Q&A: Bradford getting up to speed after move inside
Things were not going well for Carl Bradford through the first few weeks of training camp. The Green Bay Packers rookie couldn't separate himself from the pack of players trying to make the team's 53-man roster.
But the linebacker from Arizona State was a fourth-round draft pick in May. The Packers invested too much in Bradford to afford impatience. So they moved the rookie from outside linebacker — the position at which he was drafted — to inside linebacker at the end of August.
It's been almost a month since Bradford made that move. How's he adjusting to the new position? That's where we start this week's question-and-answer session.
You moved from outside linebacker to inside linebacker during training camp. How's that position change going?
Bradford: Pretty good. Pretty good. I'm getting more used to it, once I get more reps in practice and whatnot. I'm just trying to get a feel for it and understanding defense from that position.
What's the biggest adjustment you have to make when you switch from outside to inside?
Bradford: I would say it's definitely more reading the offense more, and more learning your jobs and the routes concepts of the receivers, and whatnot. Just a little bit more thinking, I would say, goes into it.
More responsibilities at inside linebacker?
Bradford: Right, right. I mean, it's equal around, but it's more having to make certain calls and whatnot. It's kind of the quarterback of the defense. So, yeah.
There was talk from the outside about you potentially making that move to inside linebacker before it happened. Were you aware of that, and was the move something you wanted to do?
Bradford: Honestly, it really didn't matter. I'd been hearing the buzzspeak before it happened, and I've kind of gotten excited now. It's a different chapter, new position, and I'm willing to learn it.
You played defensive end and outside linebacker predominantly in college. How much did you play inside linebacker at Arizona State?
Bradford: In college? None. I mean, I played probably a couple snaps in goal line, but that's about it.
So your first day as an inside linebacker came during an NFL practice. What was that introduction like?
Bradford: It's kind of like when I got here playing outside. It was all still new, just because it's a different surrounding, different setting and whatnot. There's more talent around. So I felt the same when I lined up on the outside as when I lined up on the inside. It's the same, mutual feeling.
Going back a couple weeks to cuts weekend, how good of a feeling was it when you made the 53-man roster?
Bradford: Um, I went in approaching it just like any day. It was out of my control, so there's no need to worry over it. Of course you think about it, but you try not to stress over it too much. It was a little nervous there for a second. Then, once I found out, it was a big relief. Big, big relief. I don't have to focus on that now. I'm just focusing on trying to get wins.
How did you pass the time that weekend?
Bradford: I just did normal stuff. Just hung out, watched TV, played games, talked to friends and whatnot. Just the normal. Tried to keep it off my mind, stay busy.
How did you find out you made it?
Bradford: I just showed up here, and I was talking to fellow coaches and whatnot. They were saying congratulations and whatnot.
Before making the 53-man roster, what would you have considered the greatest athletic achievement in your life?
Bradford: Oh, man. It's probably getting a full ride to college. I mean, that's the next one. Just being able to go to college, and not have to worry about my parents paying for it is definitely a blessing. I would say that.
Growing up, anyone who follows football knows about the Packers' history and tradition. What's it like to be inside the locker room as a player?
Bradford: It's amazing. It's a feeling that you can't explain, especially being in this organization. I got texts and calls and, "Oh, my God, you're a Packer." It goes a long way to show how much history people know about this team, and it's an honor to play for it.
Did you ever have a "pinch me" moment when you realized where you're at, playing for a storied franchise?
Bradford: Honestly, the last game, I kind of felt like that. Just standing on the sideline, looking at the crowd and hearing it roar. It was like, "Oh, man. I'm really here." I'm sure I'm going to have plenty more of those moments this season.
What's the biggest thing moving forward you need to work on and improve?
Bradford: Right now, the challenge put in front of me is just learning inside backer. Everything that goes with it — my drops, my reads, my stance. Just start from scratch from that point, and just adapt it little by little.
What kind of goals do you have?
Bradford: Going forward, hopefully do enough to be able to start playing, get in the rotation and show my talent out there. That's my ultimate goal — to play, and to get wins.
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood.