Bradford, Rams hit the ground running
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Steve Spagnuolo said hello to Sam Bradford, then let the quarterback get to work.
The St. Louis Rams’ coach noted Tuesday that soon enough he’d be spending a lot of time with last year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and he didn’t want to “bog down” Bradford.
New offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had other ideas for Bradford, with a five-hour film session that stretched over the lunch hour.
“I pretty much got straight to business,” Bradford said. “He handed me my (play) book and said ‘Let’s go.’ It was a good first day, it was good to get back in it.
“This break has made me realize how much I love this game, how much I missed it.”
Even the media?
“I’ve missed everyone dearly,” Bradford joked to a roomful of reporters.
Spagnuolo and Bradford expect a smooth transition under McDaniels, who was fired by Denver last December. Bradford passed for 3,512 yards last year, second-most by a rookie in NFL history, and took a leadership role in informal player workouts during the lockout.
“Hopefully it won’t be completely new,” Spagnuolo said. “I know it won’t be completely new.”
The Rams are coming off a 7-9 season that was six wins better than a year earlier. They just missed a playoff berth in the weak NFC West and Spagnuolo said players left for the offseason with a “hunger.”
Spagnuolo said visiting with players Tuesday made it seem like a normal day after a lockout that started way back in March.
“I’ve missed everything about what normally goes on,” Spagnuolo said. “We’re almost back completely and rolling. Things are fast and furious right now, as you can imagine, but that’s the exciting part.”
Defensive end James Hall was the first player in the building Tuesday, showing up at 6 a.m. — three hours before the scheduled opening time. Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis reported at 7 a.m. for a workout with most of the linebackers and joked, “I enjoy running sprints in this unbelievable heat.”
Laurinaitis quickly sensed camaraderie.
“It’s fun being around a team,” Laurinaitis said. “The locker room atmosphere picked up like that.”
Linebacker Larry Grant, who started eight games last season, was among the initial casualties as the 32 teams began the frenzied work to finalize their rosters. Spagnuolo said the team was rescinding a contract offer.
The Rams were still setting a practice schedule compatible with restrictions in the new agreement. Training camp opens Friday with physicals and the first workout will be Saturday.
One new wrinkle: the Rams will videotape all position meetings to help incoming players get up to speed faster. The team routinely has videotaped Spagnuolo’s meetings.
General manager Billy Devaney said 24 undrafted college free agents have agreed to terms, but had nothing finalized.
Devaney said the Rams were not concerned about reports first-round pick Robert Quinn, a defensive end from North Carolina, had cut ties with his agent.
“We’re not freaking out about it,” Devaney said. “Right now, until we’re told otherwise we have a guy to deal with.”