The third week of the season provided me a first chance to see top overall draft pick Sam Bradford on the NFL level. I had seen Bradford a number of times while calling games on the collegiate level, and not much has changed.
Bradford carries himself with confidence and is very calm, which masks an incredible internal competitiveness. He needed every bit of it against the Redskins because he lost his top weapon, Steven Jackson, to a groin injury during the first half.
What was most interesting was watching the Rams coaching staff put the whole game on Bradford’s shoulders during the second half.
Most rookie quarterbacks don’t deal with line calls and protections during a game, and Bradford has handled them from day one. The Rams didn’t have much of a running game during the second half without Jackson, so they utilized the short passing game with Bradford instead, running only selectively, but very effectively.
The ball was in Bradford’s hands, he made the big plays, and he did it with an air of confidence. It was fun to watch. I’d love to call it amazing, but we’ve seen him progress so fast and I know he feels he’s ready for it now. He certainly appears to be.
The whole organization has witnessed from the start that Bradford can handle it. One member of the front office told me that by the fourth day pads were put on during training camp, something clicked for Bradford. From that day on, he’s been improving steadily and the team has come along with him. His calmness helps take care of the young guys in the huddle, and it also allows the veterans to buy into the idea he’s their leader.
One of great things about Bradford is that he’s grasped the entire team by just being himself. There’s no question he is the leader of the team, and his demeanor has made it easier for the coaching staff to put it all on his plate.
– Charles Davis
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