Bradford Will Get First Start Thursday

Sam Bradford (AP/Jeff Roberson)

EARTH CITY, Mo. — The St. Louis Rams have tried their best to bring No. 1 overall draft pick Sam Bradford along slowly during the rookie quarterback's first training camp. But after first-string quarterback A.J. Feeley was injured during Saturday's preseason game, Bradford is now the team's No. 1 QB.

Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said following Monday's practice that Feeley, the team's first-string quarterback, will miss this week's game with a thumb injury he suffered on the first series against the Browns on Saturday night.

That means Bradford's first start for the St. Louis Rams, after relieving Feeley in the past two games, will come Thursday night on the road against the New England Patriots.

"It's a mindset now," Spagnuolo said. "Certainly Dick (Curl) and Pat (Shurmur) will work with him. It's the first 15 of the game. You label that out and lay it out. He's got to know those plays. There's a little bit of an adjustment when you're coming in as a starter or when you're coming in second or third series, but I don't think Sam will see it any differently. He'll be in there, it will be a little different. Hopefully Steve (Jackson) will get some reps so he'll be in there with Steven."

Bradford, who was not made available to talk to reporters after Monday's practice, completed 12 of 27 passes for 81 yards and had a QB rating of 51.6 after his first two preseason games.

"He's coming along," Feeley said. "Some things didn't go the way in the game and certain things he can control and certain things he can't. He'll be fine. He just needs to relax and play his game. He's got enough talent, he can do it."

Bradford will be helped on Thursday by having standout running back Steven Jackson lined up in the backfield with him, though it is still unknown how much the All-Pro tailback will play against the Patriots.

The Rams' lack of a productive running game behind Bradford during the first two preseason games has made things harder on the rookie quarterback, who dealt with extra pressure from the Vikings and the Browns.

Feeley benefited from having Jackson in the game for the first series against the Browns, when Jackson rushed four times for 20 yards as Feeley drove the Rams down the field for an early touchdown.

"Definitely, it made a big difference," Feeley said. "It's nice having a big back, back there. You can definitely tell those linebackers, they have to honor him on all the play fakes. Guys are definitely keying on him, so as a quarterback it makes your job much easier."

Bradford is scheduled to talk to reporters following Tuesday's practice.

Feeley, the veteran free agent the Rams signed in the offseason, said he will take this week off and then see how he feels next week.

"It depends on how well he responds to grabbing a ball and throwing," Spagnuolo said. "If it was another position you might be able to get away with wrapping it and playing, but throwing a football is a little bit different. It will be a comfort thing for him."



Nate Latsch is the publisher of GridIronGateway.com. For subscription information visit GridIronGateway.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/natelatsch

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