Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Attention Suits Bradford; Quarterback Expects Having a Position Coach to Make a Real Difference This Season

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Attention Suits Bradford; Quarterback Expects Having a Position Coach to Make a Real Difference This Season

Article excerpt

NFL

There's an extra set of eyes on Sam Bradford this season at Rams Park. And with the possible exception of Frank Cignetti himself, no one is happier about this than Bradford.

Cignetti was hired by Jeff Fisher to be Rams quarterbacks coach in February. It's a position that basically went unfilled on Steve Spagnuolo's last Rams coaching staff. True, Josh McDaniels tried to both coordinate and coach the quarterbacks - but that didn't work out too well.

"I think it was just a lot for Josh to handle," Bradford said after Cignetti was hired. "Sometimes some of the little things such as drops, footwork, throwing mechanics kind of got put aside."

That won't be the case this year. Cignetti, 46, is watching and evaluating Bradford's every move on the football field, as well as the other QBs in camp.

"A big part of my job is the preparation of the quarterback so he can be successful," Cignetti said. "The fundamentals, the mechanics. Whether it's run-game footwork or pass-game footwork. Whether it's ball-handling, decision-making. It's just constant evaluation of the fundamentals of the position."

It's something Cignetti and Bradford have worked on since practices and minicamps began months ago in the spring.

"Absolutely," Cignetti said. "You never get away from the fundamentals, starting with your stance and building it from there."

With new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer busy installing his scheme, it's impossible for him to give Bradford his undivided attention. That's where Cignetti comes in. Beyond that, the Rams have a ground camera on the quarterbacks at all times, allowing Cignetti to get an up-close view of Bradford's footwork and mechanics in the film room.

"It's been great having Cig around," Bradford said. "Just the little things that he reminds me of, whether it's in the middle of practice, in warm-ups. ... At the beginning of the year you're so conscious of those. But as the season goes along, sometimes you forget about the small things, and just concentrate on the big picture. But I don't think that'll be the case this year at all with Cig."

Cignetti may not be a household name to football fans, but he has extensive experience as a college coordinator and has worked for Kansas City, New Orleans and San Francisco in the NFL. He grew up in a coaching household, too. His father, Frank Cignetti Sr., once was head coach at West Virginia and was a longtime small-college coach at Indiana (Pa.) University. They still talk every day.

At Fresno State, the younger Cignetti coordinated offenses that finished fifth nationally in total offense in 2004 and seventh in 2005. The '04 team became only the sixth team in NCAA history to score 50-plus points in four consecutive games. In '09 at the University of Pittsburgh, the Panthers had one of the most prolific offenses in school history, averaging 32. …

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