McDaniels plans crash course for Rams' offense ..
BY JIM THOMAS
Thursday, July 28, 2011 12:20 am
There will be no bigger story at Rams Park this preseason than how quickly new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels can get the players up to speed on his system. Let the crash course begin.
McDaniels spent five hours going over film with quarterback Sam Bradford on Tuesday — the first day players could be in the building post-lockout. They were together for about the same amount of time Wednesday.
"We're trying to cram everything into three days," McDaniels said, referring to the three days before Friday's start of training camp. (The first practice isn't until Saturday.)
McDaniels poked his head into a few of the other position rooms Wednesday, literally introducing himself to players.
"I'm trying to meet as many of the guys as I can, whether they be new to the building, or guys that were here last year," McDaniels said. "I haven't met every player yet."
Only in a lockout year that saw the entire offseason program wiped out could that be possible: a coach still meeting players just a couple of days before camp starts. McDaniels has yet to get any field time with the players, but he has tried to gauge who can do what based on film study done during the lockout.
"I've certainly seen every play that they've been a part of in the last year here, including the practice tape," McDaniels said. "So that's been very helpful to me in terms of trying to catch up. I also think that this next three or four weeks here are going to be filled with evaluation.
"The big thing for us as coaches is we've got to do a good job of teaching quickly. They've got to learn fast."
And if it appears, for example, that a wide receiver seems lost at flanker, split end or in the slot — whatever it may be — McDaniels said the offensive staff must be flexible enough to move the player to a different spot.
McDaniels said he may have to pare down the playbook at the start of training camp because of the lost offseason, but he isn't conceding that as of yet.
"The big thing there is we want to make sure that we have a solid foundation," he said. "Maybe the foundation's a little bit smaller when we come out of training camp, maybe it's not. We'll see what pace we can go at, but I also think it's important to remember that we still do have a 16-game season.
"It's a long season. There's an opportunity to continue to improve and progress after August. ... We've got to make sure we make strides in September, October, November and December."
When Bradford met with reporters Tuesday, he said the playbook terminology is very different from Pat Shurmur's West Coast offense last season. But in terms of the plays themselves, McDaniels said it's not just his playbook. Some of the stuff that worked well last season has been incorporated into this year's book.
"There's definitely going to be some carryover, maybe more than people may think," McDaniels said.
McDaniels said his offensive philosophy is to use every part of the field — be it short, intermediate or deep in the passing game. And he likes to mold his scheme around the individual talent he has. For example, the package of plays for Danario Alexander will be different from the package of plays that may feature Danny Amendola.
And the scheme — and hence, the game plan — will be opponent specific.
"What are we going to try to do each week?" McDaniels said. "We're going to try to score points the best way we can. And really that has more to do with what the (opposing) defense is going to give us, than it does with running specific plays every week and repeating those."
Having a defensive-oriented head coach in Steve Spagnuolo has helped in that respect already.
"What we want to try to do is beat the defense, not necessarily just run plays," McDaniels said. "One of the bonds that I have that I feel really great about is coach Spags has the chance to give me input and tell me what he sees from the defensive perspective and what may hurt them.
"He sends me things in cut-ups and clips that are difficult to defend, and I think that's what we're really after each week."
McDaniels hinted strongly Wednesday that Steven Jackson's role may be a little different this year, particularly in the passing game. Even though the final composition of the receiving corps may change here in the midst of instant free agency, McDaniels thinks the existing group has potential.
"We've got a lot of young players that I think have a chance to improve significantly, just because this is their second or third year in the league," he said. "I think they have ability, and really the test for us is going to be how quickly can we get them up to speed so that they can work and be on the same page as the quarterback in the passing game."
Re: McDaniels plans crash course for Rams' offense ..
I cannot wait until the season starts. Congratulations to all of us Rams fans who stood with our team throughout all of the bad, Throughout the Linehan era, Throughout the 6 and 42 record.
This is our reward.
Hope and excitement for a playoff run with a team with amazing potential and a will to win.
Re: McDaniels plans crash course for Rams' offense ..
I would like to add my perspective on McDainels as someone who has lived in NE for the past ten years, anyone reading this can take it for what's it worth.
McDaniels style of play calling is more akin to a basketball head coach opposed that of a typical NFL offensive coordinator. Meaning, he will look to constantly create matchup problems on every play and he will probably have the home town fans calling some of the teams less productive players super stars.
Don't let Orton's or Brady's numbers fool you. McDaniels will employ a dink and dunk offense taking what the defense gives him. (A lot of short throws, good blocking after the catch and yards after the catch.) However, he is not a OC who is afraid to take deep shots down field to keep the defense honest. This offense should be vastly superior to what we had last year to last years even without going after a lot of big name WR's, RB's.
And just because I can't resist. The Rams should REALLY go after Benjarvus Green Ellies, RB Patriots. Great super underrated back,IMO.