In a slight surprise, Spagnuolo also revealed that undrafted free-agent rookie Thaddeus Lewis had earned the job as the third quarterback with Keith Null being released.
Spagnuolo spoke to the quarterbacks and the team Saturday morning to inform them of the decision.
Asked about Bradford’s reaction, Spagnuolo said, “Obviously, very positive, but very professional and businesslike, which is Sam, and that’s a really good quality.”
As for A.J. Feeley, who will be Bradford’s backup, Spagnuolo said of the way he responded, “He was great, professional. I’d probably say the same thing (as I did about Bradford). Very businesslike. A.J. gets it, he’s behind Sam. You could see that.”
Bradford has been effusive all summer in his praise for Feeley, and reiterated that Saturday.
“A.J.’s been awesome,” Bradford said. “He’s definitely one of the reasons I’ve been able to make progress. He’s been so helpful from Day 1. I’ve said it all camp: he sees things out there that only a guy who has the experience of A.J. can see. When you get pointers from a guy like that, it’s really beneficial, especially for me. I might think a play is run the right way, but really A.J. knows that it needs to be run a different way and he’ll come up and tell me, ‘Hey, you might want to get that changed. I would go talk to him. Tell him you want the route run like this.’ Really when you get information like that, it’s invaluable.”
Spagnuolo acknowledged Feeley’s influence on Bradford.
Said Spagnuolo, “It’s not only coaching … and certainly Sam’s work himself. But it’s always nice to have a player, a guy that’s been through the same things, who goes out there, takes a snap just like he does, sees it through the helmet just like he does. That, I think is very beneficial.”
Asked what proved that Bradford was deserving, Spagnuolo said, “Well, it was evident in these last three games. He had pretty good control of what we were doing. The team kind of rallies around him. And again, I think we’re very, very fortunate to have a guy like A.J. Feeley in this particular role as a backup quarterback who is what he is, which is a seasoned vet that knows the ins and outs and can kind of feed that to Sam as he goes along.”
Now, Bradford and the team will be preparing for the season opener Sept. 12 against Arizona. He is confident he’s totally capable of handling the job he’s been awarded.
“Definitely,” he said. “I’m a competitor. I sat the bench last year with an injury and it’s something that I did not enjoy at all. Just to have the opportunity to play football again, it’s really something that I look forward to. I understand that I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me and there are still a lot of things that I can improve on, but I feel very confident that I have the ability to help this team win football games.”
Howard Balzer is the Editor/writer for GridIronGateway Magazine. For subscription information visit GridIronGateway.com (reduced online rate of $39.95) or call 888-501-5752. You can also follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/HBalzer721