Notes: Bradford Growing Into Leadership Role
Sam Bradford‘s pregame shower speech has gotten a good deal of attention this week — in large part because of the chosen location, but also because it was the first real piece of evidence made public suggesting that the quarterback is starting to find his footing as a leader on this team.
Speaking to the media for the first time since Sunday, Bradford was asked about the significance of that moment prior to the Saints game.
“It really wasn’t that big of a deal,” Bradford said after practice Thursday. “And to be honest, that was just kind of between us. I don’t need to put that out there. If you weren’t in that locker room or in that shower, you’re probably not going to know what was said in there. But it was just something I felt like kind of the time was right, something needed to be said. Hopefully it got the guys fired up.”
Chip Kelly said that Bradford’s emergence has been a gradual process. The QB was more reserved in April and May as he worked limited reps and eased his way into his new surroundings, but increasingly took more command starting in training camp.
“I think for anybody coming in new to an organization or a team, there’s got to be — you’ve got to establish yourself a little bit before you can start to say, hey — because I mean, anybody would be like, ‘Why is this guy telling me something to do? He just got here.’ And I think Sam handled it really well,” said Kelly.
Bradford said he is now “very comfortable” speaking up.
“Obviously I’ve been around here now going into the sixth week of the season and I don’t know how many months it’s been,” he said. “But I feel like a lot of times, sometimes people question my leadership just because I am quiet but they don’t see what I do behind the scenes or the relationships I’ve built with those guys. But I’m very comfortable stepping up and saying something when I feel like it needs to be said.”
His teammates contend that Sunday’s talk wasn’t out of character. He was one of the players that was vocal during halftime in Atlanta prior to a rally that fell short, and delivers messages in-game as well.
“Sam’s been a leader from the moment he got here,” said Jordan Matthews. “So it wasn’t like some huge shock to us. When he told us to come in, we were like ‘Ok, let’s do it. Let’s get it going.’ And he told us what we needed to do coming out. But…he’s always been that way. It’s not like some just crazy thing that he decided to do one day that got us all riled up. He’s been a consistent leader the entire time. Everybody knows that he’s the guy who is steering the ship so we’re going to follow him, and I feel like he is the perfect guy for the job.”
Mychal Kendricks was able to do some running on the side Thursday, he said, and felt good enough to where he thought he might be able to practice tomorrow.
Is a Monday return realistic, then?
“Going off today? No,” he said. “But I am making huge leaps in my ability to run.”
Kendricks first injured the hamstring against the Cowboys and re-aggravated it against Washington two weeks later, forcing him to sit out the Saints game. He knows he could face a similar fate if he tries to come back too soon this time around.
“The Washington game, I felt fine. But once you’re out there and moving full speed, it went again. So you’ve gotta be really careful because you can feel like you’re ready and you’re really not,” he said.
“That’s the thing, you only know [whether you’re truly ready] after the fact. You know based off of whether it held up or not. It’s the unfortunate thing about hamstrings. That’s why sometimes you have guys sitting out a little longer probably than they should or could just for that insurance factor.”
Nelson Agholor (ankle), Kiko Alonso (knee) and Brandon Bair (groin) also missed practice Thursday.
As for the Giants:
According to Jordan Raanan,WR Odell Beckham, CB Prince Amukamara, LB Jon Beason, LB Jonathan Casillas, WR Victor Cruz and LB Devon Kennard did not practice Thursday. DE Robert Ayers, CB Trumaine McBride, WR Rueben Randle and DE George Selvie were limited.
Amukumara (pec) is expected to be sidelined 2-4 weeks. Beckham reportedly did some running on the side.