Sam Bradford put on an impressive show during Friday's practice at Rams Park. As expected, the Rams' franchise quarterback is having his share of confused, rookie moments. But his talent is obvious. And it's clear that he learns fast and is making progress.
But this is puzzling: Bradford is taking about the same number of practice snaps as the two other young quarterbacks in camp, Keith Null and Thaddeus Lewis. With all due respect to Null and Lewis, they weren't the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and they weren't given a contract worth a guaranteed $50 million.
Bradford was clearly brought here for a reason. He's the future. I understand that he has to show he's worthy of starting immediately, ahead of A.J. Feeley. Bradford has to earn the No. 1 job. The gig shouldn't be handed to Bradford if he performs poorly. I get it.
But given all that's at stake for coach Steve Spagnuolo and the entire franchise, this is unusual. I'm surprised the coaches aren't doing everything they can to give Bradford as many reps as possible. I don't see the logic of limiting Bradford. He certainly should be getting more reps than Null or Lewis. It make no sense to treat Bradford as if he's just another guy in camp. Because we know that he's much more than that. And every snap that Bradford doesn't take is a snap that could be advancing his development.
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If you believe in prayer, then please keep two of our friends in your heart. Retired St. Louis U. and Missouri State basketball coach Charlie Spoonhour is awaiting a lung transplant at Duke Medical Center and doing his best to keep up with his beloved Cardinals. And Jim Goessling — longtime sales account executive who has worked for KMOX, the Blues and KFNS — has been diagnosed with cancer. Goessling has a tough fight but is in good spirits as he prepares to begin chemotherapy treatments next week.
Devon Alexander is a conditioning machine, so he'll be in maximum shape tonight at Scottrade Center when he puts his WBC and IBF 140-pound championship belts on the line against challenger Andriy Kotelnik. Alexander has much bigger and more lucrative bouts on the horizon, including a likely confrontation with Timothy Bradley. But Alexander can't afford to overlook the experienced Kotelnik, 31. It was Kotelnik who gave the highly regarded Marcos Maidana the first loss of his career. And Kotelnik absorbed Maidana's best shots for 12 rounds in winning a split decision. Kotelnik also demonstrated an ability to keep Maidana on the perimeter, where Maidana was less dangerous.
Alexander will be amped by the big crowd, and he's a naturally aggressive fighter, so we'd be surprised if Devon didn't come out and immediately go on the attack. Kotelnik hasn't faced the combination of speed and power that Alexander brings to this engagement. Amir Khan used his fast hands to pepper Kotelnik repeatedly in a 12-round one-sided victory, and Alexander is just as quick as Khan. And Alexander's lefthanded stance will cause additional problems for the challenger. Kotelnik tends to be cautious, and he'll wait for Alexander to make a reckless mistake. But Kotelnik has moved beyond the peak years of his career and probably lacks the power to make Alexander pay. And here's the thing about Alexander The Great: He's relentless, but he's also smart in the ring. And he's come too far to squander this important evening. Pick: Alexander by a TKO in the 7th.
Congrats to our town's Ajax soccer club's Over 30 team, which won the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) national championship for the fourth consecutive year. Ajax defeated a team from Oregon to win the tournament, which was held near Philadelphia. When you see some of the names on the Ajax roster, you'll know why: Tim Kelly, Brian Hadican, Tim Tedoni, Tim Sartori, Ken Costello, Taib Dedic, John Lee, Matt Callahan, Pat Moriarty, Nick Bokern, Vedad Alagic, Mike Williams, Jeff DiMaria, Craig Scheer, Dr. Kevin Quigley, Johnny Torres, Jason Mims, Scott Harvatin, Todd Hunter and Richie Curran. The coaches are Denny Hadican and Jim Bokern.
There should be some prominent faces in the crowd at Scottrade for tonight's boxing extravaganza. Blues players Erik Johnson, Patrik Berglund, Brad Winchester, Tyson Strachan and Ben Bishop have ringside tickets. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo is bringing a delegation of Rams players after the team's scrimmage at Lindenwood U. And promoter Don King is hoping to have have Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield in the house. Cedric the Entertainer may be on hand, too.
The Cardinals will face Reds starters Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo in Cincinnati next week. ... Former Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver was recently inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. ... This note from our friend Howard Balzer of Sirius NFL radio: Bob Saunders, son of former Rams assistant Al Saunders, was a Rams assistant in 2008. But after taking a year off from football, Bob will be coaching quarterbacks this season at Washington University.
It's been nice to see so many Oklahoma fans showing up at Rams Park, wearing their OU garb, to watch Bradford. The Sooner contingent is so strong, the Rams will be showing their preseason games in Oklahoma. And Rams executive VP Kevin Demoff tells us that that OU fans are buying tickets to regular-season Rams home games. ... According to Demoff, the total attendance at the Rams' open practice sessions is up 300 percent so far from last summer. ... And Demoff says season-ticket renewals are up by at least 2,000 from last year.
We're hoping that Cory Spinks is in good form tonight when he defends his WBA junior-middleweight title against Cornelius Bundrage. But you just never know if Spinks will enter the ring in top shape. ... If you're going to the fights at Scottrade, try to get there early enough to see Ryan Coyne (14-0) take on Warren Browing. Coyne, the cruiserweight from St. Charles, definitely has a crowd-pleasing style. To borrow a baseball term, Coyne has a high slugging percentage. Coyne was a hard-hitting linebacker for Gary Pinkel at Mizzou for two seasons.
From Bits contributor Andy Strickland: Our town's Dan Dierdorf , the proud Michigan alum, will be hosting a series of shows on the Big Ten Network this season. The shows will examine the league's great teams and players and will include rarely seen footage ranging from the 1940s through the 1970s. ... We're looking forward to watching the newly retired Kurt Warner on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" next season. Kurt was never quick on his feet, but there's no pass rush on the show.
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The Caddyshack Heart Gallery Classic is set for Sept. 21 at Whitmoor CC and benefits The Adoption Exchange. For information call Cindi at 314-291-3313.