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Thread: Offseason program begins; Bradford will be throwing soon ..

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    Offseason program begins; Bradford will be throwing soon ..

    • By Jim Thomas

    With today’s start of the Rams’ offseason conditioning program, quarterback Sam Bradford will be limited along with a few other players coming off injuries.
    “Sam’s in a very good place considering what happened last year,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “I thought he was off to a great start. Had he stayed healthy his projected numbers could’ve been quite impressive. He’s worked hard through the process, and I would expect him at some point to be throwing in OTAs.”

    The offseason program consists of three phases, all with specific rules as to what activities are and aren’t permissible, as well as how long players can be at the team facility.

    Phase 1 starts today, and consists of weight training and conditioning for two weeks.

    “Meeting is permissible, but it has to fall into the total period of time in which they can be at the facility,” Fisher said.

    For the coaches, the meeting time is interspersed with the team’s ongoing draft meetings.

    During Phase 2, which begins May 5, the team can work by position groups and do individual drills. But there can be no interaction between offensive and defensive players; in other words, no 7-on-7, 11-on-11, or even one-on-one drills.

    Then comes Phase 3, in which 10 practices known as OTAs (organized team activity) are sprinkled in over the first three weeks of June.

    Fisher said Bradford will be throwing at some point during the Phase 3, or OTA, period.

    “To the extent of which I can’t predict right now,” Fisher said late last week. “It may be 1-on-1, it may be 7-on-7, it may be ‘team.’ We don’t know. But he’s doing great.”

    Injuries have sidetracked Bradford in two of his four NFL campaigns, including last year’s season-ending knee injury in Game 7 against Carolina. While conceding that keeping Bradford healthy is a key to the Rams taking the next step in 2014, Fisher added. “There’s no reason to think it’s not gonna happen.”

    Fisher added: “He really didn’t have any issues in 2012 with us, other than we had a real young team around him. So I’m very disappointed for him because of the injury (in 2013). But we really have no reservation whatsoever that he’s gonna have any trouble coming back.

    “You’re not gonna hear a head coach say he has a player on his team that’s not ahead of schedule coming off an ACL. Everybody says they’re all ahead of schedule. But he is realistically way ahead of schedule. He’s working hard. ... Since ‘Jack’ (Steven Jackson) left, it’s really pretty much become his locker room from a leadership standpoint, at least on the offensive side of the ball. And he’s continuing with that as he rehabs.”

    The new collective bargaining agreement in 2011 shortened the amount of time players and coaches could spend together during the spring. It used to be that offseason programs throughout the NFL began in March. But under the new CBA, that schedule has been pushed back a month.

    This year, teams with new head coaches got to begin their offseason programs April 7. Teams with returning head coaches such as Fisher and the Rams are allowed to begin their programs April 21.

    Rams players who don’t live here year-round began filing into town late last week and over the weekend. So today marks the first time Fisher has been around the entire team since the end of December, or nearly four months ago.

    “I don’t think there’s a head coach in the National Football League that’s excited about the offseason program rules,” Fisher said. “But we have to accept ’em. It’s hard because of the rules to develop young players. But we all adjust. We’ve adjusted over the years and so we’re looking forward to the players coming in Monday.”

    There will also be a rookie minicamp May 15-17, but once again Fisher will not have a mandatory full-squad minicamp as part of his offseason program.

    The rest of the offseason program is voluntary, and because attendance and commitment has been so good, Fisher doesn’t feel like a mandatory minicamp is necessary. He has felt this way for a long time, going back to his days at Tennessee.

    “In the old days, I never had a veteran mandatory minicamp because I had a hard time figuring out why you would take a professional athlete and have him practice twice a day in the middle of the offseason,” Fisher said. “So I’ve really never had it.

    “We just are advocates of participation. It’s all voluntary. We try to create an environment where people want to be there, and our attendance has been excellent. So I just don’t feel like it’s necessary.”

  2. #2
    mde8352gorams's Avatar
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    Re: Offseason program begins; Bradford will be throwing soon ..

    Nice article, thanks for posting Maui. I find this whole newer approach to off-season workouts a shortcoming of the new CBA. The best part of it was the rookie wage scale. This new practice schedule is ludicrous to me, players expect higher pay, but want to practice less. I agree the veterans don't need extensive work, but younger ones or those who need to step it up can benefit. I understand that some coaches became drill sergeants under the old system, but if you work for a company and they demand certain things you do it or you get fired. I realize there are some differences with sports leagues, but again, players get more money than imaginable, I'm not too sympathetic. Fisher's comment was correct about this nonsense, but having to adjust.

    I think Bill Belichick was right last year when he said the lack of practice is the cause of some of these ACL injuries that have had a dramatic increase in recent years.

    Go Rams!
    Last edited by mde8352gorams; -04-21-2014 at 01:52 PM.
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    Re: Offseason program begins; Bradford will be throwing soon ..

    Right on MDE...
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