DENVER - On the eve of the Rams facing the Broncos in Denver for their third preseason game of the 2013 season, I got a chance to sit down at the team hotel with GM Les Snead. He took over as general manager in the same off-season that owner Stan Kroenke blew up the front office and replaced head coach Steve Spagnuolo with Jeff Fisher.
Snead had the challenge of upgrading a roster that won just 15 games in five years - the worst five year stretch in the history of the NFL - prior to his arrival in St. Louis.
After an initial season that saw the Rams go 7-8-1 and just shy of a playoff berth, expectations are much higher for this team in year number two. But Snead says that’s a good thing.
”Year two you’ve earned higher expectations so that means year one was a success,” Snead said. “Year two I think we’re ahead of schedule from where we started. The five years previous weren’t that good here in St. Louis so here in year two I think we’re ahead of schedule but it’s still year two, we’re still young, we upgraded, and what we have to do now is keep getting on stage and gel and become a team.”
A huge part of the future for this team - arguably the single more important part - is the continued development of quarterback Sam Bradford. The former number one overall pick out of Oklahoma in 2010 is now entering year four and has experienced some major ups and downs thus far.
After completing 60 percent of his passes for more than 3500 yards as a rookie in 2010, Bradford battled injuries in his sophomore campaign. He threw for just 2100 yards and six touchdowns. But Bradford rebounded last year with a season similar to his rookie year, amassing more than 3700 yards with a nearly 60 percent completion rate.
Snead says he believes his franchise quarterback is exactly where he needs to be at this point in his overall development.
“Oh definitely,” Snead said. “I think when you look at what Sam went through here is in his second year he had a new coordinator and it was a lockout year so he didn’t learn his new offense until August. Then (the next year he had) his third offense. This is now his fourth year and he actually is in the same offense.
“I look at it like it’s learning a foreign language and Sundays are going to that country and actually speaking that language and ordering things to eat in that language. Then the more that you’re in that language - the offense - it’s just easier for you to order food,” Snead said.
Bradford and the Rams take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos Saturday night at 7pm St. Louis time on Channel 4. We’ll have a half hour pregame show from 6:30-7:00 which will include my interview with GM Les Snead, plus a chat before the game with Bradford and head coach Jeff Fisher.
There will also be full coverage online at KMOV.com and our FootballSTL app.