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Sam Bradford Hopes to Follow Peyton Manning's Path
Article from Fanhouse.
NEW YORK -- Really, there isn't much you can criticize about Sam Bradford's rookie season. Bradford not only took every snap under center for the Rams, but he also broke several rookie records, including many which previously belonged to Peyton Manning.
Individual accolades aside, Bradford led a Rams team who was coming off a 1-15 record in 2009 to playing a meaningful win-and-in game for the NFC West crown against the Seahawks in Week 17.
But simply playing a meaningful game in the final week of the season wasn't satisfying enough for Bradford.
In 2011, he expects to lead the charge, turning the Rams into a playoff team in just his second year in the NFL. Many are wondering, though, if Bradford's development in year two might be stifled, particularly because he now has a brand new offensive coordinator calling the shots in St. Louis.
I had a chance to sit down with Bradford after he had "buzzed" his outgrown hair for an Axe Hair men's campaign, and I asked him if he was concerned about having to learn a new offense under the team's new offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels.
"Not at all," he said. "I'm really excited."
"I would have loved to stay in the West Coast (offense)," he continued. "I really enjoyed it this year -- it's a great system. But when you look at what Josh has been able to do in the past with some of his offenses, it's really impressive. As a quarterback, to look at some of the guys he's worked with and what he's been able to do with them, I'm really excited to get the opportunity to work with Josh."
I posed the idea to Bradford about playing more time in the shotgun formation, which McDaniels utilized 68 percent of the time over his two years in Denver -- and without hesitation, Bradford responded with a great big smile, "Definitely!"
Bradford likes the idea of playing four-, even five-receiver sets to open up the passing attack. It's not, however, as if the Rams were married to the run this past season. The team was confident in its rookie quarterback, as evidenced by Bradford breaking several of Manning's rookie passing marks, including pass completions (354) and pass attempts (590).
Humbled, Bradford said that he didn't care so much about the records, but was happy to be in such great company.
"For me," he said, "growing up and watching Peyton play, he's someone I've always looked up to. The way he plays the game, he's just so smart. He always gets the offense in the right call and the right place. If i could follow his path it would be a good path to follow."
Bradford acknowledged that he had something to prove as a rookie, and he probably had to work harder than anyone in his draft class, because of injury concerns -- Bradford had corrective surgery to repair his throwing shoulder in his final season at Oklahoma.
"(Taking every snap) was something that was very important to me -- especially considering as I was going through the draft process there was a lot of questions about my shoulder and a lot of questions about my durability," Bradford said. "So, I think the fact that i was able to take every snap this year with our offense says a lot about me and it's something that I took a lot of pride in."
He also admits that his teammates played an integral role in his early success, touting Mark Clayton's work with Bradford and his teammates both before and after the wide receiver's season-ending injury in Week 5, as well as the importance of Steven Jackson to the Rams offense.
"He meant the world to our offense," Bradford said of Jackson. "He's a great player.
"I think every defense we had to play against this season had to respect our running game, just for the fact that Jackson was in the backfield. They knew at any moment, with the ball in his hands, we had an explosive player who can score. When teams have to respect your running game like that they give you a lot of one-on-one matchups outside, which as a young quarterback it really helped me."
Next season, Bradford expects improvements across the board in St. Louis. As he said, the goal for the Rams is to not only win the NFC West, but to make some noise in the playoffs.
Still, if he wants to keep pace with Manning, who led the Colts to a 13-3 record and first-round bye in the playoffs in his second season, Bradford might have to elevate his rhetoric.
"I think we'll definitely have a shot to be a good team next year," Bradford said.
Let's hope that Sammy can step his game up to the next level!Defence Wins Championships
Re: Sam Bradford Hopes to Follow Peyton Manning's Path
These statements do not surprise me, he just loves to play football. Bradford is a very humble man, quite shy too. But now I am starting to detect him coming out of his shell a bit, I believe he will be a little more vocal this year too. Which will be good for him and the team moving forward.
The Rams must give him more help at WR, and definitely not neglect to help Jackson?
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