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Bradford acclimates to NFL offense ..

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  • Bradford acclimates to NFL offense ..

    By Bill Coats

    Spread out on the right side, wide receiver Brooks Foster sprinted upfield, then cut sharply inside, splitting two defenders. When Foster turned back, the ball was nearly on top of him.

    The grooming of the No. 1 overall pick in April's NFL draft is proceeding slowly but surely during organized team activities. After three weeks of work with the veterans as well as his fellow rookies, Bradford recognizes substantial gains.

    "It's been great. I've learned a lot, come a long way since Day One," Bradford said. "I feel a lot more comfortable in the huddle, on the field. I've put a lot of time in, and I think I've been able to grasp more, I've been able to work more than I would in a spring session back at Oklahoma.

    "It's definitely better."

    Better, but not good enough to earn him much time with the first team yet. Bradford is working almost exclusively with the second and third units as coach Steve Spagnuolo and his staff take a step-by-step approach with their prize recruit.

    "He's putting the ball in the right places and seems to be catching on with the offense," Spagnuolo observed. "So, the progress is good."

    Ultimately, Bradford will be the Rams' starting quarterback. But if Spagnuolo follows form, that promotion won't come until deep into the preseason. At the earliest.

    And that's OK with Bradford. He's more concerned with nailing down the offensive intricacies and sharpening his timing with the receivers. "There are some balls that have sailed," Spagnuolo said. "It's different now. The game's a little bit faster, and it's going to get faster."

    Veteran A.J. Feeley, the No. 1 quarterback for now, and Keith Null, heading into his second season with the Rams, are lending a hand.

    "I still have a long way to go; I know that," Bradford said. "But I think being around the vets, especially A.J. and Keith, guys who have been in this offense, (helps). I see a play out here that I might think looked fine, the way it needs to be run. And then we get in the film room and they have some input: 'No, this needs to be quicker, this guy's route should be deeper.'

    "It's really helpful to see and hear those types of things."

    It also helps, Bradford pointed out, that he's able to devote all his time and effort to the cause.

    "This is our job now; we're up here all day," he said. "In college, you have to go to class, and there are only a certain amount of hours (the coaches) can work with you in a week."

    All the better to soak up offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur's West Coast-style scheme, which, Bradford noted, is similar to what he ran at OU.

    "Obviously, we were in the shotgun a little bit more than they are here, but the concepts are still the same," he said. "The only difference is some of the terminology and the way they read the concepts might be a little different."

    That presents a dicey mental challenge, Bradford acknowledged.

    "After you've done something for four years and then you come in here for three weeks and you have to do it different, it's like your brain already has registered what you're supposed to do and you have to change it; you have to change the way your brain thinks," Bradford said. "That's definitely been something that's been a little bit tough."

    Still, if Bradford is struggling, Foster hasn't seen it.

    "He puts the ball on the money, his play-calling is really good, and he carries himself like he's been there before," Foster said. "I feel like I'm going to have a good time playing with him."


    Add second-round draft pick Rodger Saffold to the injury list. Saffold, a tackle from Indiana, suffered what Spagnuolo described as a strain of his right knee in practice Thursday. Saffold could be sidelined up to three weeks. ... The Rams signed tackle Joe Gibbs, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound undrafted rookie from Tennessee-Martin. He practiced Friday.

  • #2
    Re: Bradford acclimates to NFL offense ..

    Ahhh. So Foster has already predicted he is going to make the final roster! Interesting.


    • #3
      Re: Bradford acclimates to NFL offense ..

      Originally posted by RockinRam View Post
      Ahhh. So Foster has already predicted he is going to make the final roster! Interesting.
      At least he has confidence! Hopefully his little dropped hint there (intentional or no) means that he is going to step up.

      Is it August yet?


      • #4
        Re: Bradford acclimates to NFL offense ..

        1st team, 2nd team, get Bradford out ther as much as possible. "Practice" we're talking about "practice" man!
        sigpic :ram::helmet:


        Related Topics


        • RockinRam
          Rams’ Bradford prepares for first big test
          by RockinRam
          Posted Aug. 13, 2010 @ 10:14 a.m. ET
          By Eric Edholm

          ST. LOUIS — The rookie quarterback who has enough money to buy a chunk of his new team isn’t above running a lap when the offense makes a mistake.

          Meet Sam Bradford — $50 million man and football junkie.

          The top pick in April’s draft has been charged with turning around the state of a 1-15 Rams franchise that last season bottomed out after setting the league on fire at times during the glory days of 1999 to the middle of the next decade. Playing at a first-rate program like Oklahoma prepared him for a lot, but the biggest hurdle of his football life lies ahead of him.

          Right now, Bradford knows his place. He’s the second-string quarterback behind A.J. Feeley, just trying his best to find a place on this team in transition without attracting too much extra attention to himself. If you ask Bradford, he’d try to tell you he’s just one of 80 players in camp trying to carve out a role.

          “We ask everyone on the team that,” Bradford said of his penalty lap. “If you mess up, to take a lap. I messed up, took a lap, and that’s part of it.

          “It keeps everyone accountable for their actions. It makes sure everyone is on the same page.”

          Everyone watching Bradford thus far is on this page: He really can throw the football.

          After his breakout performance of camp, a scrimmage at nearby Lindenwood University last week in which Bradford barely let a ball hit the ground, the stakes have risen even more. There hasn’t been this much anticipation for a preseason opening game in St. Louis in a long time. Bradford will make his debut Saturday against the Vikings. Although Feeley will start, head coach Steve Spagnuolo said Bradford would get time with the first team.

          “Everybody should have an opinion (on when Bradford should start),” Spagnuolo said. “We’ll do what we think is right and we’ll do it based on what’s (happening) on the field.”

          It’s only a matter of time before Bradford takes over the starting role for good. Usually the concern with a rookie quarterback is that coaches don’t want to crush a kid’s confidence by throwing him to the wolves before he’s ready. But with Bradford, he looks mature beyond his years and in control of the action, even when things don’t go perfectly.

          “He’s definitely more than capable, mentally and physically, of handling it,” C Jason Brown said. “The work ethic, discipline, toughness, responsibility, ability … the kid has it all.”

          Spagnuolo said that Bradford has more than met his expectations in most areas of his game, and in some cases exceeded them.

          “He sees the field really well,” Spagnuolo said. Things are starting to … the game is slowing down. (But) this is practice now. I should say, the practice is slowing down for him. We’ve...
          -08-13-2010, 10:28 AM
        • Azul e Oro
          Bradford Focused on Preparation
          by Azul e Oro

          By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer

          Tuesday in the NFL is the player’s respite, his opportunity to step away from the game for 24 hours before the week really gets going on Wednesday.

          Unless, of course, you’re the quarterback in which case the chances for down time are few and far between. And if you’re a rookie quarterback, Tuesday might as well be Groundhog’s Day because it’s probably going to be pretty similar to every other day of the week.

          Such is life for Sam Bradford as the Rams’ starting quarterback as he found himself spending plenty of his Tuesday at the Russell Training Center. Of course, there wasn’t much leisurely about the visit.

          “He’s into backgammon, so we played a little backgammon,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said, laughing. “No, we sat and watched some tape. I tried to give him a little bit of the defensive side of it, what I think they might be doing or thinking, what I thought he could expect from…being a rookie quarterback in the first game, from a defensive standpoint.”

          If ever there was a coach to give a rookie advice about what to look for and expect from an opposing defense, it’s Spagnuolo.

          While it’s in the job description of defensive coordinators to make life difficult for all quarterbacks, it’s particularly fun when the quarterback on the other side is a rookie who has yet to see the speed and diversity of NFL defenses in a regular season game.

          One reporter even asked Spagnuolo how “diabolical” he likes to get when he sees a young signal caller on the other side.

          “I didn’t use that word,” Spagnuolo said. “I would have if I had thought of it, but that’s exactly what I was trying to convey to Sam, that I think the mindset of any defensive coordinator that’s going to face a rookie quarterback is going to make it as tough and confusing as he can. Usually that means not doing things that they’ve already seen on film and make the quarterback make adjustments on the sideline during the game. So we’ve certainly anticipated that.”

          Indeed, there will be no bigger challenge for Bradford in his first career NFL start Sunday against Arizona than the exotic and multiple defensive looks and blitz packages that the Cardinals are sure to throw at him.
          Arizona works out of a base 3-4 defense but will regularly move around, switch fronts and disguise blitzes so as to create confusion for opposing offenses.
          Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett is known for his ability to push the pocket and safety Adrian Wilson has long been a thorn in the side of the Rams.

          These are just a couple of examples of what Bradford will be dealing with when he steps on the field on Sunday.
          “We’re taking a look at that right now,” Bradford...
          -09-08-2010, 04:21 PM
        • r8rh8rmike
          Bradford Confident Heading Into Second Start
          by r8rh8rmike
          Bradford confident heading into second start

          By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
          1 hour, 29 minutes ago

          ST. LOUIS (AP)—What impressed St. Louis Rams players most about Sam Bradford’s NFL debut was how totally in charge the No. 1 overall pick looked.

          “You want your quarterback to have command of the game and he has that,” wide receiver Mark Clayton said Wednesday. “Very even keel, you can’t get to him.

          “As soon as he gets hit in the face he’ll get right back up and that’s what you want.”

          Not too banged up, either. Monday for Bradford felt much like a Sunday at Oklahoma.

          “Besides a couple of bruises here and there, I felt really great,” Bradford said. “Today I came out and felt really good. I really wasn’t any more sore than I would have been after a college game.”

          After the first week, the first rookie quarterback to start for the Rams since Bill Munson in 1964 is living up to the billing. Fellow rookie Rodger Saffold, a second-round pick and the starter at left tackle, said Bradford has always projected control.

          “He always seems calm, that’s just the type of guy he is,” Saffold said. “‘Are you an actor? No. Would you tell me if you were an actor? No.’ It makes things easier knowing he’s not flustered.”

          All Bradford lacks is a victory for a franchise hungry for success.

          “When we get down to the red zone or the fringe area, we’ve got to find a way to get touchdowns and not field goals,” Bradford said. “But I thought we moved the ball fairly well and I think we feel fairly confident going into this Sunday.”

          Bradford appears to have lost no confidence from the opening 17-13 loss to Arizona in which the Rams largely relied on his arm. He was 32 for 55—tied for third in attempts in franchise history—for 253 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.

          Coach Steve Spagnuolo is hopeful Bradford, set for his first NFL road start, won’t have to throw quite so many passes Sunday at Oakland.

          “From Game 1 to Game 2, I’m talking about the whole team, you’re looking to see where the jump’s going to be. I hope the jump is not 75 passes instead of 55, but just in the quality of play.

          “We’re looking for the whole team to do that.”

          Spagnuolo said players had done a good job of moving on from the opener, along with the multitude of setbacks from the past. The Rams recovered four fumbles against the Cardinals and didn’t score a single point, falling to 1-16 the last two seasons and 6-43 the last three years.

          “Nobody’s discouraged. We’re all disappointed and I hope still upset,” Spagnuolo said. “There has to be a little bit of anger there, but there’s anger in me. This league is all about the reward and the reward is winning.”

          Bradford knows he made some bad throws, in particular Adrian Wilson’s interception...
          -09-15-2010, 04:34 PM
        • Nick
          Now Bradford needs to do it again
          by Nick
          Now Bradford needs to do it again
          BY BILL COATS • Posted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 12:20 am

          Sam Bradford has cleared several hurdles since the Rams made him the No. 1 overall draft pick back in April.

          "It seems like just yesterday we were out here for rookie minicamp," said the quarterback from Oklahoma. "Now we're through that, we're through (organized team activities), we're through preseason practice, have one more preseason game, and then the regular season's here.

          "It's really blown by."

          Bradford toppled another barrier last week at New England. After two so-so preseason outings, Bradford erupted vs. the Patriots, connecting on 15 of 22 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns in the first half of the Rams' 36-35 victory.

          "The first two games ... I felt like I was in the right place with the ball, (but) struggled to get completions at times," Bradford said. "To have a game like I did last week definitely helped. It seemed like things finally started to slow down a little bit, and I felt really good out there. ...

          "I had a couple of guys come up to me and say just a couple of things about how I handled this situation, the way I acted in the huddle, the way I carried myself on the field. And they were all positive. ... Any time I hear things like that from vets, it's really encouraging."

          The next challenge comes Thursday night, when the Baltimore Ravens come to town. Bradford's task? Do it all over again.

          "Put back-to-back good games together," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "I think we all agree he had a pretty good game last week, but in the NFL you've got to do it week in, week out. So we'll be looking for him to pick right up where he left off last Thursday."

          Bradford stressed that he expects nothing less in his first start in front of a home crowd.

          "The first start in St. Louis, obviously it's exciting," he said. "But going into this game, it's no different. I want to do the same thing. When I'm out there with this offense, I want to do everything I can to get the ball in the end zone and help this team win."

          Spagnuolo has brought Bradford along slowly and still hasn't committed to him as his starting quarterback. But since A.J. Feeley suffered thumb and elbow injuries Aug. 21 at Cleveland, Bradford has taken nearly every snap in practice with the first-team offense, a move that Bradford said has accelerated his development.

          "Being in there with those guys, just being in the huddle with them more, being on the field, getting reps with the same guys, the receivers, it just helps," Bradford said. "I'm really kind of starting to jell a little bit with those guys. Any time I can get more reps, it just makes me feel more comfortable with those guys."...
          -08-31-2010, 11:19 PM
        • r8rh8rmike
          Bradford Holding Up Well
          by r8rh8rmike
          Bradford Holding Up Well
          By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer

          Posted 2 hours ago

          Considering the nature of his position and all that it entails, it would be perfectly normal for Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford to be a little weary at this point in the season, both physically and especially mentally.

          As an NFL quarterback, much is expected, nay demanded of Bradford on the field and in the classroom.

          As a rookie NFL quarterback, the workload that encompasses can be a lot to take on for someone who is accustomed to his season being over by the time this many games have been played in a season.

          But Bradford says he is not bothered by the grind of the long NFL season.

          “No, not really,” Bradford said. “I think the fact that we are still playing meaningful football and the fact that we have a shot to get in the playoffs, we don’t really have time to think about the grind. We’ve just got to come in, try to get better each week and focus on that week’s opponent.”

          Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo echoed those sentiments, saying Bradford never changes his relentless approach from week to week.

          “I can honestly tell you I have not seen that,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s a very focused individual. He takes care of his body and he realizes the length of this whole thing. You’re talking about the rookie walls, but he played at Oklahoma where they’re still practicing now. They’ll play another game here. I know he did that a lot in his career, so I think he’s kind of used to it.”

          Of course, Bradford himself helped raise questions about the so-called rookie wall with less than stellar performances in each of the past two games. After last week’s game against Kansas City, Bradford said he simply did not play well and that he must be better to help his team win games.

          In those two games, Bradford is 39-of-75 for 412 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions, a far cry from the mistake-free signal caller that played the first dozen games.

          “Obviously, the past couple weeks I haven’t played as well as I would like to,” Bradford said. “It’s frustrating at times but you can’t get caught up in the past. Those games are over. You come in on Monday, learn from those mistakes and move on to the next game. That’s what I did this week. I wouldn’t say defenses have done anything different. It’s me not being as clean in my reads as I need to be.”

          Even in those performances, Spagnuolo said there was plenty to like about some of the things Bradford did.

          “No different than any other player,” Spagnuolo said. “I mean, you just go back to work on Wednesday and get to where you were. He’d be the first to admit he’d like to play better, but yet I do think there are a lot of things that he did pretty good.”

          Nobody could blame Bradford is fatigue began to catch up with him considering...
          -12-22-2010, 03:22 PM