New Rams coach ready for first test
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jeff Fisher has conveyed cool, calm leadership from the start of his first training camp with the St. Louis Rams. That can’t hurt a team coming off a 2-14 season.
Quarterback Sam Bradford said after Friday night’s practice that Fisher, rebuilding the franchise after a year away from the NFL, has not changed a bit so far. The Rams open Sunday at Indianapolis, also coming off a two-win season.
“I’m sure once we get into the regular season and the games count for real, I’m sure he might change a little,” Bradford said. “His demeanor has been the same throughout.”
The Rams were 4-0 in the preseason last year before crashing when the games counted. Fisher wants to win, but also wants to see how his rookies respond to game situations, wants to see veterans execute the playbook and wants to see a clean game.
“You stay somewhat basic,” Fisher said. “You don’t try to out-scheme somebody, you want to see them block and tackle.
“You want to see them execute the fundamentals against a good opponent.”
Earlier in the week, Fisher said that starters could get as little as two series or as long as a quarter. Fisher said running back Steven Jackson probably won’t play much, and Bradford said he hadn’t been given an indication how much playing time he’ll get.
Jackson participated in practice Friday night after two days off, with second-round pick Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson likely to get heavy duty Sunday.
“It’s awesome,” Jackson said. “It’s really important coming off of six months of not really doing much in the offseason to now full-go.
“Coach does a great job of managing us, asking us how we’re feeling and the moment we even give a hint that we might be on the downhill of it, he gives us a break so we can come back fresher and stronger and just as sharp.”
Going over game calls with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer gave Bradford a reminder of the regular-season routine.
“I think that’s really what kind of got to me and let me know it’s right around the corner,” Bradford said,
Fisher said he’ll try to get early playing time for as many players as possible, offering a better read if they’re facing the Colts’ first or second units. The Rams had five draft picks in the first three rounds and Fisher said the younger players might get more action than in a typical preseason game.
“We’ve got talented guys who are going to be playing the second half,” Fisher said. “So don’t be surprised if you see some different guys playing earlier.”
Defensive tackle Michael Brockers, the 14th overall pick of the draft, was fired up about the prospect of finally facing an opponent. Brockers is happy with his camp thus far but knows it’s time to produce on the field.
“Playing with the big boys, I’m a little nervous,” Brockers said. “But at the same time I’m excited, too. I’ve been doing a lot of good things in drills and 1-on-1s, and as long as I can do it against my opponent I’ll be good.”