Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford is making a fine first impression with the St. Louis Rams.
In a controlled scrimmage Saturday night at Lindenwood University, before approximately 8,000 fans, the No. 1 overall pick directed the second team offense and unofficially went 7-for-9 for 94 yards and a touchdown in the live portion of the scrimmage. His two incompletions were drops.
Bradford and the other quarterbacks all wore red jerseys and were not allowed to be hit. The defensive schemes also appeared to be vanilla, and the Rams were missing several defensive backs due to injury.
Bradford still managed to impress.
”His command in the huddle was really good,” Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. ”He’s got a strong voice, which I know sounds like a little thing, but out there in the midst of all this he’s got control.
”He was zipping the ball around pretty good. He was hitting second receivers. There were one or two in there that I thought he might not have gotten away, which I don’t know were whistled as sacks. That’s something he’ll have to learn.”
As for Bradford, he was a little more subdued.
”It’s kind of hard to tell right after the scrimmage,” Bradford said. ”I’ll be able to tell better after we get in and see the tape. There were some good things and some bad things.”
The Rams signaled that they haven’t turned over the offense to Bradford yet, as veteran A.J. Feeley started the live portion of the scrimmage with the No. 1 offense. Taking over on his 30-yard line, Feeley looked like a No. 1. He went 4-for-4 for 66 yards in that first drive, capping it with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola.
Bradford then came on for a new set of downs and completed his first pass to tight end Daniel Fells, who fumbled the ball away after a 7-yard gain. Starting anew at his 35-yard-line, Bradford hit on four straight passes in directing a 65-yard scoring drive, which included an 11-yard strike for a touchdown to Keenan Burton on a designed rollout.
”I feel very comfortable doing that,” Bradford said. ”We did do a lot of that at Oklahoma and I feel I throw very good on the run.”
Bradford also had some quality throws in the situational portions of the scrimmage, including a couple of touchdown throws in red zone drills and a 45-yard pass that hit Amendola in stride in a situational 2-minute drill.
The Rams and Bradford will take part in a traditional game when the Minnesota Vikings visit St. Louis next Saturday in the preseason opener for both teams. Bradford enjoyed his first taste of action on Saturday.
”I’m glad we did this tonight,” Bradford said. ”To have all these fans out here and go through a game situation definitely gave us a little preparation for next week. I’m sure those four preseason games will get us ready for the regular season.”
The Rams got through the scrimmage relatively unscathed, but Spagnuolo said third-round pick Mardy Gilyard, who was nursing a sore right wrist, took a hit on that wrist and might have injured it further. Spagnuolo added that the team will know more about the extent of the injury on Sunday.