OTA roundup: Rams ease QB Bradford back into action
The fifth-year quarterback is coming off ACL surgery, but is participating in the Rams' voluntary camp.
Sam Bradford led the Rams to a 3-4 record before tearing his ACL in 2013.
Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America
By Ross Jones
Seven months removed from undergoing major ACL surgery, quarterback Sam Bradford is taking part in OTAs.
Eager to get back on the field, Bradford understands the importance of pacing himself back into action.
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, with the advice of the training staff, plans to limit the franchise quarterback’s participation as he strengthens the ligament in his left knee. Bradford, who will participate in half of the workouts, and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer thought it out and decided which practices would be the most beneficial for the fifth-year quarterback.
Assuming there will be no setbacks, Fisher has said there is “no doubt whatsoever” that Bradford will be ready for Week 1 action.
“He looked great,” Fisher said, via the team’s transcript. “He looked really good. He’s throwing the ball well and looked really good. We think it’s smart to keep him out of the traffic right now, the team stuff.”
Graced with more than enough time to stay off his feet as he rehabs, Bradford has been bulking up above the waist. What the added size means for a quarterback is unknown, but he feels it has added a little more octane on his fastball.
“I’m quite a bit stronger up top and I think it’s really carried over to the field,” Bradford said. “I just feel like there’s a little more pop on my ball now. I feel fresher. I just feel really good physically right now, especially upper body wise.”
The Rams doubled down on Bradford this offseason by re-signing offensive lineman Rodger Saffold and adding tackle Greg Robinson via the draft. As rumors began to swirl the team was interested in snatching one of this year’s prized rookie quarterbacks, Bradford was at ease because of conversations with Fisher and general manager Les Snead.
The addition of wide receiver Kenny Britt, a big, explosive target, along with 2013 draftees Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey offers Bradford some targets with plenty of upside. Chemistry with his receivers and knowledge in the offense shouldn’t be a problem as the regular season grows closer.
“I feel extremely comfortable in this offense,” Bradford said. “Obviously, you’re constantly tweaking things and changing things. Whether it be how we read certain plays, new concepts, new protections. I’m still learning in that sense, but as far as our base offense goes, I feel really good with everything.”
Quarterbacks Robert Griffin III, Tom Brady and Carson Palmer all had their own challenges in their first season following ACL surgery, but Bradford is determined to not let his focus fray.
“I don’t think the injuries really change anything,” Bradford said. “My goal is to come out here, get better every day and help this team win.”
Fitzpatrick gaining ground in Texans QB battle?
While Texans coach Bill O’Brien says that all of the team’s quarterbacks are “progressing at the same rate,” Ryan Fitzpatrick’s experience in a similar offense has eased the transition for the veteran.
“You could tell right away with Ryan," O’Brien said, via the team’s transcript. “When he came in, when he started signing he would say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing here in this protection,’ for instance, ‘Oh yeah, we did that in Buffalo and I can relate it.’
“There were a lot of things that he could relate to what he had done in the past. He was able to pick up some of the things that somebody else calls apples and we call oranges. He was able to pick that up.”
Fitzpatrick, who signed a two-year deal with Houston in March, clearly has the most experience among the team’s quarterback crop, which includes second-year man Case Keenum, fourth-year T.J. Yates and rookie Tom Savage.
Fitzpatrick’s days in Buffalo were beneficial as former head coach Chan Gailey ran a similar system to O’Brien’s. Unfortunately for the 31-year-old quarterback, he was unceremoniously released when the new regime arrived in Buffalo. After starting 55 games in Buffalo, Fitzpatrick was known for turning the ball over, which he did an eye-popping 80 times (64 interceptions and 16 fumbles). While he cut down on the egregious errors last season in Tennessee, it has been a point of emphasis for the new coaching staff.
“Ryan and I have talked about that,” O’Brien said about Fitzpatrick’s past turnover rates. “I know (quarterbacks coach) George (Godsey) has talked about it a lot with him. You know, it’s about decision making, not forcing the ball and understanding that you have a really good back out of the backfield in (Arian) Foster that you can always check it down to or maybe a tight end underneath or a slot receiver.
Dwayne Bowe in ‘phenomenal shape’
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid couldn’t stop from gushing when he was asked about the wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.
“I think Dwayne came back in phenomenal shape, that’s one thing,” Reid said, via the team’s transcript. “It looks like it out here. He’s really moving around well. Look forward to getting to camp where it actually counts, but he’s in the right frame of mind.”
Bowe, who signed a five-year deal with Kansas City last March, has taken a new approach to the offseason by hiring a staff to make sure he’s peaking at the right time.
"I have a personal trainer that travels with me and a nutritionist,” Bowe said, via KCChiefs.com. “The older you get, your numbers decline and you're not as fast, so I took it upon myself to hire people to help me."