McDaniels excited about what Bradford might do in his system ..
.Sports - St. Louis Rams
Thursday, Jul. 28, 2011
BY STEVE KORTE - News-Democrat
ST. LOUIS -- New St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is working on building a strong relationship with quarterback Sam Bradford.
McDaniels met with Bradford for five hours Tuesday and for five hours again Wednesday to give the young quarterback a crash course in his offensive system.
"I'm getting to know him better every day," McDaniels said. "When you spend five hours with somebody, I think you feel better about them at the end. He's a wonderful young man, obviously with a really bright future ahead of him.
"I was certainly fond of him coming out of Oklahoma and thought highly of what he could do as a quarterback in any system, and nothing that I have experienced here has really changed my mind at all. I think he's really special."
McDaniels and Bradford met for the first time during the NFL Combine last year. Bradford had declared himself eligible for the NFL draft after his junior season at Oklahoma, and McDaniels was the coach of the Denver Broncos.
"I actually did a formal meeting with him, sat down with him at the combine and spent time with him then," Bradford said.
McDaniels has a reputation for developing quarterbacks, namely Tom Brady and Matt Cassel during his eight seasons with the New England Patriots.
During McDaniels' first season in Denver, quarterback Kyle Orton set career highs for passing yards, touchdown passes and passer rating while tying his career low for interceptions.
Bradford said his first impressions of working with McDaniels have been good.
"I think it's going to be awesome," Bradford said. "I think he's very smart. I think he knows a lot about this game. I'm excited to learn from him. I think that if you look at what he's done in the past and the offense that he's led, they've done some special things.
"I think we have the opportunity for the same things here in St. Louis. I think it's just a matter of all of us getting in here, getting to work and just getting going."
McDaniels will serve in the dual role of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Bradford said he's comfortable with that situation since he won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma with Josh Heupel as the Sooners' co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
"The fact that Josh is going to both the offensive coordinator and the quarterbacks coach, I think it's going to make my job a lot easier," Bradford said. "There's not going to be a breakdown in communication anywhere. It's going to come straight from his voice, straight from his mouth. Anything he says is going to go. What we hear in the meeting room is going to be what he's going to want us to do on the field."
Bradford was the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year last season as he set rookie records for pass completions (354) and pass attempts (590). His 3,512 passing yards was the second all-time by a rookie next to Peyton Manning's 3,739 yards in 1998.
McDaniels was on the opposite sideline when Bradford completed 22 of 37 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns in the Rams' 36-33 win over the Broncos last year in Denver.
"He has almost uncanny poise," McDaniels said. "For a young guy to be able to play like that in the National Football League at such a quick schedule and be able to do that and perform at a high level, I thought he was excellent."
Coming from the coaching tree of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, McDaniels said his offense has a little different focus than most offenses.
"When I was in New England I got a chance to learn this offense for the first time from Charlie Weis," McDaniels said. "I think it's really evolved with Bill's understanding of the defense. I think the one thing that hopefully makes ours a little bit unique for the quarterback position is you spend a lot of time talking about the defense. What are we going to try to do each week? We're going to try to score points the best way we can and really that has more to do with what the defense is going to give us than it does with running specific plays every week and repeating those."
A frequent criticism of the Rams' passing attack last season was their lack of deep passes, and McDaniels vowed to stretch the field more this season.
"I think it's really important to attack and force the defense to play every level of the secondary," McDaniels said. "There's a short, intermediate, and a deeper zone. I think it's really important that you don't become too settled on one area of the field and hopefully when we're clicking and things are running as well as we can run them, we are attacking people from sideline to sideline and from short zones to as deep as we can throw it. I think it really is necessary to try to force them to defend the deep part of the field too."
McDaniels, 35, was a hot candidate for a coordinator's job after being fired by the Broncos on Dec. 6. He said he chose the Rams because of his respect for Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo as a defensive coach who made things tough on opposing offenses, and because his wife, Laura, a Cleveland, Ohio, native, wanted to get back to the Midwest.
And, there's one more reason he chose the Rams.
"And, I'm looking forward to coaching Sam," McDaniels said. "That would be silly if I didn't say that."
Re: McDaniels excited about what Bradford might do in his system ..
And with what does he plan to use to stretch the field? Rams are a little shallow in depth at the skill positions. With the lockout ended its the time to make some moves to acquire some talent at WR and a solid 2nd and 3rd RB. Right now its looking like S. Jackson will have to carry the team when opponents discover there isn't a lot of deep threats.