February 23, 2013

Bradford building on 2012,but he could use some help

For the first time as a pro, Sam Bradford isn’t learning a new system.

Sam Bradford is hoping that the more things stay the same, the more they change. For the first time in his NFL career, the St. Louis Rams quarterback goes into an off-season with the same offensive coordinator and the same system.

“I’m excited for this off-season and this next year because it’ll be the first time that I’ve had the same system in my entire career,” Bradford said while in Fort Worth promoting AdvoCare. “I’m excited to have some stability in the organization, and not just for me but for everyone else. The fact that we’re going to be able to walk into OTAs and know what we’re talking about and not have to learn everything from square one, I think that’ll really allow us to make much bigger strides this year.”

Bradford has had Pat Shurmur, Josh McDaniels and now Brian Schottenheimer as his offensive coordinators.

The former Oklahoma star is coming off his best season of his three seasons since being the No. 1 overall pick. He had 3,702 passing yards with 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and an 82.6 passer rating in his first season with coach Jeff Fisher and Schottenheimer.

The Rams, though, still have work to do. They were 23rd in total offense and 28th in points.

“Obviously we’re not where we want to be. Going 7-8-1 and not making the playoffs is never where a team wants to finish the year,” Bradford said. “But I think there were definitely lots of areas that we improved in, and I think it’s going to be big for us to carry that into next year and build on what we were able to accomplish this year. We beat San Francisco, we beat Seattle, we beat Washington. We beat three of the NFC teams that were in the playoffs. So it shows what we’re capable of and what we can do. It’s just a matter of being more consistent and playing at that level each week.”

Bradford needs weapons to accomplish what he wants to accomplish. The Rams kept Titus Young only nine days after claiming him off waivers from the Detroit Lions. Receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson are unrestricted free agents, and running back Steven Jackson likely will be, as he is expected to void the final year of his deal.

Bradford is campaigning to get Jackson back in town, but he still needs more help.

Allen credits father

Dennis Allen couldn’t have done it without his father.

Allen, the former Hurst L.D. Bell and Texas A&M star, has made it on his own in the NFL. But it was his father, Grady, who led him on his journey.

Grady played for the Aggies before spending five seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. Though Dennis never played a down in the league, he is heading into his second season as the Oakland Raiders’ head coach.

Grady Allen died Dec. 3. He was 66.

“He was a huge influence on my life,” Dennis Allen said Friday. “Growing up, playing sports, being able to lean on him on a lot of his experiences in the fact that he played at Texas A&M. He played professional football. He didn’t raise me to be a coach, but his influence and his love of sports really kind of led me that way. So he was a huge influence in my life, and he is sorely missed.”

Uncertain future

San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke recently had dinner with Alex Smith to discuss the backup quarterback’s future. The 49ers will try to trade Smith, who lost his starting job when he suffered a concussion against St. Louis despite going 6-2-1 with a 104.1 rating.

“We’re going to look at all options available,” Baalke said. “Are we going to trade him for sure? That hasn’t been decided.”

In a weak quarterback draft, the 49ers are expected to find plenty of interested parties.

Smith, who has played eight seasons, is scheduled to make $8.5 million in 2013, including $6.5 million guaranteed if he is on the 49ers’ roster after April 1.

Information from The Sports Xchange was used in this report.

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