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  1. #1
    Flippin' Ram's Avatar
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    Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer

    Laying on an operating table back in the spring before Sam Bradford was ever officially a Ram, running back Steven Jackson put in a call to the potential No. 1 overall pick.

    Jackson had been well aware of the Rams’ interest in Bradford and had heard nothing but positive things about Bradford as a player. But Jackson wanted to ensure that Bradford’s shoulder was OK and that he was going to be able to step in right away and help Jackson and the Rams in their rebuilding efforts.

    That probably seems like ages ago to both Bradford and Jackson but what the rookie quarterback has accomplished in his first half of a NFL season is extremely fresh in their minds.

    “It definitely has reinforced everything that I had read and heard about him,” Jackson said. “He’s a competitor. He’s a quiet competitor, but he’s a competitor that knows how to get the job done.”

    What Bradford has done is help lead the charge for a team that has hit the halfway point of the 2010 season as one of the league’s most pleasant surprises.

    At 4-4 and sitting squarely in the middle of the race for the NFC West Division title, the Rams have received major contributions from a variety of places, not least of which is the relentless leadership and running of Jackson and a feisty, aggressive defense that simply keeps opponents out of the end zone.

    But perhaps as much as anything, it’s the change at the most important position on the field that has sparked the turnaround. In Bradford, the Rams knew they had their future at the quarterback position but they might not have known that the future is now.

    “He has shown that he’s ahead of the scale of where a normal rookie would be at this particular point as a quarterback, in my opinion, just because of the way he handles himself, what he does, how he performs, the interactions with the players, those things, all the things in the huddle,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “And if he continues to do that, he’ll continue on this curve going upwards. That’s what we’re hoping.”

    Rookie middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who is often viewed as the lead building block on the defense because of his position but also his leadership qualities and passion for the game, says he sees a lot of himself in Bradford.

    The two have become fast friends because of those qualities.

    “I knew we were getting a terrific quarterback,” Laurinaitis said. “You could kind of sense his cool demeanor in college. I think after talking to him for a little bit through the draft process, after he got picked up and getting to know him and becoming friends, he’s a guy that I think we have very similar mentalities. He’s a perfectionist. He wants to be great for the Rams and when you have your QB doing that I think it trickles down to everybody else. We are very similar in that way. Everything you expect from a No. 1 pick, if you could pick the prototype No. 1 pick and check off all the things you would invest in; he has all those things.”

    At the halfway point of the season, Bradford has exceeded even the loftiest expectations for a rookie signal caller.

    Through eight games, Bradford has thrown for 1,674 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions with a completion percentage of 58.6 and a rating of 75.9. For frame of reference, Bradford’s quarterback rating as a rookie is better than the likes of Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, John Elway and Troy Aikman through eight games.

    The always humble Bradford hasn’t allowed his early success to cloud what he’s trying to accomplish and the level he hopes to reach, though.

    When asked to summarize how he feels the first eight games have gone, Bradford struggles to find an answer.

    “I think that’s hard to do,” Bradford said. “I think I’ve gotten better as the season has progressed, which is a definite positive. There are still a lot of things that I have to work on. I have to become a much better player than I am today, but I think the fact that I’ve made progress from Week 1 is a positive sign. If I can continue that, I think good things will happen.”

    The learning curve for a rookie quarterback is probably steeper than any position in sports, let alone just in football. Bradford has made it a point to emphasize constantly learning what areas in which he needs to improve and then working to make it happen.

    Most coaches and players like to view the season in four four-quarter blocks. In the past four contests, Bradford says he can see a difference from the first four.

    “I think I learn different things every week,” Bradford said. “I think you have to. You can’t be satisfied with what you did, so I think there were a lot of things I learned. I think I learned I didn’t have to force as many things. I think I was a lot more patient in the last four games than probably the first four games, which I think is definitely a good thing.”

    Bradford is quick to credit quarterbacks coach Dick Curl as well as his offensive line for his early performance.

    Through those eight games, Bradford has been sacked 17 times for a loss of 102 yards but many of those sacks have involved Bradford simply tucking the ball and running out of bounds for a loss rather than taking a hit.

    And though he’d normally be about three-quarters of the way through his season if he were still in college, Bradford says he feels great physically.

    “No, my body feels great right now,” Bradford said. “I really haven’t got hit a lot. Our offensive line has done a great job of keeping me protected this year, so my body feels great right now. I would say if anything…mentally, that’s probably the tougher part right now than physically.”

    That’s where Curl comes in. During games, Curl can regularly be found working with Bradford on the bench, going over calls, looking at pictures of coverages and reminding Bradford about his fundamentals.

    “I talked about Dick’s experience way back when we drafted Sam,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s done that with a lot of guys in this league, developed them, and I know there’s a comfort level there between Sam and Coach Curl, so I think that’s a good thing.”

    While his overall statistics are middle of the pack in terms of the league, his performance on third downs is among the best in the league. On those money downs, he’s completed 55 passes, 42 of which have gone for first downs, both totals ranking the best in the NFL.

    In fact, Bradford has throws for 608 yards and six touchdowns for a rating of 101.2 in those situations, all totals that rank second in the league.

    Still, Bradford maintains that he needs to continue to work to get better in every area though one area he’s been at his best is when it matters most.

    “(It’s) just everything,” Bradford said. “Everything about playing the position. Defensive recognition, making protection calls, becoming quicker in my reads, the list goes on. Everything that I do as a quarterback I can become better at.”

    It’s a thought that while true, is probably not too exciting for the rest of the league.

    Again I'm really impressed with his humility and room for even greater improvement. I don't think this guy will ever be satisfied with his progress until he gets a 158.3 rating season. Wouldn't it be great if he actually achieved that?


  2. #2
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    Man, Bradford is the man. He has a start that is comparable to NFL greats in their rookie year and his response is "I don't know, I'm better than I was, but I need lots of work" that is just great. No chest thumping, just desire for more.

    Also, btw Mr. Wagoner, JLau is not a rookie.

  3. #3
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    Quote Originally Posted by fliptalianstallion View Post
    Again I'm really impressed with his humility and room for even greater improvement. I don't think this guy will ever be satisfied with his progress until he gets a 158.3 rating season. Wouldn't it be great if he actually achieved that?
    You can see the growth and improvement in Sam Bradford just over the last 3 games, he has no interceptions. That saying alot for a rookie QB!
    Keep it going, SAM!!!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    I am in no way comparing their abilities, but the more I hear Sam Bradford speak, the more he reminds me of Peyton Manning. He says the right things, gives honest self-assessments after he plays and doesn't accept failure. A .500 record isn't good enough for him. He understands what he means to this team and what it will take to become an elite player. What's more, others around him accept him as a leader and they will become better players because of that. In short, he's got a great head on his shoulders.

    I'm ecstatic this guy's a Ram.

  5. #5
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    I am ready for that 300 Yard 3 TD game...I am predicting @ Arizona?? Bradford is the man period

  6. #6
    Rich86 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    nor should he be, there were three games we let get away anyway you slice it. the second half is going to be intense, but i think the close games we played in the first half will give us a surprising advantage in the 2nd.

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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    Bradford strikes me as the type to go 16-0 and win the super bowl with a perfect passer rating in every game, and would still say he needs to improve. Love his attitude.
    Last edited by berg8309; -11-03-2010 at 10:38 PM.

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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    I'm just curious. But what quarterbacks had Dick Curl coached before? Not harping on him, just curious.

  9. #9
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRam View Post
    I'm just curious. But what quarterbacks had Dick Curl coached before? Not harping on him, just curious.
    Brodie Croyle
    David Greene
    Damon Huard
    Quinn Gray
    Tyler Thigpen

    those are all from the chiefs. so besides our Qb's thats all the ones that he has coached.

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    Rich86 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    Quote Originally Posted by sjacksonrules View Post
    Brodie Croyle
    David Greene
    Damon Huard
    Quinn Gray
    Tyler Thigpen

    those are all from the chiefs. so besides our Qb's thats all the ones that he has coached.
    yikes at that list.

  11. #11
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    Quote Originally Posted by sjacksonrules View Post
    Brodie Croyle
    David Greene
    Damon Huard
    Quinn Gray
    Tyler Thigpen

    those are all from the chiefs. so besides our Qb's thats all the ones that he has coached.
    Dick Curl has 45 years of coaching experience. This hardly tells the whole story ...

  12. #12
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    Also, Brodie Croyle was given almost no chance to play on the Chiefs, what they did to him was crazy. Also it reminds me of some of the crazy QB antics going on elsewhere in the league: Benching McNabb, starting a QB one week only to pull him after a bad throw, oscillating between two QBs all season, etc etc.

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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsInfiniti View Post
    Dick Curl has 45 years of coaching experience. This hardly tells the whole story ...
    Really now.

    I looked him up on wikipedia and he seems to only have about 13 years experience total from when he worked with Barcelona Dragons, Frankfurt Galaxy, the chiefs and finally the rams.

    So where is this other 30 years coming from?????

    I guess I could of added

    Jake Delhomme fom the Frankfurt Galaxy
    John Kitna from the Barcelona Dragons
    Kelly Holcomb from the Dragons

    But that still doesnt help his case any...

    So please tell me how you get 45 years whenever he has been coaching since 1991....

  14. #14
    AtlantaRamFan's Avatar
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    That list doesn't bother me and here's why: Peyton Manning's QB coach didn't make Peyton great. He may or may not have helped the process along, but I believe he would have been this great regardless of who his QB coach was. Every player has a certain level of potential, and I believe it has 98% to do with the players physical and mental abilities and 2% to do with the coach. Give or take lol..

    Obviously these position coaches have some amount of knowledge of fundamentals, reading defenses etc or the wouldn't be here. But when I look at that list, I don't see any huge flops/highly regarded prospects (unless I missed something). I could be wrong, but I'm not worried about Bradford's development based off who Curl coached before.

    EDIT: and Infiniti's 45 years comes from the Ram's website:

    "A former University of Richmond quarterback (1958-62) who began his coaching career on the high school level in 1962..."
    Last edited by AtlantaRamFan; -11-04-2010 at 02:40 PM.

  15. #15
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    Re: Bradford Not Satisfied With Strong Start

    lol...ohh man i love this dude. great attitude keep it up youngster

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