The Norman Transcript

National Sports

July 27, 2013

Upgrades to Rams’ offense boost Sam’s expectations

ST. LOUIS — Conditions appear favorable for St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford to have a breakout season.

The Rams upgraded protection with free agent left tackle Jake Long, picked up a premier tight end in Jared Cook and addressed a long-standing deficiency at wide receiver by drafting Tavon Austin with the eighth overall pick.

Plus, there’s no learning curve in the second season with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. That’s what has Bradford excited the most about his role in leading a team that’s gone a decade without a winning season into playoff contention.

The first day of training camp, they were deep into the playbook working on blitz pickups and other “exotic” wrinkles.

“I could be here for days talking about that,” Bradford said. “We have an opportunity to build on what we were able to do last year and not start from scratch.

“I think that’s our biggest challenge as a group, to not come out and be complacent, and do the same things, but to grow, and become better.”

Rams coach Jeff Fisher refuses to put too much on the shoulders of the first overall pick of the 2010 draft.

“I’ve said this all the time: The better the people that are surrounding him are, the better chance he has of taking another step,” Fisher said. “I think we’ve done everything we can to this point.”

Bradford is a former NFL offensive rookie of the year and is coming off his best season with a career-high 21 touchdown passes. He has yet to join the upper echelon at his position, and the two quarterbacks taken first overall the last two years have made a much bigger splash.

Cam Newton set a rookie record for yards passing in 2011 with the Panthers and Andrew Luck broke that mark while leading the Colts to the playoffs last year. Colt threw 10 fewer interceptions than Peyton Manning did as a rookie in 1998.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Wie finally wins an LPGA event at home

    KAPOLEI, Hawaii — Michelle Wie began the week reminiscing about the first time she played on the LPGA Tour....

    April 21, 2014

  • Prizefighter Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies

    Rubin “Hurricane” Carter never surrendered hope of regaining his freedom, not even after he was convicted of a triple murder, then convicted again and abandoned by many prominent supporters....

    April 21, 2014

  • Young Clippers trying to mature against Warriors

    LOS ANGELES — The Clippers insist they just weren’t themselves in losing their series opener. They chalk it up to being too amped, which led to mistakes on both ends....

    April 21, 2014

  • Taylor Spears makes most of her first and final shot with balance beam national title

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Competing in her first and final NCAA championships, Taylor Spears left nothing on the table. After helping the Sooners to a team title Saturday night, the senior took home the individual title for balance beam Sunday ...

    April 21, 2014

  • Rangers happy with 7-3 homestand despite blowout loss

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Robbie Ross hadn’t allowed an earned run in his previous two starts, and the Texas Rangers had won five games in a row....

    April 21, 2014

  • ‘Cats can’t handle Heat

    MIAMI — Each of the last two Miami championship runs has been highlighted by moments where a sharpshooter enters a game and immediately provides a surprise spark. James Jones got his turn Sunday....

    April 21, 2014

  • St. Louis splits with Washington

    WASHINGTON — The Cardinals managed to score twice against Stephen Strasburg while starter Shelby Miller kept the Nationals offense quiet. Nine outs away from taking yet another series from Washington, St. Louis’ defense and bullpen ...

    April 21, 2014

  • Spurs rally to top Mavs, take 1-0 series lead

    SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs rode the wide shoulders of Tim Duncan to victory....

    April 21, 2014

  • Nene leads Wizards past Bulls

    CHICAGO — Nene dominated with 24 points, Trevor Ariza scored 18, and the Washington Wizards rallied from 13 down to beat the Chicago Bulls 102-93 in their playoff opener on Sunday night....

    April 21, 2014

  • Luke Donald shoots 66, takes lead at RBC Heritage

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Luke Donald believes he’s got the right game on the right course — and is ready to make up for so many near-misses at the RBC Heritage. Donald had an eagle and six birdies to shoot 66 on Saturday and take a ...

    April 20, 2014