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Five encouraging signs from Rams OTAs/FSMW

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RamBill, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. RamBill Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
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    Five encouraging signs from Rams OTAs

    By Nate Latsch


    The Rams wrapped up their organized team activities Thursday, with coach Jeff Fisher cutting the OTAs one short of the 10 allowable by giving his players Friday off. After all, enough was enough.

    "We're pleased," Fisher said. "We told guys, 'You're not going to compete for the division here the next couple weeks. The only thing you can do is set yourself back.'

    "It was a step-by-step process and we got everything in. We came through it very, very healthy. We got the 'rooks' caught up, which was good. Over the Memorial Day week, they came back and they were able to compete. Sam (Bradford) got on the field two consecutive days. Jake (Long) got some stuff done in individual. So, we're in pretty good shape now before the break."

    With training camp beginning in late July -- rookies report July 21, veterans July 24 -- it figures to be all quiet on the Rams front for the next month. But OTAs revealed some encouraging signs that should give fans some comfort until it's time to put on the pads.

    Of course, it's important to note that players competing in helmets and shorts resembles flag football more than NFL competition.


    The Rams chose not to upgrade their wide receiver corps through the draft because Fisher and general manger Les Snead were confident in the youngsters they had coming back -- and a veteran they signed in free agency.

    The addition of Kenny Britt represents a low-risk move with a potentially high reward, if the former first-round pick can return to the form he showed his first two seasons in Tennessee under Fisher.

    "We knew he'd do well," Fisher told FOXSportsMidwest.com. "He needed a fresh start. I know him well. He'll be successful here."

    When he ran past both the Rams' starting cornerbacks, Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, to haul in touchdown passes early in OTAs he showed that he can still be a playmaker. He has emerged as a vocal veteran leader for a wide receiver group that was lacking one.

    "He's doing a great job," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "Still learning the system. It's been a little different for him, but each day he makes one or two big plays. It's kind of a big-man's game, that's what it's gone to. Very, very pleased with what he's done so far."

    If Britt is successful here, the St. Louis passing attack should be much improved. That could make the difference between making the playoffs or watching them from home once again.


    The Rams had plenty of options with the No. 2 overall pick, including playmaking wide receiver Sammy Watkins, but it looks like they made the right choice in offensive lineman Greg Robinson.

    Robinson admitted that the transition from playing left tackle at Auburn to playing left guard with St. Louis has not been easy. But the 6-foot-5, 332-pounder felt more and more comfortable as time went on and told reporters Thursday he felt good about it, even mentioning that his goal was to become an All-Pro guard.

    The Rams' offensive line will be a concern again this season, with left tackle Jake Long coming off a season-ending knee injury and center Scott Wells having dealt with injuries the last two seasons. Robinson's addition, along with the signing of veteran guard Davin Joseph, helps solidify the line.

    If St. Louis can line up its five regulars this fall -- Long at left tackle, Robinson at left guard, Wells at center, Rodger Saffold at right guard and Joe Barksdale at right tackle -- the Rams should be fine. But that's a big "if" considering the injury history of Long, Wells and Saffold.


    The Rams' second first-round pick, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, has drawn rave reviews from his teammates and coaches during OTAs.

    "Aaron Donald has my vote for rookie of the year already," Schottenheimer said. "He's a really good player."

    Asked which of the rookies has stood out to him, linebacker Alec Ogletree, who was an impact rookie himself last season, named the defensive tackle from Pitt.

    "He's been doing pretty good in my eyes," Ogletree said. "He came in working the first day he got here and out on the field you can tell that he's a very disruptive guy. He's been causing a lot of havoc for the offense."

    Donald clearly makes an already-strong defensive line better.


    As a whole, the defense will be better this season -- because of Donald, because of experience gained by young players last season, but most of all because of the man in charge of the D, Gregg Williams.

    "It's been great," Fisher told FOXSportsMidwest.com. "As soon as we hired Gregg I got numerous texts from defensive players expressing their excitement. The culture has changed in the defensive room, and it's only going to get better."

    Williams' hiring as defensive coordinator this offseason gives Fisher a familiar face he can rely on with more than a decade of experience in that role, unlike the past two seasons. Williams also brings an edginess that has been missing. Tim Walton he is not.


    Sam Bradford, sure. But we're talking about Michael Sam.

    Sam is attempting to be the first openly gay player in NFL history. If OTAs are any indication, he has a very good shot at doing that. He held his own in OTAs while taking reps with the backup defensive linemen.

    The seventh-round pick from Missouri isn't expected to make an immediate impact along the Rams' defensive line, the strength of their team. But he does look like a worthwhile prospect to develop as a pass rusher.

    "He's working real hard," Fisher told FOXSportsMidwest.com before the final week of OTAs. "He's improving at his technique at the position. He takes to coaching well. We've seen improvement just over the last six OTAs."
    Badfinger and Akrasian like this.
  2. Akrasian Active Member

    Jun 18, 2014
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    It's good news, of course. Especially about Michael Sam. I really want him to legitimately make the team, to shut up those who think he was only taken because he is gay when he was co-defensive player of the year in the SEC and a great value for a 7th round comp pick. I doubt he'll ever be a star - but I think Williams will find ways to use his drive and amazing motor to plant QBs in the turf - maybe not in 2014, but by 2015. This year barring injuries he'll likely just be a special teamer.
    LazyWinker likes this.
  3. Mojo Ram On double secret probation

    Feb 3, 2013
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    This is SO important. Those GSOT teams had continuity, except maybe at RT.
    SierraRam likes this.
  4. BonifayRam Well-Known Member

    Jan 14, 2013
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    All the above information exception of one is good.

    Keeping Five DE's (Quinn-Long-Hayes-Sims & Sam) on the 53 player roster along with several DT's who have DE experience in the NFL (Langford & Carrington) plus a 2014 first round draft pick who has played all the DL positions, would seem to me to be a very high luxury IMO. In reviewing the DL over the last two seasons...lost one starter for 3 games due to an ankle. Bottom line here the DL cadre last season had no major or moderate injury issues Our DL is the strongest & most talented unit on this team. I sure like what rookie Ethan Westbrooks can bring he is like Donald where he can play all four DL positions. We know players who are versatile are valuable.

    Using the opposite line ...OL had four starting OL'ers IR'd the 2012 season the amount of injuries were even worse. The OL has a proven serious injury history then throw in our most important Ram Sam Bradford is coming back from the IR after a major injury & surgery. Some of the Rams older OL'ers like Wells-Long & Joseph has injury concerns want to discuss Saffold & Barrett Jones recent injuries? I would also offer up a decent argument using the need for an added body in the DB or WR units too where an excellent return-man could come from..
  5. SierraRam Recreational User

    Mar 17, 2014
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    We can't really ask for better news than what's contained in this article! Our two top picks are "comfortable" & will contribute right away. and our off season acquisitions include a potential #1 WR, quality OL depth, and a top D-Coordinator. NICE!

    Of course Bonifay makes good points (as always) regarding our strongest unit, but I have 25,000 ROD$ on Sam making the team. So I'll go with the OP on that too.
  6. FRO Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2013
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    - Britt is Fisher's guy. Fisher knows how to make him tick. This has the potential to be a big time move for us. I can't wait to see Britt play.

    - It still hasn't sunk in to me that we got Aaron Donald. Guy is going to be a superstar DT. No way he should have been there at 13. Thank God he was undersized, if not we would have had to take him at 2 if he would have got past 1.

    - Gregg Williams will take this defense to the level they are capable. I wonder how many more wins we would have had the last few years had Gregg been our DC the past 2 years.

    - I. Can't. Wait.
    Dr C. Hill and BuffaloRam like this.
  7. Memphis Ram Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2010
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    Gee. I'll be surprised if Sam makes the team. I like Westbrooks chances more.
  8. Dr C. Hill Member

    Jun 17, 2014
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    I am like Fro, it is slowly sinking in that our Rams have Aaron Donald. Him and Brockers together for the next decade is a beautiful thing. That kid is going to be a superstar!
  9. BD-TomCat Member

    Jun 24, 2010
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    Cant wait to see this defense on the field in pads. Qb's will be trembling this year with their heads on a swivel
  10. SanAnRam New Member

    Jun 19, 2014
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    When I watch a game, its the defense that fires me up the most. I have a feeling I'm going to be jumping up and down woo hooing all season. Man I'm stoked. My favorite picks from the last two drafts (Ogletree and Donald) will be my next two jersey buys.
    BTW: Seeing posters like Dr. Hill, Tomcat, Fro, Dude, Memphis... Someone go get Diggity and Hammer and we're gooood... thank guys!
  11. -X- The Retired RODfather Staff

    Jun 20, 2010
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    Diggity is here, and hammer used to be.
    Diggity is cool, but hammer really hates not being worshipped.
    FRO likes this.
  12. SanAnRam New Member

    Jun 19, 2014
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    As you can see from all my 3 post, I've been missing some posters. Good to hear on both and I look forward to Diggs 'curvy' post and Hammer's (hopefully) training camp reports. I'll leave the worshipping comment alone, but that was funny