With St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford making his first (albeit preseason) start Thursday night, this seems like a good time to pass along notes from a conversation we had at training camp last week.
Mike Sando: How does this camp compare with camps at Oklahoma?
Sam Bradford: Um, that's tough. I think it's pretty similar just as far as the schedule compared to what we did at Oklahoma as far as going 2-1-2-1 [two practices one day, one the next]. I think we've had a couple more two-a-days. In college, our camp was only two, two-and-a-half weeks. Here it just seems like mentally we do a lot more. That might have just been because I was used to everything and had gotten to be very comfortable with our offense at Oklahoma. Here, there are always meetings, we are installing stuff. It seems like we are on the practice field a very short time compared to the rest of the time that we spend in here in the meeting rooms.
Mike Sando: How well do you have to need to know an offensive system before you play freely?
Sam Bradford: If coach calls a play, I feel very comfortable I can execute it the way they want it executed. The more snaps you get at something, the more comfortable you become and really, the more attention to detail you can put into an offense. I think that is one of the things. At Oklahoma, my second year I was able to get back to a checkdown that my first year I would have looked at our first two receivers and if they weren't there, I would have thrown it away.
The more I got comfortable with it, the more I was able to say, 'OK, those weren't there, maybe if I can buy a little time with my feet, I can find No. 3 or No. 4 on this side of the progression,' and I think it's the same thing out here. I noticed I have been able to do that a little more. During the OTAs and during the rookie minicamp, we put in a play and I was pretty much going to my first two, and if those weren't there, I didn't know where three and four were.
It's getting to the point now where I feel comfortable getting back to three and four. I'm still not at that point where it is second nature and I do it like that. The more I'm out there, the more it will happen. I think once that happens, that is when you are really comfortable with an offense and can go with it.
Mike Sando: What signs have you received that you're earning veterans' respect?
Sam Bradford: I think just the way they have acted toward me. Some of the vets coming over and talking to me, just trying to help me out. Even some of the defensive guys have come over and said, 'Hey, when you are going against us or this defense, just telling you from a defensive perspective, I would look at this. This will tell you a lot more than looking here.' When vets come up to you and they go out of their way to take time and come over and share things like that, I think that is a real positive sign.
Mike Sando: How nervous were you on the first day of camp?
Sam Bradford: I was nervous, just for the fact that it was my first training camp. I really didn't know what to expect. Probably the fact that the other quarterbacks had been here a couple days and had time to go through some of the basic stuff, and I was getting thrown in. My first day was like the first time everyone was here. I knew everyone was watching. We had a crowd out there. I had been anxious for the week leading up to it because I didn't know when I was going to get here. I was definitely pretty nervous for that first practice.
Mike Sando: What about now?
Sam Bradford: It's night and day. But I think that is another reason, when you start the first day, I had gone over most of the stuff through OTAs and the minicamp we had in June, but now I have done everything and I feel comfortable with it. The more comfortable you get, the easier it is because you are not stressed out going to practice every day.
Mike Sando: You've never played against an NFL team during the regular season, when it counts. Do you have any idea what you are in for?
Sam Bradford: No. I don't know. It's different. Just for the fact that my first year here, my first year being part of this team, really not sure how this year is going to play out, if I'm going to start, when I'm going to start. If I get better every week, things are going to be just fine.