By Dan Buffa
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - On the Fourth of July, the fireworks come out and everybody's eyes glisten with the glimmer of beauty that fills the sky. We stand there in awe of the spectacle and point to the sky for our kids to see as well. It's an event. Fireworks eventually launch into the stars and fade away though. They are great yet short lived. That is exactly the mindset Rams fans should have with Johnny Manziel. Look, admire, and just say "no." Appreciate the thought and move on. Let me explain.
Manziel is attractive. He is the beautiful looking single woman sipping a whiskey at the bar that everybody drools over while thinking of ways to start a conversation. It's too bad the Rams are married to Sam Bradford and would have to sever that relationship in order to truly pursue the well-known college football star.
The Rams would have to throw out their run first mentality and restructure the playbook for an athlete who worked out of the spread offense at Texas A&M. In that style of offense, a quarterback can call an audible every other play, run around for five minutes and then make a choice of where to throw the football. That doesn't mesh well with Jeff Fisher or Brian Schottenheimer's style of play and coaching. It also rarely ends well for the quarterback. Just ask Michael Vick or Robert Griffin III.
In Fisher's regime, the running back pounds away at the defense while the quarterback meticulously takes apart the tired linebackers and out of sync secondary. There is no way Manziel will hand the ball off 25 times and run a set offense. The team that drafts him will have to work him over in their system for 2-3 years or design a playbook for him to run with. Manziel isn't Tim Tebow, but he will bring a similar spectacle to your organization. He isn't a bad draft pick for a team in dire need of rebuilding but he doesn't fit into the Rams current mold.
The Rams tried to run the spread style for the first part of 2013 and failed miserably before installing Zac Stacy at tailback and running the offense behind him after Bradford's injury. With Bradford back, that approach will hold quite nicely. Where does Manziel fit into the plans here?
The Rams would have to blow everything up that they have carefully built under Fisher, Brian Schottenheimer and Bradford. They can trade Bradford, draft Manziel and hopefully rely on their same cornerbacks and secondary to make a great adjustment from being one of the worst secondary units in the NFL to something better. They can rely on their 2nd and 3rd round picks to find offensive guards and tackles to keep Manziel upright. That or pray to the good lord baby jesus that Jake Long's knee and Roger Saffold's entire lower body stay in shape. Is that the way Fisher wants to go in his third season here?
Let me remind you: Fisher came here for Bradford. He has stated that many times and throughout the years. On Tuesday at the pre-draft press conference, Fisher reminded us again why he came to St. Louis. Win with Sam. He loves Bradford and what he can bring and Sam has gotten better under Fisher. Before his knee injury in 2013, Bradford was having a great season without the help of a steady running back. He threw for 14 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions with a completion percentage of 60 percent which included many drops. By now, you know what Bradford gives you and unless General Manager Les Snead and Fisher are ready to blow it all up, why not stick with it?
Bradford has two years left on his contract and will make $10 million-plus in 2014. The contract is trade friendly but not unless there is something better waiting around the corner and while Manziel's thriller style of play gives me goosebumps in fleeting moments, I am not sure I wager the future on that ideal.
A safer bet would be to draft A.J. McCarron and groom him to be the future backup and 3rd quarterback. He is a solid safe pick for a team with two quarterbacks in place before the summer begins. This will break certain people's heart to hear that Johnny Football isn't the ideal choice. When I heard the rumors of Fisher talking to Manziel for an hour after his session with the Rams, I got all excited for exactly 5 minutes before reminding myself there could be a better course of action for this football team.
What should they do with the 2nd and 13th picks in the draft? Shore up your safety, offensive line and grab another receiver if you see fit. Trade down and collect more picks. Trade up and secure another player. Stay away from temptation unless there is a prime future attached to it. Stay away from the Bridgewater's, Manziel's, and Bortles'. The NFL Draft Day is a candy store for coaches and managers. Everything looks tasty and affordable.
If The Rams came out and announced today that they were selecting Manziel, the majority of Rams fans in St. Louis would go nuts with joy. That is hype for you and the power of it with sports fans. Every sports fan in St. Louis knows who Johnny Manziel is. By now, that is for sure. The important thing to remember is what is vital for this Rams team right now. For this team to succeed with the current roster and coaching staff, Bradford is a better man for the job than Johnny Manziel. That isn't a shot against the young man but a first step reaction to this headline.
Sure, if the Rams stay with Bradford, that does mean they are giving away another shot of drafting a quarterback with a high pick. That may also suggest they are sticking with Sam through 2015 through the end of his contract. Sticking with Bradford is the logical plan right now.
What will the Rams do Thursday night? The same answer I have given every single draft before it starts: I have no idea. Throw out the mock drafts and wait for the commissioner to take the stage. The Rams need a lot of things. One of those things they don't need at the moment is a starting quarterback.
Dan Buffa is a sports writer for Sports Rants. He is also a contributor to KSDK.com and Arch City Sports while writing for his own website, Dose Of Buffa. Contact him firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @buffa82.