St. Louis Rams Head Coach Steve SpagnuoloConference Call With New Orleans MediaWednesday, December 8, 2010 Can you talk about some of the things that Sam Bradford is doing well with and some of the things he's improved with as well?
"He's done a lot of things well. That certainly works to our benefit. He gets better every week. When he quarterbacked the first game it was just kind of evident to us as we looked through the preseason and preseason games that he was the guy that gave us the best chance to win. He just continues to get better and better"
Is there anything you can take away from last year's matchup? You played the Saints pretty close last year?
"Just that they are everything that everybody says about that. That's a good, solid, excellent, elite NFL football team. You can put any adjective on them you want. I have a lot of respect for Sean (Payton), Gregg (Williams) and all the coaches. When you have a quarterback like they do and a defense like they do you have a chance to win every single football game."
Do you guys look at this is a measuring stick for yourselves and your team to come in here and face the Saints in New Orleans?
"I'll be honest with you. We don't get too wrapped up in that. We're excited that we're still quote, unquote in the thick of things in our division. Our mind is really on winning the division. To do that you have to win some games on the road you have to win some games down the stretch, so to be honest. We're just kind of focused on the game itself, not where the other team might be. But we do know this: we're certainly aware of that this is one of the elite teams in the league."
Defensively what is going to be the most important things for you to do since the Saints seem to be starting to click on offense?
"If they make some mistakes that would probably be the best thing we could do. Seriously, they're a team that keeps you off balance. Sean's (Payton) always done that. He throws a lot of things at you. We just can't get overwhelmed by the changes early. We have to settle down. We have to make some plays. That offense doesn't hurt themselves. When they're clicking on all cylinders they're tough to stop. They'll embrace this particular challenge and hopefully we'll find a way to make a few plays."
From watching last year's Saints team on film, what is the difference between this year and last?
"That's a tough one, because I thought they were pretty good last year. After they beat us, I remember saying it to Sean (Payton) or Jeremy Shockey that the way they played last year they were headed to the Super Bowl. They did. They won the whole thing. I'm hoping they're not better than a year ago, because they're pretty good. The weapons are still the same. They have a new running back in there. That's certainly helped things. You can say that along with some other new guys sprinkled in. They're really good on special teams. Reggie (Bush) doesn't return all the time anymore but they have a guy back there who can return it and take it to the house. Again, I don't mean to be redundant, but this is an elite team with a lot of weapons. It's a tremendous challenge for us"
Do you guys have to prepare Sam Bradford for an element like he's going to see the Superdome?
"The one good thing about Sam really for us is that he was on a big stage down there at Oklahoma. He's certainly on a big stage now in the NFL, playing in a dome, away. We use a dome, but it's away. I know it's pretty loud down there. I've been down there before. They have terrific fans. They really support their football team. So, we'll work on the crowd noise, just like everybody else does. Sam will treat it like another game in some ways. In other ways he knows it's very important for us."
The injuries aren't exactly the same even though they were shoulder injuries, but do you think he's ever looked at Drew Brees as a model?
"That's a good question. I'd have to ask Sam that. Sam's aware of all the things that have gone on before him and certainly now. Maybe they've even touched base. I'd have to ask Sam. He's a pretty good guy to follow, Brees is."
Has Bradford's success surprised you or is this what you expected?
"If we hadn't felt real good about him we wouldn't have drafted him where we did. When he got here, his talents were exactly what we thought, the intangibles, the competitiveness, that. He's just been terrific. He is the complete package. He just has to find a way to keep healthy and keep progressing. There's room for growth every year. That's the point we're trying to get him to."
St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford Conference Call With New Orleans MediaDecember 8, 2010 Q: Do you see facing the defending Super Bowl Champions as a chance to see where your team stands in the league?
"I don't know if I would look at it like that. I think we are all excited about the opportunity we have to come down and play, like you mentioned, the defending Super Bowl Champions. You always want to play against the best in the league. To have the opportunity to go down there and play one of the best teams in the league is extremely exciting for us. We are looking forward to it and we know it's going to be a hostile atmosphere."
Q: I know they weren't the same injury but with you and Drew Brees both having serious shoulder injuries, did you ever look at what he has done and applied to your own situation?
"Yeah I did and Dr. (James) Andrews is actually the one that brought it up. I remember one of the first times I went down there and visited with (Dr. ) Andrews, he told me that Drew's injury was 10 times worse than mine. He told me that there were people that were very skeptical that he would be able to come back or even throw a football. Look at what he has done since his injury? I would say he has done alright (laughter). Knowing that Drew has come back from such a severe shoulder injury and knowing that mine wasn't nearly as bad as his, gave me a lot of confidence going into the surgery. It let me know afterwards (afterward) that going through the rehab I would be fine. "
Q: Did you talk to Drew about the rehab process?
"I talked to him a little bit over text messages. I don't remember who put me in touch with him but I just asked him a little bit about it. One of the main things I got from talking to him was the rehab process was extremely important. As soon as I was able to rehab, I knew it was something I needed to give my full attention to. I couldn't take it lightly. I needed to give 100 percent in rehab and that was the key part."
Q: Have they talked to you about what to expect playing in the Superdome?
"Yeah, it's definitely something that we are prepared for. A lot of guys on this team have played in New Orleans and several of our coaches have. They have talked to me. We know its going to be loud and communication is going to be difficult. It is something we are trying to prepare for this week."