. Meanwhile, Bradford has shown over two full seasons that he knows as much about chemistry as Kim Kardashian knows about a happy marriage. Assuming the Titans show a minimal amount of intelligence and hands Locker the keys to the kingdom, make sure Locker is on your roster.