In the middle of last month when the Rams had a two-day veteran minicamp, Jeff Fisher talked about the simple things that coaches look for in first practices, like just getting in and out of the huddle correctly.
After the first workout, Fisher was asked if the team had mastered the huddle. He smiled and said, “They got it down, yeah. And by the way, 8 looks pretty good in there too.”
Eight, of course, is quarterback Sam Bradford, who enters his third season in the NFL, and is learning his third offensive system. There were also rumors early in the offseason that the Rams might trade Bradford and select a quarterback with the second selection in the draft.
Fisher and general manager Les Snead insisted all along that Bradford would be the team’s quarterback, but persistent talk can have an impact on players. For Bradford, though, he was assured privately of what was being said publicly.
Earlier this week, Bradford told NFL Network that “pretty much from the beginning, they told me that I was their guy and that I had no reason to worry about them taking a quarterback in this draft.”
As the team prepares for the opening of OTAs next week, Bradford is eager to get on the field and start working on the new offense.
“It’s been great,” he said at the April minicamp. “Obviously this year is much better than last year. Obviously, to be here and be able to have an offseason program and to come out here in a minicamp and get to have walkthroughs, get to have 7-on-7, things that we didn’t have last year — that really helps. The more reps you get at it, the more comfortable we become. I think it’s definitely starting to pick up. There are some similarities between this offense and the offense we ran two years ago. Some of the language is the same, so it’s kind of trying to go back to two years ago and trying to re-teach myself that.”
Bradford also said, despite the difficulties last season, there were lessons within the gloom.
“I think obviously it was a rough year,” he said. “It was a tough year, mentally and physically. But I think I learned a lot about myself, about what it takes to win in this league and just how hard it is. I’m going to try to use everything I learned last year in a way to help us win games this year.”
As for what’s ahead, Bradford added, “Obviously, last year was very disappointing as far as the injury, my performance. It just wasn’t up to par with what I expected from myself. So there’s no doubt that I’m extremely excited to get back out there this year and prove to myself and to everyone else that I can be the type of player I think I can be.”
Fisher is also excited about what he has behind center.
Said Fisher after last month’s minicamp, “It’s his vision, release, accuracy — it’s all those things that we expected to see. He’s picking things up very, very quickly. The accuracy, I think, if you have to pick one thing, it would be that. The ball’s just in the right place every time.”
NOTES, QUOTES The Rams haven’t made an official announcement yet, but according to several reports, including one in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, general manager Les Snead is making changes in the team’s personnel department.
Scouts that Snead worked with while he was with the Atlanta Falcons are joining the Rams. Ran Carthon will become director of college scouting, while Taylor Morton will be director of pro personnel.
The previous director of college scouting, John Mancini, will remain with the organization as Carthon’s assistant.
Departing the team are vice-president of player personnel Mike Williams along with scouts Brandon Schwab and Russ Bolinger.
— The dates for the Rams’ OTAs this spring are: May 15-16, May 18, May 22-23, May 25, and June 5-8. The team’s mandatory veteran’s minicamp is June 12-14.
— Rams fans might learn by Monday what is included in the team’s proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome.
The club rejected a $124 million proposal by the Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) made on Feb. 1, of which the team would be responsible for 52 percent of the cost.
According to the lease agreement between the team and the CVC, the Rams had until May 1 to make a counter-proposal. If the two sides can’t agree by June 15, the matter would go to arbitration, with the possibility that the lease to use the stadium could become year-to-year after the 2014 season.
The Rams delivered the proposal, but the CVC would not make it public, citing confidentiality clauses in the lease agreement. However, Missouri state law might supercede the contract and mandate the information be made public. To that end, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Fox television affiliate petitioned for the proposal to be revealed.
The CVC then went to court to have a judge decide and the case was given to Judge Bryan Hettenbach. In the meantime, Missouri attorney general Chris Koster said the state will release the documents Monday (May 14) unless Judge Hettenbach rules against it.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “There was a reason Les was the first call I made when we went looking for a GM. We met with a lot of capable people, and a lot of people I think will become great GMs. But there was something unique about Les’ way of thinking. It inspired you, and made you believe he’d have immediate success. It’s his self-confidence, and it’s not arrogance, but he believes in his ability. He can get the most of the people around him. He can bring a group together.” — Executive vice-president of football operations Kevin Demoff to nfl.com on general manager Les Snead.