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Jenni Carlson: NFL or bust for OU quarterbacks

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  • Jenni Carlson: NFL or bust for OU quarterbacks

    By Jenni Carlson Oklahoman
    Published: May 18, 2010

    NORMANSam Bradford spent Monday preparing for the St. Louis Rams first offseason workout combining rookies like him with veterans.

    Jason White spent the day playing golf.
    The former Oklahoma quarterbacks have vastly different lives. Bradford is the overall No. 1 draft pick who is carrying the hopes of a franchise on his shoulders, one of which is surgically repaired. White is a husband, a father, a businessman and the headliner for the Oklahoma Heisman Swing for Hope Charity Golf Classic.
    Bradford looks poised to achieve what White and every other Sooner quarterback in recent history failed to do — make it big in the NFL.
    White couldn’t be happier for him or prouder of him.
    "You look at it as this is a guy who was raised in Oklahoma just like me,” White said before the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation’s annual fund-raiser started Monday afternoon at Belmar Golf Club. "We have a lot of the same interests and stuff.”
    Both lived crimson-and-cream boyhood dreams.
    Both won a Heisman Trophy and Sooner hearts.
    But where the NFL is concerned, their stories are vastly different. Bradford could be under center for the Rams when the season begins. White went undrafted and never played a snap in the NFL.
    The difference?
    "I know for a fact it was,” White said.
    Back in the spring of 2005, Tennessee offered to sign White to a two-year contract if he could make the roster as an undrafted free agent. He spent three months with the Titans, going through drills, sitting through meetings and learning their system.
    "You have everything you need,” White remembers Titans coach Jeff Fisher telling him. "You can throw the deep route. You can throw the deep out. You know the terminology.”
    The only thing White didn’t have was a good knee. Both of his had been surgically repaired in college after anterior cruciate ligament tears.
    "Are you going to make it another two weeks?” Fisher said to White. "Are you going to make it two years?”
    Past injuries derailed White’s NFL hopes before they got on track.
    Which is why no one’s heart sank any lower that White’s when Bradford crashed to the turf and injured that AC joint last fall.
    "When someone gets hurt, especially when they made a huge commitment to come back and play when they could’ve been playing in the NFL,” White said, "that always bothers you.”
    White knew the disappointment of a season cut short by injury. He knew the dread of a future wrought with uncertainty. But as much as anything, White knew the thin line between playing on fall Sundays and watching from the couch.
    No one felt Bradford’s pain quite like White.
    Maybe that’s why no one feels more joy for Bradford, either.
    Even though Slingin’ Sam hasn’t made it just yet, White believes Bradford has what it takes. He can master the wide variations of plays and the massive amounts of terminology. He can handle the appearances and the attention. Sam can balance the expectations and the reality.
    Bradford’s biggest challenges will be losing games and getting knocked on his backside.
    The Rams earned the No. 1 draft pick, after all.
    "He’s going to take some shots this year,” White said.
    But ...
    "Out of all of us, Sam has the physical abilities to go with his mental abilities,” White said of recent Sooner signal-callers who’ve fallen short of the NFL.
    Ironic, isn’t it, that Bradford’s health drew the most skepticism from NFL types but that his physical ability might end up being what finally pushes a Sooner quarterback over the NFL hump? "I think he’s got a great shot at being very good,” White said. "I think he’s got a bright future in the NFL.”

  • #2
    Re: Jenni Carlson: NFL or bust for OU quarterbacks

    Yeah Jason...let's go with health and not the spectacular crash and burns your Oklahoma teams had in the 2003 Big XII Championship and the 2004 and 2005 BCS Title Games as the reason why nobody wanted to take a chance on you.

    *eye roll*


    Related Topics


    • BEER
      Blog: Why Sam Bradford will be a bust.
      by BEER
      Wrote by some guy named Chris Cipriano.

      The NFL Draft is the ultimate crap-shoot.
      No matter how much scouting is done, there are bound to be busts.
      From the first pick to the last pick, there is no guarantee that any player will live up to expectations.
      Now earlier, I touched on which players from the 2010 NFL Draft I thought would be busts , but I left one player out.
      I did this because this player is bigger than the rest. He has the most expectations of any other player in the draft. He was the number one overall pick. He is Sam Bradford, and he will be a bust in the NFL.
      Now I’m not saying he will be on the JaMarcus Russell or Tim Couch level, but yet he won’t be on the Payton Manning level either. I see him more alike to David Carr or Alex Smith.
      He simply has too many questions marks and too many things have to go right for him to be an elite NFL quarterback.
      The first and most worrisome concern about Bradford is his durability. He hurt his throwing shoulder twice last season and needed surgery on it after he re-injured it.
      Dr. James Andrews, who operated on Bradford, said his shoulder will be fine, but really what is he supposed to say? If he says he may be more vulnerable to further injury or it may never be as strong he will cost Bradford millions.
      Even if it is fine, I’m sure Bradford will think twice before stepping up in the pocket to deliver that throw knowing his shoulder will be exposed to a possible injury.
      Another concern is how we will transition from the spread offense he ran while at Oklahoma. Bradford rarely had to read defenses and coverage’s and seldom went through more than read on each throw. And when he did go to his secondary reads his primary strength, his accuracy, dipped dramatically.
      We have seen plenty of quarterbacks excel in the spread at Oklahoma and then go on to do nothing in the NFL (Jason White, Josh Huepel). White even won a Heisman like Bradford, and granted Bradford has an edge in psychical tools, but history isn’t on his side.
      I also have worries about the situation he is going into. While at Oklahoma, he was surrounded by NFL talent at all positions. In St. Louis, he is going to a team that has won six games in the past three seasons combined.
      In college his offensive line was tremendous. He rarely faced pressure in face and he could stay back in the pocket and wait for his receivers to get open. He won’t have that luxury in St. Louis.
      The Rams offensive line leaves a lot to be desired. They surrendered 44 sacks last season. Bradford doesn’t have a good feel for pressure and I fear when he faces a NFL pass rush he’ll panic and he never showed much ability to throw on the run and make plays with his feet. I’m afraid this could turn into a David Carr situation, where Bradford gets sacked so much his psyche is messed with.
      Speaking of David...
      -05-27-2010, 03:36 PM
    • JFMose
      Uni Watch interviews Rams longtime equipment manager Todd Hewitt
      by JFMose

      Uni Watch » Uni Watch Profiles: Todd Hewitt

      As many of you know, the Rams fired longtime equipment manager Todd Hewitt back in January. Today we have an extensive interview with him, but it wasn’t conducted by me. It was done by football historian Robert Harvell, whose photo archives have been featured here on the site many times.
      Robert interviewed Todd last month, and the resulting transcript was recently posted over on Helmet Hut. But Robert and Helmet Hut honcho Curtis Worrell both felt that the interview deserved to be published here at Uni Watch as well. After reading it, I wholeheartedly agreed.
      As you’ll see, the interview has nothing to do with Todd’s firing. That’s another topic for another day. This is all about the work he did with the Rams, the team’s uniform history, and so on. It’s really good stuff — enjoy.
      Robert Harvell: Todd, when did you start working for the Rams?
      Todd Hewitt: Well, my dad was hired by the Rams in 1967. I was 11 years old at the time and helped out in the locker room and was a ball boy. In 1978, I was officially hired by the Rams as Assistant Equipment Manager and continued to work with my dad until his retirement in 1984. In 1985, I took over as Rams Equipment Manager, although my dad remained with the team as Equipment Manager Emeritus through 1994, the Rams’ final year in Los Angeles. In 1995, the Rams relocated to St. Louis. My dad joined us there for one final year. So all told, I was with the Rams for 44 years and have worked under 14 different Rams head coaches! Funny, I still remember when the Packers came to town in 1967, my first year with the team. I walked down the Coliseum tunnel flanked by Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr!
      RH: How many hours per week would you put in once camp began?
      TH: Let’s put it this way: Once camp started I definitely spent more time at work than at home. In at 5am, leave at 7pm, seven days a week. The only day I’d take off during the season is the Sunday of the bye week. The players’ day off was a treat, because I’d “only” work from 5am to 4:30pm. But I made up for that on game day, especially when we returned from road games, often working very late. It wasn’t unusual for me to spend the night at work after road games. During the off-season I typically worked five days a week, from 6am to 4:30pm.
      RH: Like most teams, the Rams have changed their uniform color schemes over the years. Do you have a favorite?
      TH: Honestly, I like them all. For sentimental reasons, I really like the blue and white. But I would have to say that my favorite color scheme was what we wore from 1973-1999, the blue and yellow, what we wore when we won the Super Bowl. In fact, when we wore those colors again for a throwback game, I realized just how much I missed them, they were just so vibrant. I really like the current uniforms as well, but they are so much darker than what we wore before....
      -05-18-2011, 04:08 PM
    • MauiRam
      Sam Bradford develops chemistry with coach Dick Curl ..
      by MauiRam
      BY BILL COATS Friday, November 5, 2010 12:20 am

      Dick Curl was 47 and at his ninth coaching stop — offensive coordinator at Rutgers University — when Kent and Martha Bradford welcomed their only child into the world.

      Curl would work for another college, two NFL Europe teams and three NFL clubs before he and Sam Bradford would meet up in St. Louis and their lives would intertwine.

      On the surface, it seems an odd alliance.

      "That's sort of interesting, isn't it? It's the old man and the kid," laughed Curl, who serves as Steve Spagnuolo's assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach.

      Since the Rams selected Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft April 22, Curl, now 70, and Bradford, who will turn 23 on Monday, have been virtually inseparable.

      It's Curl's charge to wring out Bradford's bulging potential and mold him into the best that he can be. It's Bradford's duty to absorb all that he can from the former University of Richmond quarterback and return the Rams' multimillion-dollar investment in him.

      So far, it's been a copacetic union.

      "I have a great relationship with Coach Curl," Bradford said. "He's been extremely helpful just getting me to where I am right now. He's one of the main reasons that I'm as comfortable as I am today."

      As the 4-4 Rams break for their bye week, Bradford can reflect on a half-season in which he completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 1,674 yards and 11 touchdowns, with eight interceptions, and compiled a passer rating of 75.9.

      On Thursday, Bradford was named the NFL's offensive rookie of the month for October. The Rams went 3-2 in October, Bradford throwing for 1,019 yards and seven touchdowns, with three interceptions. His passer rating was 81.1.

      "We've made progress, but we're still in a learning process," Curl said. "This thing isn't over. We've got a long way to go yet. But we're going in the right direction."

      Iintersecting paths

      Curl, who grew up in Chester, Pa., was a high school coach for 11 years before moving to the college ranks. His first NFL job came in 2000, as a pro personnel assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs, a position he held for two years.

      After a three-year stint with the New York Jets, Curl returned to Kansas City in 2006. He was the Chiefs' assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach before Spagnuolo brought him here.

      As Curl worked his way up, Bradford was building an impressive résumé as an athlete in his hometown of Oklahoma City. He played on elite youth squads, later starring in football, basketball and golf at Putnam City North High.

      Although Bradford was ranked only 17th among quarterbacks in the high school class of 2006 by — behind Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow, among others — University...
      -11-05-2010, 01:35 AM
    • DJRamFan
      Rattlers' fate rests in shift of owner
      by DJRamFan
      Richard Obert
      The Arizona Republic
      Jun. 29, 2004 12:00 AM

      After coming up 4 yards short of a championship Sunday, there are four important questions the Rattlers need to address this summer.

      • Will coach Danny White be back?

      • Will somebody be able to buy the Rattlers to partner with new Suns ownership?

      • Will there be a team beyond the 2005 season?

      • Will the team's nucleus return for one more shot at the title?

      First, the Suns ownership transaction between Jerry Colangelo and Robert Sarver needs to be completed Wednesday.

      Then, issues can be evaluated.

      Rattlers President Jim Pitman, who worked closely on the financial transaction in the past three months, said that the Rattlers will be a high priority, along with Suns free agency this summer.

      Pitman gave White credit for one of his best coaching jobs, turning a 3-5 team to 13-5, before losing to San Jose 69-62 in ArenaBowl XVIII.

      "I think our season was very successful," Pitman said. "I think the coaching staff and coach White in particular did a great job."

      Pitman, who has worked under Colangelo's ownership, said he doesn't know what his position with the Rattlers will be next season.

      He said he hopes the team doesn't fold after next season. The team is committed to the league for the 2005 season. Sarver said last week he wasn't thinking beyond 2005 because he was working on closing the ownership deal.

      Sunday's ArenaBowl crowd of 17,391, the largest ever to see a Rattlers game at America West Arena, was proof that the Rattlers have a strong fan base.

      "The city still loves the Rattlers," Pitman said. "We still want to bring them a championship."

      Attorney Kim Coben is trying to buy the team, which is worth about $17 million after Colangelo bought it in 1991 for $250,000. That's not a done deal, though, White said. Pitman said he could not comment on Coben's attempt to purchase the team.

      Most important to White, 52, who has led the Rattlers to five ArenaBowls and 12 consecutive playoff appearances, is being able to get along with the owner.

      "It's more I just need to know who I'm working for before I say, 'Yeah, I'm going to coach the team for five more years,' " said White, whose contract has expired. " . . . It would be hard for me to work for someone I don't respect. Until I know who that person is, it's so important to me. I've always worked for people I've had great respect for."

      With his children all grown, White said he would leave Arizona for an NFL opportunity. Right now, he says he's in a "holding pattern."

      "I'm going to be pursuing other opportunities," he said. "For the...
      -06-30-2004, 10:09 AM
    • MauiRam
      Bradford is ready to jog your memory
      by MauiRam
      By Bryan Burwell
      Jul 31st 2012

      Just in case you haven't been paying attention, the NFL's insatiable publicity whirlwind is up to its old impatient games again.

      In its haste to instantly christen the newest, hottest, youngest, coolest "It Guy," every once in a while the media stampede will blow right over its last sensational young star-in-waiting before he barely has time to clear his throat, much less grow comfortably into his anointed star status.

      So I suspect Rams quarterback Sam Bradford — the NFL's 2010 "It Guy" — must have a mess of footprints on his back after his rocky 2011 season. The publicity machine (and for that matter a significant portion of the sporting public) has practically stampeded over him in its zest to seek out its newest serious infatuations with last season's rookie sensation Cam Newton and this year's new flavors of the week Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck.

      Sam Bradford?

      Heck, he's yesterday's news to the short-attention-span crowd. But to a lot of smart football people such as Jeff Fisher, this is the season that will not only remind everyone why Bradford was the NFL's offensive rookie of the year two seasons ago, but also why the third-year quarterback was one of the main reasons Fisher chose the Rams over the Miami Dolphins last winter when he was deciding which team to coach.

      Everything that Fisher hopes this team can be in his first year — particularly his firm belief that this team can transform from last year's 2-14 disaster into an immediate NFC West contender — hinges on Bradford living up to the potential he displayed as a dazzling rookie quarterback.

      "His potential is extremely, extremely good," Fisher said after Monday's afternoon practice.

      You needed to see the look in the coach's eyes when he said "extremely, extremely good."

      Fisher is not one of those guys who's about hype. He's about real. He's about the unvarnished truth. He doesn't toss around praise lightly, so when you saw that look in his eyes as he said "extremely, extremely good," just imagine a hungry man who had just savored a bite of a superbly grilled sirloin.

      When he was asked what he needed out of Bradford for the Rams to live up to his lofty expectations for 2012, Fisher's answer was simple as can be.

      "The things that we're seeing from him right now," he said. "A really good understanding of the offense, not afraid to practice, not afraid to pull the trigger, (learning) from the mistakes, just taking charge. And that's what he's doing. He's done a great job, he's making some great throws. You're already seeing him develop a relationship with even the young receivers already. You saw today him throwing to (Brian) Quick all day. Those things are important. He's right on track."

      Of all the...
      -07-31-2012, 02:00 AM