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  • Bradford's the One

    Bradford's the One
    Thursday, April 22, 2010
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    At about 6:35 on Thursday night, Rams general manager Billy Devaney picked up the phone and placed the call that ended months of speculation. After a few long rings, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford answered his phone.

    Devaney welcomed Bradford to “the Rams family” and told him he was thrilled to have Bradford and his family in the fold. He then passed the phone to coach Steve Spagnuolo and owner Lucia Rodriguez, as everyone took turns congratulating and welcome Bradford to St. Louis.

    For the Rams, the evaluation of Bradford was easy. But the decision to take him was not.

    “This really should have been a slam dunk decision,” Devaney said. “We were looking for a young quarterback. Bradford is by far the top quarterback in the draft. It should have been a slam dunk. But it wasn’t because those other kids were so special. They really caused us to pause and think this thing through. They made it a lot tougher decision than it should have been just because they are such good players and good people.”

    Those “other kids” Devaney was referring to were Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. It’s why Devaney has maintained right up until it was time to make the pick that no decision had been made despite the constant speculation about the Rams’ preference.

    Ultimately, though, it was the ability of Bradford, the highest rated player on the team’s board, that won out.

    “It’s quite evident in this league that’s an important position,” Spagnuolo said. “It is the team that wins the games, it’s not one guy. It’s not one position. But that’s an important one. That guy handles the ball every single play on offense and does something with it typically. You have to have somebody there that we can grow with right now.”

    Indeed, the Rams are certain that Bradford is just the guy to step into that role and lead the Rams into the future.

    In 31 games for the Sooners, Bradford posted eye-popping numbers that would make video game players blush. He finished with 8,403 passing yards and 88 touchdowns on 67.6 percent passing.

    “Just to have the opportunity to come to St. Louis and start my NFL career there is just a blessing, and I can’t wait to get there and get to work,” Bradford said. “It was a dream come true. You grow up and dream about playing in the NFL and you dream about going in the first round. It just seemed so far-fetched at the time. To be up there tonight and to actually have it happen is just an unbelievable feeling.”

    For many years, the NFL offseason has been referred to as the “silly season” and with good reason. Sitting in the catbird seat with the first pick in the draft, the Rams were the source of constant rumor, innuendo and speculation.

    That can be daunting in and of itself but Devaney and his crew of scouts and personnel people stayed true to the system. And Bradford caught his eye long before the end of the 2009 NFL season.

    “I have been comfortable with this guy for a long, long time,” Devaney said. “I don’t even want to say how long but it’s been a long time. I have really admired the guy for sometime right now.”

    While Devaney has been comfortable, a big part of the process has been making sure everyone is on the same page. While Bradford’s tape certainly speaks for itself, there were a few issues to overcome before the decision could be finalized.

    At the top of that list are the obvious issues surrounding Bradford’s shoulder. Unlike most prospects, Bradford had to spend his time rehabilitating his injured shoulder rather than preparing for the scouting combine.

    When he finally was able to throw at his pro day in March, Bradford wowed every scout, coach and personnel type in attendance. It was there that Spagnuolo had the opportunity to eat breakfast with Bradford.

    Spagnuolo, a defensive minded coach by nature, joked on Tuesday that he was becoming a bit of a quarterback guru because he spent so much time in the buildup to the draft observing them.

    “It’s quite evident in this league that’s an important position,” Spagnuolo said. “It is the team that wins the games, it’s not one guy. It’s not one position. But that’s an important one. That guy handles the ball every single play on offense and does something with it typically. You have to have somebody there that we can grow with right now.”

    With the shoulder issue settled, the Rams did their diligence to find out all they could about Bradford’s character and work ethic.

    For the entire buildup to the draft, Devaney has emphasized that character and intangibles are perhaps the most important aspects of evaluating a quarterback. The physical attributes, including his impressive size (6’5, 235 pounds) and athleticism (he’s an accomplished golfer, basketball player and hockey player) were already evident.

    The scouts did their background work but Devaney and Spagnuolo also wanted to find out as much as possible. By sheer happenstance, Spagnuolo ran into Bradford’s Putnam City High coach when he attended Bradford’s workout in Norman.

    By all accounts, Bradford has the type of “gym rat” approach that has him constantly studying film and working at perfecting his craft.

    “There wasn’t one thing in the research, not one person we talked to where anything came up in a negative sense,” Spagnuolo said. “This is a class guy from a class family from a great college with great football players. He fits the mold of what you are looking for. There is no perfect person but we thought Sam had a lot of the attributes we were looking for.”

    Bradford is the first quarterback the Rams have drafted in the first round since Bill Munson in 1964. As the top pick in the draft, there will be an inherent amount of pressure and expectation that goes with the territory.

    But the Rams will do all they can in the coming months to make Bradford’s transition as smooth as possible. Devaney said the Rams have no expectation that Bradford will be thrown into the fire right away and Spagnuolo has long maintained that any rookie will have to compete and prove himself the guy that best positions the team to win.

    For his part, Bradford said he is hoping to adapt and learn as much as possible upon his arrival in St. Louis.

    “Obviously I haven’t looked at the playbook,” Bradford said. “I haven’t gone through any practices or anything like that, but I’m going to tell you that I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can to get on the field as soon as possible.”

    The moment he does, Bradford will become one of the most important pieces in the Rams’ rebuilding process.

    It’s a tall order but it’s one that Devaney believes his newest addition is ready to handle.

    “It’s kind of understood it is a quarterback driven league,” Devaney said. “A top notch quarterback can carry you a long way. There’s a reason they are the highest paid and most coveted because not a lot of guys can play this position at a high level. We think we found the guy that can.”

  • #2
    Re: Bradford's the One

    It really does feel like a new day has begun..

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bradford's the One

      i know what you mean now i feel like we can start over from new. I cant wait to see Bradford on the field and i hope its soon.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bradford's the One

        I love that the Rams are taking the "Best guy will play.." approach. They are handling the srutiny and criticism like true rpos and i love this regime for it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bradford's the One

          It was the right pick.Gotta start with QB.I really like this new format.More time for wheeling and dealing.Rams are in the driver seat for whoever wants Clausen.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bradford's the One

            With the way the 1st round played out, I wonder if it ever dawned on the Rams to take Suh and then gamble on McCoy or Clausen being there in the 2nd round.
            :helmet:

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bradford's the One

              No surprise that the Rams took bradford.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bradford's the One

                well can't be that bad picking a franchise QB. Usually a number 1 pick a QB is a good move especially if the guy throws 50 TD's. I did want a D linemen. But there are other rounds for that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bradford's the One

                  Would have been nice to have a T. Holt type WR waiting for Bradford plus a few other weapons to throw too. Just a guess but I wonder if the Rams are thinking that very thing today?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Bradford's the One

                    Hard to say who they pick in round 2. So many holes to fill. Yes they need a go-to WR but they also need to shore up the middle of the D-line. They also still need to plug the linebacker hole made by trading Witherspoon.
                    :helmet:

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Bradford's the One

                      Originally posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
                      Would have been nice to have a T. Holt type WR waiting for Bradford plus a few other weapons to throw too. Just a guess but I wonder if the Rams are thinking that very thing today?
                      Damian Williams anyone? Every time i see him play i see a guy in the Holt type mold, with better YAC ability.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Bradford's the One

                        Originally posted by Bralidore(RAMMODE) View Post
                        Damian Williams anyone? Every time i see him play i see a guy in the Holt type mold, with better YAC ability.
                        Your seeing the light! Amen.

                        Comment

                        Related Topics

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                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Rams Confident Bradford Is Healthy
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          Rams confident Bradford is healthy

                          BY JIM THOMAS
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                          04/01/2010

                          At the NFL scouting combine one month ago, Rams general manager Billy Devaney said the team planned to have an independent third party — a "neutral" doctor, if you will — check out quarterback Sam Bradford's surgically repaired throwing shoulder.

                          Those plans have been scratched.

                          "At that point, (the shoulder) was such a big question mark," Devaney said Wednesday. "Since then, we've talked to so many people that have looked at him from other teams. And our doctors — they've gone over him with a fine-tooth comb — we're completely satisfied. We don't need a follow-up."

                          Devaney said he and coach Steve Spagnuolo have done some checking on their own over the last several weeks to get medical opinions from other voices. Devaney didn't specify which teams, but Devaney and Spagnuolo have worked with several other teams over the years, and as Devaney put it: "You have friends around the league."

                          Bradford underwent a reconstruction of the AC joint surrounding his shoulder in late October, with the procedure performed by noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews.

                          "They just went in and with like a nylon braid pretty much put the clavicle (collarbone) back in place and re-secured the joint," Bradford said at the scouting combine.

                          Bradford injured the shoulder twice during the University of Oklahoma's 2009 season.

                          "It was a grade 3 (shoulder) separation," Bradford said.

                          In some cases even after a second separation, surgery isn't required. Rest and rehab can get a shoulder back to health. But in this case, Bradford decided not to take any chances. If he had done nothing but rest and rehab, there might have been even more doubts about the shoulder during the pre-draft process. Having the surgery — and having it performed by Andrews — would lessen those doubts.

                          (In fact, there was an undercurrent at the combine that the injury was so minor, relatively speaking, that some medical officials privately wondered if surgery was even necessary.)

                          But Bradford decided he would be better safe than sorry in choosing surgery.

                          "From what I've heard from doctors, after the second (injury), for my long-term health, if I wanted to continue playing football and get stronger in the weight room, I needed to have the surgery," Bradford said.

                          Before the surgery, Bradford approached San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith for advice.

                          "I know that he had the same procedure by Dr. Andrews," Bradford said. "From what I understand, it was pretty successful. He just told me what to expect from the rehab standpoint. Kind of what he went through when he went through the whole process, trying to...
                          -04-01-2010, 08:59 PM
                        • Azul e Oro
                          Devaney/Spags press conference on Bradford
                          by Azul e Oro
                          (GM Billy Devaney Opening Remarks)
                          “Obviously you know we took Sam (Bradford) but what I did want to say…what really on the surface should have been an obvious pick - and maybe to a lot of you it was, that we were taking a quarterback - those other two kids we were thinking about, (Ndamukong) Suh and (Gerald) McCoy, they made this whole process really difficult being the players and the type of people that they are. It really was a tough decision and it shouldn’t have been. Bradford should have been the obvious guy all along and we wrestled with it just because we think those two kids are really going to be special football players. I wanted to throw that out there first of all. Obviously we’re thrilled to have Bradford on board. The whole building (is excited). Believe it or not, I did talk to everybody at some point individually, defensive coaches, the same thing. They are thrilled about having Bradford in the building as our quarterback. That’s pretty much it.”


                          (Coach Spagnuolo Opening Remarks)
                          “We’re fired up. It’s just like Billy (Devaney) said, this is a special guy. We thought that throughout the whole process. It just grew and grew. We made the final decision when we had to and are looking forward to moving on from here. He’s got all the things you look for in a quarterback. We’re happy that way.”


                          (On what they saw in Bradford to make them comfortable with this pick)
                          Spagnuolo: “Well there are a lot of different things. I let the experts who know quarterbacking and the technique and whatnot handle that, but I did observe real closely the interaction between coaches - I’m talking about Sam with coaches - and the mental part of it and how he acted around his teammates. All that stuff’s important to me, anything that said ‘team’ or said ‘leader’. I got to know just in sitting with him that he’s a thinker. He’s a listener. He’s got a calmness about him. I thought all those qualities were pretty good in a quarterback. “

                          (On when they decided that Bradford was the choice)
                          Devaney: “It was probably a couple of days ago. I wanted to get the input from everybody. I kind of had an idea, but it just made me feel that much better when I got the input from the scouts and the coaches, what their true feelings were also, and that just solidified my belief that this was the perfect fit for us.”



                          (On what separated Bradford from the other quarterbacks)
                          Devaney: “I don’t know. Those guys are going to be really good. I’d just rather talk about Bradford and the positives of him. Believe me, if it wound up for some reason that we didn’t keep this pick, and it was one of those other guys, we think they’re going to be great pros also.”


                          (On they key elements from the coaching staff to ensure Bradford will...
                          -04-22-2010, 10:54 PM
                        • eldfan
                          Rams confident Bradford is healthy
                          by eldfan
                          BY JIM THOMAS
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                          04/01/2010

                          At the NFL scouting combine one month ago, Rams general manager Billy Devaney said the team planned to have an independent third party — a "neutral" doctor, if you will — check out quarterback Sam Bradford's surgically repaired throwing shoulder.

                          Those plans have been scratched.

                          "At that point, (the shoulder) was such a big question mark," Devaney said Wednesday. "Since then, we've talked to so many people that have looked at him from other teams. And our doctors — they've gone over him with a fine-tooth comb — we're completely satisfied. We don't need a follow-up."

                          Devaney said he and coach Steve Spagnuolo have done some checking on their own over the last several weeks to get medical opinions from other voices. Devaney didn't specify which teams, but Devaney and Spagnuolo have worked with several other teams over the years, and as Devaney put it: "You have friends around the league."

                          Bradford underwent a reconstruction of the AC joint surrounding his shoulder in late October, with the procedure performed by noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews.

                          "They just went in and with like a nylon braid pretty much put the clavicle (collarbone) back in place and re-secured the joint," Bradford said at the scouting combine.

                          Bradford injured the shoulder twice during the University of Oklahoma's 2009 season.

                          "It was a grade 3 (shoulder) separation," Bradford said.

                          In some cases even after a second separation, surgery isn't required. Rest and rehab can get a shoulder back to health. But in this case, Bradford decided not to take any chances. If he had done nothing but rest and rehab, there might have been even more doubts about the shoulder during the pre-draft process. Having the surgery — and having it performed by Andrews — would lessen those doubts.

                          (In fact, there was an undercurrent at the combine that the injury was so minor, relatively speaking, that some medical officials privately wondered if surgery was even necessary.)

                          But Bradford decided he would be better safe than sorry in choosing surgery.

                          "From what I've heard from doctors, after the second (injury), for my long-term health, if I wanted to continue playing football and get stronger in the weight room, I needed to have the surgery," Bradford said.

                          Before the surgery, Bradford approached San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith for advice.

                          "I know that he had the same procedure by Dr. Andrews," Bradford said. "From what I understand, it was pretty successful. He just told me what to expect from the rehab standpoint. Kind of what he went through when he went through the whole process, trying to decide if he should have surgery or not." ...
                          -03-31-2010, 08:46 PM
                        • BM_Face
                          Rams have pieces in place to build consistent winner
                          by BM_Face
                          By Pete Prisco
                          CBSSports.com Senior Writer

                          Steven Jackson and James Laurinaitis are two of the core leaders the Rams are building around. (AP)
                          EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Sitting at his desk eating a chicken sandwich in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, a NASCAR race on the TV in the background, St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney looks more prepared to use that surfboard leaning against the wall in his office than he is to dive into running a football team.

                          But despite the laid-back, California way about him, Devaney is serious when it comes to football and especially building the Rams into a contender -- not only in their division, but in the league.

                          "We're getting better," Devaney said. "We know we've made progress. But there's a lot to do."

                          In 2009, the Rams were 1-15, the joke of the league, and Devaney was in his first year in charge of turning the Rams around.

                          "I wouldn't wish that on anybody," Devaney said.

                          Here were are two years later and the Rams are considered one of the rising teams in the NFL. Under Devaney's watch, and with coach Steve Spagnoulo ably assisting, the Rams are being built for the long run.

                          We have had countless teams that have popped up over the years to have good seasons, but then fade away. They don't have staying power. If you notice, the really good teams have staying power. They are not the aberration-season teams.

                          The Colts, Patriots, Steelers have all had staying power. The Rams are working to get that.

                          If you study the structure of those good organizations, there are five reasons they have had that sustainable success. They are:

                          • Good general manager

                          • Sharp coach

                          • Franchise quarterback

                          • Good veterans for guidance

                          • A key group of young, core players

                          The Rams look to have the same makeup. It's far too early to think that the Rams are back to the glory days of The Greatest Show on Turf, but after going 7-9 last season and pushing for a division title, the needle is pointing up.

                          "Teams still look at us as the 1-15 Rams of two years ago," veteran running back Steven Jackson.

                          That would be a mistake. They might not be ready for a Super push this year, but starting in 2012 and beyond they will be in the mix for the Lombardi Trophy.

                          They have Devaney and Spagnuolo, two sharp men, even if they are opposites in terms of demeanor, running things. They have the franchise passer in Sam Bradford, the veteran leader in Jackson and a nice group of young core players.

                          Here's a look at each of the Rams five important components in building a sustainable championship contender.

                          • • •

                          The laid-back general manager

                          Can you believe that a guy from...
                          -08-18-2011, 06:59 AM
                        • Nick
                          Prisco: If Rams want to win, Bradford is easy -- and only -- choice
                          by Nick
                          If Rams want to win, Bradford is easy -- and only -- choice
                          Feb. 27, 2010
                          By Pete Prisco
                          CBSSports.com Senior Writer
                          Tell Pete your opinion!

                          INDIANAPOLIS -- When was the last Super Bowl you came away from thinking that a defensive tackle decided the game?

                          Now you know why the St. Louis Rams have no choice but to take a quarterback with the first overall pick in the April draft.

                          That quarterback should be Oklahoma's Sam Bradford.

                          Forget the charade, Rams. Forget the two top defensive tackles. As good as Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy are as players, that position doesn't come close to being as important as quarterback.

                          You don't win championships with defensive tackles.

                          You win with great passers.

                          The Rams were 1-15 last season. Their offense was horrible. The passing game was the problem. They were 28th in passing and had just two pass plays of 40-plus yards, the lowest number in the league.

                          Starting quarterback Marc Bulger, who missed time with injuries, is talking retirement and the Rams might not want him back if he doesn't.

                          When Rams general manager Billy Devaney met with the media here at the combine, he said the Rams have pretty much narrowed their possibilities with the top pick -- provided there is no trade -- to four players, the two defensive tackles, Bradford and Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.

                          "We know this," Devaney said. "It if comes down to that right now, there are four guys that will be given consideration."

                          There is still a lot of work left to do before decision day. We have the combine, pro days and two months of evaluation.

                          And then there's the most important part of all: Is Bradford's surgically repaired shoulder as good as new?

                          Bradford suffered a shoulder injury while being tackled in a game last September against BYU. He came back for a game, but the reinjured the shoulder against Texas. That's when his season ended.

                          Bradford had surgery in October, performed by esteemed surgeon Dr. James Andrews, but he's not all the way back to where he can throw. So he isn't throwing here at the combine, but will instead wait for his Pro Day workout in Norman on March 25.

                          "We'll get with the doctors, our medical people, as soon as we get back to St. Louis," Devaney said. "That'll be a big decision, and a lot will go into that. We'll probably have more than one opinion on that. We want to get as accurate and thorough information we can, so we'll find out after this process is over. Yeah, that's why we're putting it on the doctors. You hope so. You'll get obviously all the tests, but we've got to see him throw.

                          "I think his [pro] date is the 25th of March and in my mind we may go in again right...
                          -02-27-2010, 03:22 PM
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