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Fisher excited about competition as Rams begin OTA's/PD

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RamBill, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. RamBill Well-Known Member

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    Fisher excited about competition as Rams begin spring sessions
    • By Joe Lyons

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/foot...cle_3c7d3bcb-80d1-5977-980f-ea5733144ea6.html

    The Rams will begin organized team activities (OTAs) today at Rams Park in Earth City. They will hold 10 such sessions over the next three weeks. Then, following a break of a month or so, the veterans will report for training camp July 24.

    The sessions are not open to the public.

    “It’s an exciting time because it’s the first time we can come together, offense and defense, and start to compete,’’ coach Jeff Fisher said. “The roster, the way it’s set up right now, is set up well from a competitive standpoint. We should have good compeition for starting positions and for the back-up spots as well.

    “We’re probably the only team that didn’t have OTAs last week, but that’s part of our plan. As a staff, we felt it was important to give our new guys, the draft picks and the undrafted free agents, that extra week of conditioning and meetings to make sure they were in a position to learn and participate at full speed once we brought the full squad together for OTAs.’’

    Fisher continued: “And by giving the vets last week off, I think they’ll also be a little more excited about being back at work.’’

    Preparing for his third season here, Fisher said he was pleased with the participation and attendance during for the offseason program and is eager to see the team move into the next stage of preparation for the 2014 campaign.

    “We installed everything, offensively and defensively, at the start off the offseason program and, over the next three weeks, we’ll re-install,’’ he said. “Then, at the start of training camp, we go back and re-install it again. By then, hopefully everybody’s ready to move forward.’’

    Fisher said that left tackle Jake Long, who is recovering from a late-season knee injury, and veteran defensive end William Hayes are not expected to take part in the sessions. He did, however, say that quarterback Sam Bradford, also coming off knee surgery, is ahead of schedule and should get in signifcant work over the next three weeks.

    “I would expect him to take part in at least half of the workouts,’’ the coach said.

    Bradford suffered a season-ending injury to his left knee Oct. 20 in a loss at Carolina. To that point, he had completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 1,687 yards, with 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

    The Rams’ offseason has been a productive one. They added 11 players in the draft, including offensive lineman Greg Robinson, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and defensive back LaMarcus Joyner, who are expected to make contributions from the start.

    The team added quality and depth in two key areas of concern from last season — the offensive line and secondary — and it will be interesting to see which players in those positions establish themselves heading into training camp.

    In another major offseason move, Fisher reunited with longtime defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

    Williams was hired to be the Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2012 but was suspended by the NFL that season for his role in the “Bountygate’’ pay for performance scandal in New Orleans. Williams spent last season in Tennessee, serving as senior assistant coach on defense with the Titans.

    He was contacted by Fisher early this year and agreed to join the Rams. Williams has worked on Fisher staffs in Houston and Tennessee for six seasons, including four as a defensive coordinator.

    Williams’ defenses are known for their aggressive, attacking style. In 15 seasons as a defensive coordinator and head coach, he has presided over five defenses that finished in the league’s top five.

    “He’s very, very organized,’’ Fisher said. “He’s an outstanding coach and an excellent coordinator.’’

    For the third time in as many years, the Rams figure to be one of the youngest teams in the NFL. But that only tells part of the story.

    “It’s a young team that has a lot of play-time experience,’’ Fisher said. “Our rookies from two years ago have had some success and we got some good production from the rookies last year, too. We still have work to do, but I think we’re all looking forward to see these guys continue to work and progress.’’

    The first week of Rams OTAs will be capped with the annual “Fisher and Friends” Celebrity Softball Game on Sunday night at GCS Ballpark in Sauget.

    The evening features a home run derby at 5:45 p.m., the softball game at 7 p.m. and fireworks around 9 p.m.

    Proceeds from the event will benefit five charities: The BackStoppers, The Jack and J.T. Snow Scientific Research Foundation, Mercy Ministries, the Wounded Warrior Project and Catch-A-Dream Foundation.

    “It’s just a fun night for a lot of really great causes,’’ Fisher said. “The players really look forward to it. GCS provides an intimate setting for fans to get a chance to see and interact with the players and see them without their helmets on.’’

    With the contest still days away, Fisher is already predicting victory.

    “No, I don’t know the score, but I know who’s going to win. It’s a given,’’ he joked. “I think I’m 12-1 or 13-1. I gave one away to (Tennessee special teams coach) Alan Lowry — I felt bad for him — in year seven or eight, but I don’t see that happening again.’’
     
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