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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    Rams’ veterans head off to vacation destinations

    12 hours ago • By Jim Thomas jthomas@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8197

    Ladies and gentlemen, the Rams have left the building.

    The veterans dashed out of Rams Park on Friday knowing they don’t have to be back in the building for the next 5½ weeks. They didn’t go home empty-handed. They got what coach Jeff Fisher called a workout package, and a list of reminders.

    “They know that they’ll be tested when they return, so there’s an incentive to stay in shape,” Fisher said.

    Hence the workout package. As for the reminders ...

    “You know, all those things associated with summer,” Fisher said. “It’s the four-wheelers and the WaveRunners — all those things — because strange things happen out there, and most of the time they’re accidental.”

    The rookies will get the same message at the end of this week.

    “The rookies have one more week here, yeah,” Fisher said. “Just training, pushing the conditioning level, getting ready for camp, and then there will be some off-the-field activities.”

    The rookies report back on July 21; the veterans return July 23; and the first full-squad practice of training camp takes place July 25. All in all, it seems like the offseason and the spring practice period just flew by.

    Once again, there was a lot of roster turnover, with past mainstays and starters Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Bradley Fletcher and Craig Dahl heading elsewhere. Or in the case of Quintin Mikell, still looking for work.

    But there was also an influx of new talent, from left tackle Jake Long and tight end Jared Cook in free agency to wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, linebacker Alec Ogletree, safety T.J. McDonald and running back Zac Stacy in the draft.

    Even with all the new faces, there is a shred of much-needed continuity developing on both sides of the ball. The team did a lot of situational work in the spring, be it two-minute drill, red zone, “backed-up” drills, or whatever. For players who were around for Fisher’s inaugural season in St. Louis, it’s their second time around in the system.

    On offense, for example, the entire scheme was put in during the spring. And when the team reconvenes in late July, the Rams will start all over by installing the entire scheme, step by step, once again in training camp.

    “We’ve had a great offseason,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. “I mean, just a great offseason. Getting a guy like Jake Long and Jared Cook in free agency. And then the draft we had just speaks to (general manager) Les (Snead) and Jeff, and the whole organization and their commitment.

    “I understand why Sam (Bradford) has a smile on his face for a lot of reasons. Obviously the weapons and obviously not having to learn a new system.”

    Schottenheimer concedes this is probably the youngest group of skill position players he’s ever had to work with.

    “If they weren’t working so hard, if they were struggling a little bit mentally — which I’m sure they’ll have their days — I’d probably be a little bit nervous,” he said. “But they’re doing really well.”

    Schottenheimer credited Fisher for structuring the spring in a way that gave the offense extra meeting time and extra installation time. Which certainly helps a young, inexperienced group.

    As the spring ended, Austin Pettis and Chris Givens were working as the starting outside wide receivers, with first-round draft pick Austin the starting slot receiver, and Brian Quick the No. 4. Not that Quick has had a disappointing spring; it’s just that Pettis has been that impressive.

    “(Quick’s) doing a lot better,” Schottenheimer said. “He’s stepped up this year. He’s just much more comfortable.”

    As for how things will shake out at running back, to a large degree it remains anybody’s guess.

    “You need multiple backs in this league,” Schottenheimer said. “We’re going to try to play to their strengths. ... This year I think we’ve got nice pieces to try to blend in and differently attack people.”

    Overall, that remains the biggest challenge on offense, trying to find the best way to maximize the young talent at running back, wide receiver and tight end.

    “I think we’re still trying to find what our identity is going to be,” Schottenheimer said. “It’s a work in progress. I think we’re starting to kind of get a feel for it, but nothing’s done yet. That’s the hard part. What personnel groupings? How do they fit? How do you mix pieces around? Who can learn different spots? Who can’t?”

    For the most part, things are more settled on defense, where the top seven defensive linemen from a year ago are back, not to mention two of three starting linebackers, as well as the top three cornerbacks. But safety remains a work in progress, and the Rams are working in a rookie linebacker (Ogletree) under new defensive coordinator Tim Walton.

    “Some of the stuff we kept the same and then we have some things we’re tweaking a little bit,” Walton said. “Offenses are ever evolving, so you have to do the same thing on defense.”

    Overall, Fisher likes the makeup of this team but realizes there’s a lot of work to be done before opening day in September.

    “I like the commitment,” Fisher said. “We’ve said that from day one. They’ve put a lot of hard work in during the offseason program. The attendance was near perfect. We’ve got a few guys that we’re monitoring and watching, just trying to get through on a daily basis (health-wise). But this team is going to come back healthy and ready to go. They’ve made a great commitment.”

    But for now, it’s time for a break — head coach included.

    “I’ll probably take some time away,” Fisher said. “You won’t find me.”

    Then he added with a laugh, “And I’m not going to tweet about it, either.”


  2. #2
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    As the spring ended, Austin Pettis and Chris Givens were working as the starting outside wide receivers, with first-round draft pick Austin the starting slot receiver, and Brian Quick the No. 4. Not that Quick has had a disappointing spring; it’s just that Pettis has been that impressive.
    Not sure what to make of this. Quick has gone from possible starter to #4? Wasn't it reported he was "putting on a show" in OTA's? Obviously there is a long way to go until the season opener, and it'll be interesting to see where Quick ends up in the pecking order.

  3. #3
    AtlantaRamFan's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Not sure what to make of this. Quick has gone from possible starter to #4? Wasn't it reported he was "putting on a show" in OTA's? Obviously there is a long way to go until the season opener, and it'll be interesting to see where Quick ends up in the pecking order.
    I think this will be a very interesting battle in camp. Austin is going to start in the slot, no doubt about that one. After last year, Givens has earned one of the two starting outside spots. That leaves just 1 "starting" spot up for grabs, and since Shotty referred to Pettis as "The MVP of OTA's" I'm not surprised that he's there right now. While it does seem that Quick has improved, both he and Pettis are competing for 1 spot. So while technically he is the #4 receiver, he only has a shot at displacing Pettis for a starting spot once training camp starts. So I don't think he's dropped quite as far as it sounds (starter to #4).

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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlantaRamFan View Post
    So while technically he is the #4 receiver, he only has a shot at displacing Pettis for a starting spot once training camp starts. So I don't think he's dropped quite as far as it sounds (starter to #4).
    I don't necessarily disagree with you, but it does seem like he went backwards during OTA's. I guess the good news is that Quick has improved, and that Pettis has REALLY improved. I'm looking forward to see how it all shakes out.

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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    I wouldn't worry about it too much at this time. Bottom line, it seems like a good problem to have rather than the huge question marks we've had in years past, since Ike and Torry left.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    Seems I was right to distrust the "Quick is putting on a show" story that came from Tony Softli

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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    I would not be so Quick to draw any conclusion here (I just had to say that )

    In all seriousness, I really do not know what to make of all of the stuff thrown at us by the so called pundits.
    All will be very apparent for us to see soon enough! I trust my eyes and this board. Soon, it will be very clear.

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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    I don't necessarily disagree with you, but it does seem like he went backwards during OTA's. I guess the good news is that Quick has improved, and that Pettis has REALLY improved. I'm looking forward to see how it all shakes out.
    ... so he's improving backwards?

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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    I agree with those that feel the OTAs are way to early to figure out the depth chart. That said not to sure its going to matter much as far as who's one, two, three, four ect.

    I don't see this team having two starting wide-outs and the other guys standing on the sideline waiting to get a few reps. I think we see a lot of four WR sets more then we have in years.

    I would not be shocked if technically Bailey is the fourth or fifth receiver and he's on the field a lot with Austin in certain personnel groupings.

    “I think we’re still trying to find what our identity is going to be,” Schottenheimer said. “It’s a work in progress. I think we’re starting to kind of get a feel for it, but nothing’s done yet. That’s the hard part. What personnel groupings? How do they fit? How do you mix pieces around? Who can learn different spots? Who can’t?”
    I look at like this, our receivers are basketball team and we will have a nice balance of size and speed to create mismatches and you can't do that if you only have two or three on the field at a time. I expect to see four and five WR sets.

    Bottom line is IMO all five WR including both TEs will get their fair share of reps during the game even if they did not line up and play the first snap of the game.
    Last edited by Rambos; -06-17-2013 at 11:39 AM.

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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    Bottom line is IMO all five WR including both TEs will get their fair share of reps during the game even if they did not line up and play the first snap of the game.
    Couldn't agree more! Without a doubt, the GSOT came into being as a result of being able to spread the ball around successfully on a regular basis. If an opposing defense tried to key on one player, Kurt simply went to another. Torry, Ike, Az, Ricky Proehl, Conwell, and Marshall combined with Kurt Warner formed a truly formidable group. Talk about stressing a defense - Jeff Fisher I'm sure remembers it only too well.

    We should be vastly different on offense this year. Instead of opposing defenses continually stacking eight guys in the box and daring us to throw, the shoe should be on the other foot. We now have enough talent in a basic package to run the no huddle and stress defenses. Sure, some of that talent hasn't been proven to produce at the NFL level, but there seems little doubt where this offense is headed. Our offense has been playing off its heels for a long time now. I don't think I'm going to far out on a limb by suggesting that there will be a role reversal regarding who is stressing who this year. Much of this will depend on the health of Jake Long, and Scot Wells, but it appears we have enough pieces in place to evolve into a scary offense.

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    Agrajag is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    What I really think is that at least for this year they're going to be spreading around the ball so much that it won't matter who's the first or fourth receiver.

    I doubt there will be a lot of 4 and 5 wide receiver sets, but with all of the youth in skill positions I can see playing different receivers situationally based on their strengths without telegraphing the plays based on options.

    I'm guessing we'll see more 2 TE sets and you'll see the fullback a lot less. Same coach? Sure, but different scheme and I'm hoping the offense will be harder to predict.

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    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Agrajag View Post
    What I really think is that at least for this year they're going to be spreading around the ball so much that it won't matter who's the first or fourth receiver.

    I doubt there will be a lot of 4 and 5 wide receiver sets, but with all of the youth in skill positions I can see playing different receivers situationally based on their strengths without telegraphing the plays based on options.

    I'm guessing we'll see more 2 TE sets and you'll see the fullback a lot less. Same coach? Sure, but different scheme and I'm hoping the offense will be harder to predict.
    I also thought after we we picked up Cook we would see a lot of the 12 personnel but after we drafted Austin and Bailey, I think it's going to be more of a spread. I would not say we will have a ton of empty backfield looks but some for sure. We don't have a fullback on the roster, I know they listed Ganaway as one, but he's not. We will use Kendrick and Cook at fullback from time to time I would guess.

    We won't really know until we see it during the season.

    I try and find any clue I can get and let my imagination run wild.

    How that manifests over the course of the season remains to be seen but Bradford does acknowledge the possibility that the offense could spread things out and play at a more breakneck pace similar to some of the things he excelled at in college at Oklahoma and in more limited practice since he arrived in the NFL.

    “I hope so,” Bradford said. “I think that’s something that we looked at and obviously had some success with last year. We did it out here today on day 2 and last year I don’t even think we got to it in OTAs. The fact that we’ve already put it in, we’ve already worked the mechanics, I think that’s a pretty good indication that’s a direction we’d like to go.”
    I hope so!

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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Bar-bq View Post
    ... so he's improving backwards?
    Confusing, isn't it?

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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    No doubt they'll be spreading out the field, but with speed at running back, Pead and Austin (if they use him as a RB) can both provide that to the extent that I don't know how often they would run an empty backfield.

    I guess it doesn't matter because Fisher and Shottenheimer are going to plan for the defense they're playing and as you said you can just let the imagination run wild with the options they have.

    Sam running more no huddle is intriguing to say the least, but I just imagine a lot of substitutions at first as young as everyone is.

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    Re: Rams' Veterans Head Off To Vacation Destinations

    Rams Wrap Up OTAs
    Posted by nickwagoner on June 8, 2012 – 8:20 PM


    - Salas is potentially an even more interesting case. He’s been impressive throughout OTAs, which is no small feat considering he’s coming off a serious injury that ended his season early. Not only is Salas healthy, he’s been productive.

    - On Friday, Salas worked with the top unit and made some impressive catches from QB Sam Bradford including a diving one-handed number that looked nearly impossible considering the velocity on the ball. Count Salas out of the mix at your own peril but he was coming into his own before his injury last year and looks even better so far this year.
    By the time camp was over he was traded. OTAs, its really early boys and girls.

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