Sam Bradford's struggles last season, his second in the NFL, were well documented and frequently discussed. Among the many reasons cited for his struggles last season, the lack of an offseason to prepare and a dedicated quarterbacks coach is a familiar refrain. This year, however, the St. Louis Rams have given their franchise quarterback both of those things as they lean on him to evolve into the cornerstone head coach Jeff Fisher envisioned him being when he decided in January to take the job.
Bradford talked about both his prep and his coaches at Wednesday's minicamp.
"Yeah, it is nice," Bradford said of having an offseason to get ready. "It's nice to be able to come out here and make mistakes. And then go in the film room and talk to (Offensive coordinator Brian) ‘Schotty' (Schottenheimer) and talk to (Quarterbacks coach Frank) ‘Cig' (Cignetti) and talk about those mistakes and learn from them. Then come out the next day or the following day and correct them and get everyone on the same page."
It represents a big change from last year, when the Rams' signal caller had a month and some change to learn a complex new playbook, while the offensive coordinator worked with him and the rest of the offense.
"Last year, I'm not really sure we had that opportunity," Bradford said. "There was an install on one day and then the next day we couldn't really spend that much time going back. We had to keep pushing and keep putting stuff in. Whereas this year, I feel like the process has been able to slow down a little bit and we've really been able to get into detail with what we're doing."
The benefits of having a quarterbacks coach, former Rutgers assistant Frank Cignetti, also appears to be paying dividends, if only for the simple opportunity to work on the most basic aspects of being an NFL quarterback.
"I've said all along, I think Cig's great, especially for the fundamentals of playing the position," Bradford confirmed. "Every day he comes to me with an emphasis of the day, whether it's pass game-footwork, run game-footwork, play action fakes, boots, off the run game. And just to have someone who's constantly reminding to do the little things is very helpful as a quarterback."
After this week, Bradford and the other veterans are off until training camp starts at the end of July. Nevertheless, the Rams quarterback has a plan for how to spend those weeks away from the team facility.
"I actually sat down with Schotty the other day and we put together a schedule which I think is five or six weeks," he said.
That time will include plenty of film review along with some throwing session to keep himself sharp, but it won't be all work.
Obviously, I'm going to take about a week off, probably go play some golf," he said. "Just get my mind off it."