The St. Louis Rams are in an unfortunate, if familiar, position after losing starting quarterback Sam Bradford to a torn ACL this weekend. With just two weeks to go before the opening of the 2014 season, this was supposed to be the offense's chance to build chemistry and grease the wheels before the real games begin.
Instead, coach Jeff Fisher will have the group preparing under new starting quarterback Shaun Hill, with little else resembling an alternative. The Rams were built to have their 2010 No. 1 overall pick at QB, and without Bradford, we'll see a team battling the odds to have a productive offense with a journeyman running the show.
How will the Rams fare without Bradford? It's hard to say, but the past few years of quarterback instability haven't exactly been kind to the franchise. This was supposed to be the season when Bradford finally led St. Louis to something meaningful, but now that task will be up to someone else. Most likely it's Hill, but let's take a look at the options.
This is, for all intents and purpose, the Rams' new plan entering the 2014 season. Hill, a 34-year-old who last took significant snaps with Detroit in 2010, will be the team's starting quarterback going forward, with former Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis as his backup.
Hill could actually be a decent option for the team. In 37 career games, including 26 starts, he's completed 62 percent of his passes and thrown for 41 touchdowns to just 23 interceptions. He's backed up Matthew Stafford in Detroit the past few years, and brings serviceable play to the position. The Rams looked into signing Hill back in 2012, and finally brought him in this offseason.
St. Louis can probably expect decent play from Hill, but he's also lacking much upside. If the team aims to reach the postseason, and potentially make some noise once there, it might consider looking elsewhere.
However, Hill will be the guy for now, and Fisher will likely give him a few weeks to prove that he's deserving of keeping the job. If the Rams can win some games early with Hill offering solid play, the team may hope to ride defense and Zac Stacy to the postseason and then assess the QB situation again next offseason.
The calls for Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins came almost immediately after news of Bradford's injury broke. The team in D.C. seems set to use Robert Griffin III as its quarterback entering next season, and that means more of the countless rumors surrounding Cousins and his inevitable trade.
There haven't been any indications yet that St. Louis will pursue a deal, but given the lack of quality options on the free agent market, this is probably where the team turns if its in-house options don't work. Cousins isn't the only possible option -- there could always be Chase Daniel, Ryan Mallett or another backup -- but he's probably the most obvious one.
Any deal would also likely cost the Rams valuable draft picks, so it's easy to see why they'd prefer to avoid a deal. The available options aren't exactly game-changers, after all.
Hill isn't the Rams' only quarterback under contract. Unfortunately, neither of these options are particularly appealing or likely as Bradford replacements.
Davis, 25, has taken the most snaps for the team this preseason and played alright. He's completed 27 of 44 passes for 327 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, leading the team in every single category. In 2011, he put up big numbers as a senior at Southern Miss -- 30 TDs, nearly 3,500 yards passing -- but he's not considered ready to be an NFL starter.
The team's other quarterback is rookie sixth-round pick Garrett Gilbert out of SMU. Last year, Gilbert passed for 3,528 yards with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 10 games with the Mustangs. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 108 yards in brief preseason action thus far.