Originally written on Rams Herd  |  Last updated 11/19/14

At Rams Camp on a sweltering friday afternoon, I paid close attention to Sam Bradford - his timing and his targets in his passing drills. I wanted to pay particular attention to how quickly he was able to deliver the ball after the snap, and whether he could avoid "sacks" behind his offensive line.

The good news is that Bradford was every bit as sharp as recent camp reports have made him out to be, peppering short and intermediate routes with accuracy and aplomb, and getting rid of the ball on average between two and three seconds after the snap. I missed a few passes after the first gatorade break, but on the throws I saw he completed 11 of 15 passes for what would have been maybe 120 yards or so.

Bradford seems eminently comfortable with the mechanics of Schottenheimer's offense, which has a lot of similar looks and concepts to Pat Shurmur's west coast scheme. But instead of checking down as he did in his rookie season, Bradford did a good job of looking toward the next level on the route tree. Still, though, he mixed in more than a fair number of targets to tight ends and running backs flooding the interior zones emptied out by the outside receivers.  

(One highlight - Isaiah Pead took a pass on a wheel route and motored up the left sideline, into the area patroled by fellow rookie Janoris Jenkins. As Jenkins prepared to make a camp-tackle, Pead made a statement -- and an audible crack -- by lowering his padded shoulder into Jenkins' chest and driving through him for additional yardage.) 

This is the rookie-year Bradford, calm and efficient and largely mistake-free. And perhaps most importantly, healthy. However, I wouldn't say he's quite all the way back yet. Sam's deep ball still appears to have a good bit of rust on it. 

Bradford only tried two deep balls that I saw, both to Chris Givens. The first was overthrown and intercepted by Cortland Finnegan, though perhaps we need to give Finnegan credit for thoroughly boxing out the young receiver and preventing him from getting up to full speed on the route. The second was a duck that Givens had to come back for, giving Craig Dahl enough time to recover and break up the pass.

We're only in the first week of camp, and we've seen a lot of positive signs in the return of Bradford's game. But the mechanics of his deep ball -- his confidence in the receiver, his confidence in the blocking to wait, plant and throw, and his touch on the ball -- these will bear watching as the preseason progresses.

We can't help but make comparisons between Bradford and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, and point out all the things that Bradford does well that Sanchez doesn't. Like reading playbooks, taking command of a huddle, staying out of the spotlight, and (oh yeah) throwing a nice accurate ball. But regardless of how bad he plays, Sanchez has the fearlessness to say "f*ck it & chuck it" and let the ball hang up for one of his talented receivers to go get. And regardless of his many faults, Sanchez does throw an awful pretty deep ball.

In three seasons, Sanchez has amassed 17 touchdown passes of 20 yards or more. In two seasons, Bradford has 8, but only two came last year. Sanchez also has eleven game-winning drives under his belt; Bradford has one. 

What would have happened if Bradford had been wearing Jets green, standing behind one of the game's best offensive lines and throwing to the likes of Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller and Plaxico Burress? Who knows. All I can say is that I want to see number 8 recapture that deep ball accuracy and confidence in Rams blue.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bears to bench Jay Cutler, start Jimmy Clausen

Wes Welker once pulled funny UGG prank on Tom Brady

Wil Myers heads to Padres in 11-player, 3-team trade

Bo Pelini calls Nebraska AD a ‘c–t’ and ‘p-ssy’

49ers release Ray McDonald

Take your pick: Colin Kaepernick or Derek Carr

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Reports: Michigan makes huge offer to Harbaugh

Heat lose a key player with McRoberts out for rest of season

Belichick: Ryan is 'buttering me up' with Hall of Fame praise

Marshall: Bears need to gel and do some kumbaya

Red Sox appear content with rotation despite lack of true ace

Iguodala gets technical for mocking Conley travel

Report: Celtics in serious trade talks involving Rondo

WATCH: Brandon Jennings makes mind-boggling play

WATCH: Drake intros Raptors on 'Drake Night'

Brian Billick owns Browns fan over Johnny Manziel criticism

WATCH: Did Flyers' Giroux wipe boogers on linesman’s back?

Royals sign Edinson Volquez to 2-year deal

12 candidates to replace Paul Chryst at Pitt

Brad Halsey claimed he was on cocaine for Bonds record HR

Wade Miley confident in health, diet after trade from D-Backs

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson lead in 2014 athlete Google searches

Max Scherzer next domino to fall in free agent market

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

C's in serious trade talks about Rondo

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Four can't-miss match-ups in NFL's Week 16

RG3 quits social media for season

Each NFL division’s MVP

Five NFLers who must step up in Week 16

Most impressive college hoops teams

Five reasons why FSU is going to win the CFB Playoff

Boxer admits to dive in Rourke bout

FCC heard about Brady's swearing?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.