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  1. #1
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    Aikman says Bradford needs supporting cast

    Aikman says Bradford needs supporting cast
    BY JIM THOMAS | Posted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 12:10 am

    Troy Aikman throws out a caveat — and a big one at that — in assessing the potential of quarterback Sam Bradford with the Rams.

    "They've got to get some players around him," Aikman said. "If they do that, I think this guy's going to be a real superstar."

    Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys great, admits he doesn't watch a lot of college football.

    "I'm usually off getting prepared for my (NFL) game somewhere," said Aikman, now an NFL analyst for Fox television. "But I got to follow Sam because of where I live, and then of course, my association with OU, having gone there."

    Aikman, who finished his college career at UCLA after two seasons at Oklahoma, likes what he sees in Bradford.

    "I think he's a heck of a talent," Aikman said. "I really do. I like his demeanor, I like his athleticism, everything about him from what I have seen."

    Aikman made his comments Tuesday on a Fox conference call previewing the 2010 NFL season.

    Bradford frequently is compared to Aikman by scouts and NFL analysts. Even so, Aikman was flattered and surprised to learn that Bradford had chosen jersey No. 8 in the NFL, at least partly to honor Aikman. Aikman wore No. 8 during his Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys.

    "I had no idea that he even knew what I had accomplished as a player," Aikman said. "That's a big deal, too, because here you've got a guy who's had great success. That's why he won the Heisman (Trophy). That's why he was going to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

    "For him not to take his college number and to take my number, or take a number and say it was because of him looking up to me when I was playing, it meant a lot to me," Aikman said.

    Bradford's college number at Oklahoma was 14, but it was already taken by Rams wide receiver Keenan Burton in St. Louis. But Bradford could have asked Burton to wear No. 14, or "bought" it from Burton, which is a common enough practice in the NFL.

    Aikman, now 43, spent some time with Bradford on May 3 at Joe Buck's charity golf tournament at Old Warson Country Club. Buck and Aikman form Fox's lead broadcast team for NFL games.

    "Sam played in the tournament, and I had a chance to visit with him," Aikman said. "It was only the second time I'd ever been around him. I met him for the first time when he received the Davey O'Brien Award (in 2008) in Fort Worth. And enjoyed the visit then. Met his parents. It's obvious to see why he's such a good young man. He's got wonderful parents."

    During his introductory press conference in St. Louis, the day after he was drafted, Bradford posed for pictures holding up his No. 8, Rams jersey and talked about his affinity for Aikman.

    "Obviously, he won a lot of games at Dallas," Bradford said that day. "I think he's a great football player. I think that's the one stat that a quarterback wants to have. Wins. That's your goal. That's the objective of the team every time you step on the field. He was very good at that. He's from Oklahoma, too. So yeah, I just relate to him a little bit."

    Aikman won three Super Bowls as a Cowboy, but didn't win a game as a rookie in 1989. The Cowboys went 1-15 that year, with Aikman 0-11 as a starter.

    "We just didn't have a rookie quarterback," said Jimmy Johnson, Aikman's coach at the time. "We had a rookie owner. We had a rookie head coach. We had a rookie running back. And Troy's backup was a rookie. So I didn't have a lot of choices."

    Johnson, a Fox studio analyst, also participated in Tuesday's conference call.

    The Cowboys went 7-9 in Aikman's second season (1990), and made the playoffs the following season. And in 1992, Dallas won the Super Bowl — the first of three Lombardi trophies over a four-season stretch.

    "That rookie season was really hard," Aikman said. "When you put the time in each week, and then you come off the field and have nothing to show for it ... The hard part for a young quarterback is to not lose confidence."

    Aikman said the experience made him realize that winning in the NFL is difficult. And it made him appreciate the success even more once the Cowboys starting winning.

    Now, Bradford comes into a losing franchise as a No. 1 overall draft pick 21 years after Aikman did the same.

    "You know, Sam, he's going to get hit," Aikman said. "That's a (Rams) team that hasn't been very good. They've got to get better players around him. You want to protect him. You don't want to see him get banged up.

    "But yet if he goes through this experience with a team that isn't very good, then he can take at least some consolation in knowing that, 'OK, I'm learning. I'm figuring this thing out. And I'm not holding back a team that has high expectations.'

    "I think that's a positive. But I think you've got to kind of monitor that thing as a coach and make sure that you're not losing this kid because it can happen if he's not having some successes along the way."

  2. #2
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    Re: Aikman says Bradford needs supporting cast

    King Sam. Bring hope to us Ram fans who have been taking a beating after all these years. The few who are left, our wait is over. Hooah

  3. #3
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    Re: Aikman says Bradford needs supporting cast

    I really believe that the supporting cast around Bradford is solid. It's a matter of playing together and creating that chemistry that's so important in the ultimate team sport. What's to say that Bradford won't make the individuals on offense better? Watching Bradford grow into the position is going to be a lot of fun!

  4. #4
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    Re: Aikman says Bradford needs supporting cast

    It's all about staying healthy. The Rams are razor thin everywhere on offense and can't afford the rash of injuries we've had to endure the last few years. If the Rams can stay relatively injury free on offense, I see good things happening.

  5. #5
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    Re: Aikman says Bradford needs supporting cast

    This team is doomed if SJAX goes down. Opposing teams will pummel Bradford if that happens.

  6. #6
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    Re: Aikman says Bradford needs supporting cast

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    This team is doomed if SJAX goes down. Opposing teams will pummel Bradford if that happens.

    He's a rookie QB on a bad team, he's going to get pummeled anyway but if Jackson goes down we'll be seeing David Carr-esque stuff happening.

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