When the media was escorted onto the fields located behind ContinuityX Training Center yesterday, I saw a Rams team with a much different identity, several new faces and improved team speed at all positions – not to mention more explosive movement within the positional drill work. The one common denominator was the intense, competitive nature exhibited by all players.
I’ve witnessed many years of OTAs throughout my tenure in the NFL. The focus demonstrated by coaches, who were in an enthusiastic teaching and coaching mode from start to finish Thursday, was refreshing. Players grinding and working to get better as a team, pushing each other past those standard comfort zones, could also be seen and felt from my vantage point. After an active free-agency period and another draft that may have yielded another crop of starters, there is an extreme amount of hope for the 2013 Rams from a fan’s point of view.
When asked about his objective for the upcoming season, quarterback Sam Bradford was similarly ambitious.
“To win the Super Bowl, obviously,” Bradford said. “That’s what we set out to do every year. You never go into a year thinking, ‘Man, if we could go 8-8, that would be awesome,’ because if you do, you might as well not even play the game.
“When we started this offseason – what is it, six weeks ago now? – we came in with the mindset that we are putting in the work each day to build the pieces to win the Super Bowl. That’s what our goal is. Obviously first we need to win our division, which is the NFC West, take care of business in the playoffs and get there, but that’s our goal every year.”
Bradford commends weapons
“I’ve been really impressed with the young guys and the way they’ve been able to handle things mentally,” the fourth-year signal-caller said. “I think that’s something that’s extremely important, because it doesn’t matter how talented you are physically if you can’t handle it mentally. I think the young guys that we have in here have done a great job and I expect them to continue to get better.”
Roger Saffold speaks
I caught up with the offensive lineman and asked if he had any concerns about from moving from left to right offensive tackle.
“The change in stance is difficult, just because it’s what your used to doing,” Saffold said. “You have to get back to that muscle memory, changing everything up. But honestly it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it was going to be, but as far as the smaller details that I’m constantly working on, it’s day two out here. It’s the second day I went live playing right tackle since 9th grade in high school, so just continue to learn, working with Chris (Long) on the speed of the game, so we’ve been working hard. I think I got better today than I did yesterday and intend on getting better tomorrow.”
Thomas Brown weighs in
The Rams currently have the biggest man in the NFL on their roster. No, this is not a circus tryout, as the mammoth offensive lineman flashed some athletic skill set with a good first step.
“Actually, we weighed him in at 403 (pounds),” coach Jeff Fisher said. “We had him in for the tryout and he had some issues that we had to clear up from a physical standpoint. He got them put behind him. We worked him out on both sides of the ball – defensive line, offensive line – and we felt like his best position would be right tackle. “Bou” (offensive line coach Paul Boudreau) said he’d love to have him. He’s gone this far. He got through practice. He’s a defensive lineman that we’ve converted over to offensive line.”
Rokevious Watkins suspended for Week 1
“I’ll say this: We’ve been aware of it for quite some time,” Fisher said about the league-enforced punishment. “I’m not going to go into specifics of the suspension. We respect the league’s decision, but personally and respectfully, I disagree with the suspension and the circumstances regarding the suspension. That’s my opinion, but we’ll honor the league’s decision.”
Lance Kendricks, Brian Quick do not participate
Kendricks injured his knee during offseason workouts and subsequently had it scoped. Quick, meanwhile, was a late scratch from drill work due to tight hamstrings.
All part of the plan
This year is no different than last when it comes to OTAs. Fisher and his staff will install their infrastructure in three phases, regurgitating schemes, plays and situational football throughout training camp to help prepare for the preseason. The main reason for this repetitive teaching methodology is so that the players know what precisely is coming next – a hallmark of the Fisher way.