Sam Bradford as quality control coach

May, 23, 2011
5/23/11
7:28
PM ET
Sam Bradford has generally kept a low profile during the NFL lockout, except when collecting awards and statues in his honor.

The St. Louis Rams' quarterback has also been busy working on his second career as an NFL quality-control coach.

[+] EnlargeSam Bradford
Jeff Curry/US PresswireRams quarterback Sam Bradford has taken on some coaching duties during the lockout.
Bradford, a $50 million man as the NFL's No. 1 overall draft choice last year, has assumed unconventional duties during player-organized practices that began in the St. Louis area Monday.

Those duties included drawing up plays on cards, the same work an entry-level assistant would undertake for the scout team in a regular practices. Because quarterbacks' playbooks are the most complex of all, Bradford was in better position to serve in a coaching capacity.

"He would call out a play and he would also break it down and explain it to all the other guys and the young guys who were there for the first time," guard Jacob Bell said by phone following the first session Monday.

Removing coaches from the practice-field equation makes it tougher for players to know for sure whether they're executing techniques correctly. That is particularly true for the Rams' offensive players as they adjust to a new coordinator, Josh McDaniels.

Players do have playbooks in their possession, however, and the books designed for quarterbacks contain much of the information needed for teaching. Two former Rams players, Torry Holt and Corey Chavous, are serving as coaches during daily sessions scheduled to run through Thursday.

"It's really cool to have them," Bell said. "They are coaching figures out there. Everybody is really working together."

Players have hired personal trainers to help with agility and conditioning drills.

Each day begins with weight-lifting sessions, followed by 45 minutes of agility work and about 80 minutes of practice. Players do not wear helmets or much padding. The non-contact sessions include seven-on-seven work. Players also practice breaking the huddle and calling plays at the line of scrimmage.

A few other notes related to these practices:

  • Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lists 23 of an estimated 30 players attending the workouts. The breakdown included all three quarterbacks, five offensive linemen, four receivers, four tight ends, five linebackers and two defensive backs. Coats listed no running backs or defensive linemen, but noted that additional players were expected to attend over the next few days.
  • Two of the team's eight draft choices -- tight end Lance Kendricks and receiver Greg Salas -- were listed among those attending. I wondered whether some agents were advising their clients to exercise caution, but Carl Carey, who represents Rams first-round pick Robert Quinn, said he had not tried to steer Quinn either way. Carey also said he wasn't aware of these specific workouts.
  • While having more players attend speaks well for team chemistry, whether or not a specific player was there for a specific day reveals little. Quinn said during the draft that Bradford, James Laurinaitis and Chris Long were already making him feel welcome.
  • Bradford's participation is obviously more significant. Bell: "He's really doing it big. They are really breaking down and dissecting the plays, going over them, had the cards drawn up, looked pretty good out there."
  • Receiver Donnie Avery is looking "really good out there" after missing last season with a knee injury, Bell said.

It's tough to say whether these workout sessions will make a significant difference on the field once the season finally does begin. Strong attendance can only be a good thing, however.

"It says we're committed to winning and having a good season," Bell said. "On the other hand, it shows we're sick of sitting around and waiting for this thing to end."

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