Sam Bradford: Cardinals’ roster was a motivator to come to Arizona
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford didn’t have to come to the desert. He had opportunities to go elsewhere, confirming as much in his introductory press conference on Friday.
On Tuesday, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro reported two other teams made offers to Bradford, but he took less money to sign with the Cardinals. On Friday, the world found out why he made that decision.
“Obviously the biggest thing for me was coming to a place where I felt like I had the opportunity to win,” he told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta after the press conference. “At this stage in my career, I think that’s what it’s all about. That’s why we all do this. There’s one goal in mind, and that’s why I’m here.”
“It’s one of those things I noticed yesterday when I got here, in the locker room,” he said in his press conference. “You look around and you see the names on the lockers and you kind of start going through it in your head, and you’re like, ‘Man, he’s a really good player. He’s a really good player. They’ve got a good player there.’ And next thing you know, you’re like, ‘Wow, this roster is really good.'”
For Bradford’s sake, it helps that the Cardinals’ offense features a future Hall of Fame wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald.
“He’s one of the best to ever do it,” he said. “Obviously when I was in St. Louis and we played him twice a year, you heard it in every team meeting, every week: ‘We’ve got to try to stop him. They’re going to try to get the ball to him.’ And it’s like no matter what you do, he’s still going to get his catches and he’s still going to get his numbers. As a quarterback, to play with a guy like that — I’ve never played with a guy like that before.”
It also doesn’t hurt that Bradford will have another new weapon in elite running back David Johnson. Johnson, 26, led the NFL with 2,118 yards from scrimmage in 2016 before injuries kept him out for most of last year. This looks to be a year for Johnson in which the former third-round pick continues the gaudy production he once displayed.
“Being able to keep him on the field, first-through-third down too, it just allows us a variety of options and a way to attack the defense and create explosive plays both in the run and in the pass, and obviously they’ve got to respect him in the play-action, as well,” Bradford said.
Bradford comes to the Cardinals after two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, a season with the Philadelphia Eagles and five seasons with the St. Louis Rams. Before that, he was an Oklahoma Sooner, playing alongside now-Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham.
“We text a little bit when I was going through this earlier in the week,” Bradford said of Gresham. “Yeah, obviously we still talk but it’s going to be fun being with him. He was one of my best friends at Oklahoma, we spent a lot of time together. He’s a great guy, he’s a character obviously and it’s going to be fun on the field with him again.”
Arizona has also had success on the other side of the ball, finishing sixth in the NFL in fewest yards allowed last year. That defensive corps is headlined by three-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson and 2017 NFL sacks leader Chandler Jones.
It’s all part of what led Sam Bradford back to the NFC West for the second time in his career.
“I think you look at Fitz and you look at David, obviously I played with Jermaine,” he said. “I think there’s some pieces on the offense, some play-makers. You look at those three guys right there, it’s easy to see as a quarterback who you can get the ball to who can make plays. Obviously the defense has been really good for quite a while here. Any time you can play behind a defense like that where you’re not going to have to score 50 points a game to win, I think that’s obviously a big positive.”