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Bradford acclimates to NFL offense ..
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Spread out on the right side, wide receiver Brooks Foster sprinted upfield, then cut sharply inside, splitting two defenders. When Foster turned back, the ball was nearly on top of him.
The grooming of the No. 1 overall pick in April's NFL draft is proceeding slowly but surely during organized team activities. After three weeks of work with the veterans as well as his fellow rookies, Bradford recognizes substantial gains.
"It's been great. I've learned a lot, come a long way since Day One," Bradford said. "I feel a lot more comfortable in the huddle, on the field. I've put a lot of time in, and I think I've been able to grasp more, I've been able to work more than I would in a spring session back at Oklahoma.
"It's definitely better."
Better, but not good enough to earn him much time with the first team yet. Bradford is working almost exclusively with the second and third units as coach Steve Spagnuolo and his staff take a step-by-step approach with their prize recruit.
"He's putting the ball in the right places and seems to be catching on with the offense," Spagnuolo observed. "So, the progress is good."
Ultimately, Bradford will be the Rams' starting quarterback. But if Spagnuolo follows form, that promotion won't come until deep into the preseason. At the earliest.
And that's OK with Bradford. He's more concerned with nailing down the offensive intricacies and sharpening his timing with the receivers. "There are some balls that have sailed," Spagnuolo said. "It's different now. The game's a little bit faster, and it's going to get faster."
Veteran A.J. Feeley, the No. 1 quarterback for now, and Keith Null, heading into his second season with the Rams, are lending a hand.
"I still have a long way to go; I know that," Bradford said. "But I think being around the vets, especially A.J. and Keith, guys who have been in this offense, (helps). I see a play out here that I might think looked fine, the way it needs to be run. And then we get in the film room and they have some input: 'No, this needs to be quicker, this guy's route should be deeper.'
"It's really helpful to see and hear those types of things."
It also helps, Bradford pointed out, that he's able to devote all his time and effort to the cause.
"This is our job now; we're up here all day," he said. "In college, you have to go to class, and there are only a certain amount of hours (the coaches) can work with you in a week."
All the better to soak up offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur's West Coast-style scheme, which, Bradford noted, is similar to what he ran at OU.
"Obviously, we were in the shotgun a little bit more than they are here, but the concepts are still the same," he said. "The only difference is some of the terminology and the way they read the concepts might be a little different."
That presents a dicey mental challenge, Bradford acknowledged.
"After you've done something for four years and then you come in here for three weeks and you have to do it different, it's like your brain already has registered what you're supposed to do and you have to change it; you have to change the way your brain thinks," Bradford said. "That's definitely been something that's been a little bit tough."
Still, if Bradford is struggling, Foster hasn't seen it.
"He puts the ball on the money, his play-calling is really good, and he carries himself like he's been there before," Foster said. "I feel like I'm going to have a good time playing with him."
Add second-round draft pick Rodger Saffold to the injury list. Saffold, a tackle from Indiana, suffered what Spagnuolo described as a strain of his right knee in practice Thursday. Saffold could be sidelined up to three weeks. ... The Rams signed tackle Joe Gibbs, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound undrafted rookie from Tennessee-Martin. He practiced Friday.
Re: Bradford acclimates to NFL offense ..
Ahhh. So Foster has already predicted he is going to make the final roster! Interesting.
Re: Bradford acclimates to NFL offense ..
1st team, 2nd team, get Bradford out ther as much as possible. "Practice" we're talking about "practice" man!
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