Bernie Bytes: 49ers praising Bradford

2013-02-01T13:55:00Z 2013-02-02T17:34:04Z Bernie Bytes: 49ers praising BradfordBY BERNIE MIKLASZ, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist stltoday.com

NEW ORLEANS • It’s going well here. A lot of writing and yapping and listening to interviews. And of course, some fine New Orleans food. If you’re interested in a restaurant recommendation for your next visit to NOLA, here are two.

1. Restaurant August. I think it’s the best in town, and it’s the flagship of the acclaimed chef John Besh. Foodies: words cannot adequately describe the ecstasy that awaits you.

2. La Petite Grocery. Charming. Delightful. This fabulous gem is located in the space that once housed a corner grocery store. It’s the creation of Justin Devillier, one of the best young chefs in the south. You need some motivation? Fine.

Two words: lobster beignets.

You’re welcome.

(A note to my caring doctor: I’ve worked out three times this week so far, and I’m going to come out of one of the world’s greatest restaurant cities with a tie score. Didn’t lose a pound, won’t gain a pound.)

Moving On …

• The San Francisco 49ers seem to think a lot more of Rams quarterback Sam Bradford than many Rams fans do. I find that interesting.

“He’s good now, and he has a chance to be a top quarterback,” 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith said. “Put some more (talent) around him, and watch out.”

“Bradford is definitely a guy that has our respect,” 49ers’ pass-rusher Aldon Smith said. “No doubt about that.”

I asked one key member of the 49ers’ front office about Bradford. He didn’t want his name used. But this was his opinion: “That team needs an elite receiver. If they get it, Bradford will become what most of us thought he’d become.” He added: “Believe me, I hope they don’t get that (receiver.)”

The Rams must also improve the offensive line.

Pro Football Focus ranked the Rams O-line 26th among the 32 teams in overall performance in 2012.

The Ravens and the 49ers offer a perfect example of how you build a team to give a quarterback his best opportunity to succeed. Both have strong offensive lines. Both have receivers that make a difference, receivers that are game changers.

I find it remarkable that Bradford threw nearly as many TD passes this season (21) as Joe Flacco (22) even though Flacco plays behind a superior offensive line and is throwing passes to Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta, etc.

I also find these Pro Football Focus rankings interesting:

Deep Passing Accuracy: Bradford 11th, Flacco 15th.

Accuracy Under Pressure: Bradford 12th, Flacco 17th.

Moving On …

• Flacco/Bradford intrigues me for another reason. Not only are they both traditional, pocket-passer quarterbacks, but Flacco and Bradford aren’t demonstrative or showy on the field. This seems to upset the fans in their respective cities.

Why do we expect quarterbacks to throw tantrums for the cameras, bray like a donkey, or scream at teammates? That works well for some QBs; Brett Favre is a prime example. But they’re all wired in different ways.

“I’ve never understood that,” Flacco said. “I try to stay calm out there. We’re professionals. I don’t think we need to be motivated externally. If you can’t flip the switch and go on game day, then you probably shouldn’t be playing pro football. If you need a pep talk to get going, then it won’t matter.”

But leaders should be yelling!

“I don’t think we need that in a quarterback,” Ravens guard Marshal Yanda said. “I like that Joe is a calm, collected, focused guy. He’s not much of a rah-rah, pump-up, high motivator type. He doesn’t talk a ton but he leads by example on the field and does a great job of staying calm and focusing on what’s important. He’s a serious competitor, too. He likes to compete and you can tell when he’s out there on the field, he’s out there to play his best football and get after it.”

But … quarterbacks have to show how us much they CARE!

We all know that Bradford will never lead the Rams into the Super Bowl because he lacks FIRE!

“Joe Flacco is always just the same," Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie said. "When things are good or if they're bad, he's just even-keel. I've been around quarterbacks who aren't always that way, and believe me, it's better to be like Joe. I don't ever want to bust on him. I want him to stay cool. I know it works for him.”

Moving On …

• I just spoke to Rams GM Les Snead. The Rams’ football leadership has been meeting to review the roster and plan offseason strategy. What do the Rams need?

“Weapons,” Snead said.

He was talking about the offense and said a weapon can come in many forms. Offensive line, receiver, back, etc.

But Snead agrees that the Rams have to add to their “explosive play” capability.

Moving On ...

• As for the Rams search for a new defensive coordinator, Snead said coach Jeff Fisher is taking his time. Snead makes the point that the Rams defense didn't have a coordinator last season, and the defense performed well. The coaches work well together, they all share the same philosophy, and the ensemble cast works. There's no need, Snead said, to force a hire that could disrupt what the Rams have going within the coaching staff.

Moving On ...

• Great win by St. Louis U.; must have been a tremendous defensive effort. Butler turned the ball over 23 times? A team that is so well-coached, so sound, so smart? Twenty-three turnovers?

• Now if only Mizzou can get it going. I don't know what's wrong. The pieces aren't fitting together. Unlike last season, coach Frank Haith hasn't been able to foster the cohesion that a team needs to be successful. This team misses the instant offense and energy that Michael Dixon provided last season. There's still time for MU to come together. But the loss at LSU was disturbing.

Thanks for reading …

— Bernie

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Bernie Miklasz

You've read Bernie Miklasz in the Post-Dispatch since 1989. Now check out a new video "Breakfast with Bernie" every weekday morning. You'll also see more "Bernie Bytes" around the clock as he posts quick-hit commentaries on a variety of topics.

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