St. Louis Rams
Bradford appears so much more comfortable, so much more confident, so much more prepared for what awaits him when the regular season gets going in 26 days.
"This year, I've got a year under my belt, I've seen different defenses, knowing what they can do in those defenses, understanding football," Bradford said Wednesday night. "If I had to learn this system last year, I think it really would have been a struggle because there is so much more put on the quarterback in this system."
I'll be expanding on Bradford's responsibilities, the Rams' new direction on offense, which players stand to benefit, the overall feel of the team and how veteran newcomers have supplemented the defense. I'll be staying in St. Louis through the team's preseason game Saturday night. Our "Camp Confidential" piece on the Rams is scheduled to run Monday.
Rookie receiver Austin Pettis caught my attention during red-zone drills Wednesday. The defense had been giving the No. 1 offense problems, batting away passes and even picking off Bradford on a deflection. But on the final play of the period, Bradford threw what might have been his highest-velocity strike of the day.
Pettis caught it, allowing the offense to finish strong. Earlier, Pettis caught a deep ball from Bradford behind the coverage.
After practice, Steven Jackson held court and offered thoughts on what veteran running backs Cadillac Williams and Jerious Norwood would offer him during games. The focus has been on how Williams and Norwood might give Jackson a few additional plays of rest. Jackson emphasized what they'll offer between possessions.
"I think they bring the ability of fresh young eyes that know and understand the game at the speed that it is right now," Jackson said. "So, years previous, I had younger guys where I had to actually come off the field and maybe mentor, tell them what I saw. Now, I can lean on those guys to be an extra coach on the sideline."
Wednesday was a huge gathering day, with interviews packed between practices. Lots to digest.