Sam Bradford hardly could have asked for a better rookie season to open his NFL career. The St. Louis Rams quarterback earned the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award after setting the rookie record for completions and nearly leading the Rams to the playoffs. He also joined Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning — pretty great company — in terms of the only rookie quarterbacks to start all 16 games and throw for more than 3,000 yards.
But now Bradford has just a few weeks to get acclimated with new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and his system. McDaniels joins the Rams after his run as the Denver Broncos’ coach ended. The two have to acquaint themselves quickly, as the lockout prevented them from working together throughout the offseason.
Sam Bradford joined ESPN 101 in St. Louis with The Fast Lane to discuss how far he is along with McDaniels’ offense, what his goals are going into this season, the work he and his teammates did to stay in shape this offseason despite not being able to work out at team facilities, what he has to work on to be ready for the new offense, what it means for the Rams to go out and pick up some key players in free agency, and his relationship with McDaniels so far.
How far along are you in the Josh McDaniels offense?:
“Yeah, I think everything we did this summer, getting together as a team, throwing routes, talking about some of the plays … I think it was all great. It gave me a little bit of a head start, but by no means does it mean that I have a full grasp of this offense going into practice number four. But I think everything we did this summer was a good way to form the base.”
Do you have any specific goals for your second season?:
“Yeah, I do. I usually sit down and write out some goals. I’m not sure if I’ve really specifically sat down and written them down yet, but I know going into the season that I want to be a better player. I want to be looked at by my teammates as a better leader. As far as specific goals, I’m sure, once Week One comes around, before that game I’ll sit down and write out some specific goals for the year.”
Are you and the team heading into the preseason in shape?:
“Yeah, I felt like this is the best shape I’ve been in in a while. I feel great, I feel lean. My body feels 100 percent right now. … For the most part, from everything I’ve seen, the heat’s been pretty brutal the first couple days, but besides some minor cramps from some guys, I feel like everyone’s been able to handle the heat great. … I think, for the most part, everyone came back to camp in shape.”
Is there anything in this offense that you need to work on or that you didn’t have last season?:
“I really don’t think so, other than obviously some minor footwork things that are different in our run game or our pass game. But, for the most part, we did everything last year that I would be doing athletically this year as far as throwing on the run, moving up in the pocket, things like that. By no means are they asking me to run the option this year.”
When you see the Rams going out and picking up players, what does that mean to you and the locker room?:
“It makes everyone excited. And another thing that it does is it creates competition. I think anytime you have competition at a certain position, across the board, it pushes everybody to be better. Now that we have started to go out and bring some guys in, I think everyone who is here understands if they want a spot on this team they’re going to have to work that much harder.”
How’s your relationship with McDaniels?:
“It’s been great so far. Josh has been awesome, he’s been very positive. I’m sure it’s not easy for him coming in and having to install the offense again. He’s done a great job with everyone. I felt like he’s a very good teacher. When we have meetings together, I feel like everyone in the room really learns a lot. … I look forward to seeing how this offense progresses and where we go from here.”