Sam Bradford has been a lightning rod in St Louis, as any team's quarterback will be. Especially when that team struggles with consistency, and hasn't made the playoffs in years.
Fans have chided him for holding the ball too long, and for throwing it too quickly. Fans have berated his lack of deep passes, and for taking chances deep with (insert "bad" receiver here). Fans have berated his body language, his leadership, his decision making, and his vision. I'm a fan, and I've done all of these things.
I've also been a Bradford believer. I love to point out signs of his progress, or to put his struggles in appropriate context. Like anyone who stands with Bradford when he does well, I've caught subsidiary lightning strikes when he struggles next.
To my mind, this isn't flip-flopping. Bradford has deserved all of the criticism, because his talents are so abundant that fans should expect greatness. And Bradford should receive props (if not gushing praise) when he shows that greatness that we expect. For example: he was on pace for 32 TDs and 9 INTs. It would have been only the 15th QB season ever with more than 30 TDs and 10 or fewer INTs. That's "ever" as in "the entire history of the NFL." It's not a Super Bowl ring, but it would put him in company with championship caliber QBs, and it would be another step toward leading this team back to greatness.
Bradford deserves to be a lightning rod because he is a legitimate pro quarterback.
The team has not yet confirmed it publicly, but it looks as though the Rams are going to spend the rest of 2013 without a legitimate pro quarterback.
Source: Rams QB Sam Bradford has torn ACL.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 21, 2013
@RamsHerd I can confirm it.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) October 21, 2013