ST. LOUIS (AP) — The bye week gave Sam Bradford time to heal from a brutal first four weeks. No telling how long that refreshed feeling will last.
No quarterback has been sacked more than the St. Louis Rams’ second-year man. He has taken a lot of hits after letting go of the ball, too, during an 0-4 start that’s been a collective kick in the teeth for a team that had appeared ready to contend.
The Rams practiced twice last week before getting four days off. That meant time to reflect for Bradford, who said Wednesday that everyone has plenty of room for improvement. The Rams face the undefeated Packers (5-0) on Sunday.
St. Louis is already three games behind surprising San Francisco in the NFL West. Yet, optimism remains.
“The more I thought about things, the more I realized I think we’ve got the right people here, the right players, the right coaches,” Bradford said. “We’ve all just got to continue to work no matter what happens, buy in, and we’ll get this thing figured out.”
He’s ready for this week’s game at unbeaten Green Bay.
“The body feels great,” Bradford said. “I had a great workout, lifted about as heavy as I have since the season started. The body feels about like it did when the season began and that’s one of the big plusses of the bye week.”
A minus for the Rams: Nothing can be done about the first four games.
Offensive tackle Rodger Saffold had probably his worst game in a loss to the Redskins before the bye. The weight room provided a release from the frustration.
“You don’t fully forget about it,” Saffold said. “You’re just on to the next one.”
St. Louis’ offense is next-to-last in the NFL entering Sunday’s game at unbeaten Green Bay, and at or near the bottom in several other statistical categories. Bradford has thrown only one interception but has only three TD passes and has completed only 49.7 percent of his passes.
Pass protection has been spotty at best, including the tight ends and running backs in the blame game, leading to a whopping 19 sacks. There have been far too many dropped passes, many of them right at the numbers.
“You don’t want your linemen blocking for an extra-long time, you don’t want your quarterback sitting in there too long and you want to make sure you get open,” Saffold said. “When everybody does their job effectively, you see the good plays.
“We just need to make more of them.”
A lot of Bradford’s targets are inexperienced, so that should improve. He said rookies Austin Pettis and Greg Salas, who could replace injured Danny Amendola, have made strides.
“I’m just going to keep throwing it to them, and I told them that, too,” Bradford said. “As long as they’re trying hard, I can’t blame them for that.”
Four of the Rams’ five false starts against the Redskins came when their own linemen jumped offside, negating the advantage of Bradford’s hard count.
Bradford can lessen the pain by taking what the defense gives him. He knows he can be more accurate, too, than 49.7 percent.
“Pass protection isn’t just our offensive linemen, it’s me getting the ball out quicker, finding checkdowns, it’s our receivers getting open,” Bradford said. “I think we all understand that. I think everyone did everything they could last week to get better at what they needed to.”
Offensive guard Jacob Bell (hamstring) did not practice, while tight end Mike Hoomanawanui (concussion) was limited. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said defensive end James Hall (back) was limited but Hall was listed as a full participant.
Cornerback Josh Gordy was absent due to a death in the family and long snapper Jake McQuaide was sent home due to illness.
Defensive tackle Darell Scott anticipates playing with a cast on his right hand a week after undergoing surgery for a thumb injury.
Copyright Associated Press