Judging by the amount of questions and chatter surrounding his formerly sprained left ankle, one would assume Rams quarterback
But the reality is that Bradford has been present at every practice and taken every repetition with the first team offense that’s been asked of him. In fact, he hasn’t even been limited in any of those workouts, regularly rolling out and even participating in wind sprints at the end of those practices.
Still, the questions have persisted as Bradford has gone about his business like any healthy player would. By the time he was asked yet again about the ankle following Thursday’s practice, it was clear that Bradford was fed up, especially when the prospect of postseason ankle surgery was mentioned.
“That would be news to me,” Bradford said. “To be honest, I’m tired of talking about the ankle. Until it causes me to miss reps or miss time, it’s a non-issue.”
That was all Bradford had to say on the topic on Thursday and he hopes the last time he’ll have to address the issue this season.
Bradford first suffered the high ankle sprain in an Oct. 16 clash with Green Bay last season. Coincidentally, that was perhaps his best performance of the season but he suffered the injury late in that contest.
The injury caused Bradford to miss six games and he was limited in the other five games in which he tried to play through the pain.
Bradford was on again/off again as the season continued before finally sitting out the final three games of the season. Instead of surgery, Bradford was prescribed a healthy dose of rest and rehab for the ankle to heal up in time for the team’s return to Organized Team Activities in May.
“Well, you have options,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “You can go in and fix it and you’re talking about four-to-six months, or you can just rehab it, which he did. Sometimes, it takes a little bit longer, but he’s really not having any issues.”
During the offseason program, Bradford mentioned the ankle was still a bit sore, particularly after practices which is fairly common in the healing process of an injury such as his.
Upon returning to St. Louis for training camp, Bradford said the ankle was still a bit sore after some early camp practices, including the team’s scrimmage at the Fan Fest on Aug. 4.
At the time, Bradford said the ankle would need to be managed which included continued rehab and treatment.
But Bradford has yet to have any issues with the ankle that have kept him out of practice or games. He started and played a little more than a quarter against Indianapolis last week, going seven-for-nine for 57 yards on his pass attempts.
Fisher said he is not concerned with the ankle and doesn’t expect that surgery will be required, either.
“He’s doing fine,” Fisher said. “You can see he’s out there doing fine. I think it won’t go away because everybody keeps asking him. Quit asking him and it’ll heal up.”
SYNTHETIC LACES?: The NFL announced this week that the competition committee has approved a test run for some slightly different footballs this week, ones that use synthetic laces in lieu of the traditional leather laces.
The balls are the same in every other way except the laces and the league sent some “test” footballs to every team this week in anticipation of using them some in this week’s slate of preseason games.
Fisher said theses balls are similar to ones used at the college level.
“All of the Wilson balls in college have the synthetic lace on it, so those quarterbacks in college that are using the Wilson balls are used to this ball,” Fisher said. “It’s not much difference. It’s a very minimum noticeable difference in the lace. I don’t know what the Nike ball is, but Wilson has been manufacturing these balls forever. There’s been some resistance on behalf of some of the older, more veteran quarterbacks when we introduced them three of four years ago. It’s just an experimental thing that the league’s doing in the preseason and we’ll see where it goes. They do a lot of experiments in the preseason at the league office.”
Bradford, apparently, wasn’t one of the quarterbacks who used the Wilson balls in college – Oklahoma is a Nike school, after all – and is decidedly not fond of the synthetic laces.
According to Bradford, the synthetic laces are a little bigger and sit higher off the ball than the normal leather laces.
“They’ve been at practice,” Bradford said. “I’m not sure if they are going to be used in the game or not. I really hope we don’t. I have (used them). I do not like them.”
The synthetic laced balls and the leather laced balls will both be in use this week and the offensive team has the option on which ball to use.
WHAT’S MY LINE?: Rams running back
Against Kansas City, it’s expected they’ll start with
Don’t be surprised, though, if the Rams rest Saffold some early as he continues to work through some soft tissue injury issues. In that case, Ojinnaka could get a look at left tackle with rookie
Regardless, Jackson said he can’t allow himself to worry about what’s in front of him as he works to mentor the young stable of backs behind him and learn a new offense.
“I haven’t had the luxury of having the same offensive line so work as usual,” Jackson said. “We would like to have the starters start meshing in the preseason so they can get some game footage and some game time underneath themselves but we do have to take it one game at a time.”
SPEED TIMING: Rookie wideouts
Bradford noted last week that timing has been a work in progress with many of the new additions at receiver but said he’s really got to work on it with Givens because of his explosive speed.
“We are trying to,” Bradford said. “There’s no doubt that he can fly. I think that’s what he brings to this offense.”