The Rams credit a new approach to training for part of Chris Long's success in 2010.
Anderson's firing wasn't so much about the rash of injuries that the Rams had in 2009, or the year before, or the year before that, according to Steve Spagnuolo at the time. And, agree or disagree with that statement, I took it at face value at the time, though I did note that something had to be done given just how hard hit the Rams were.
Firings like that often happen for a reason. When coordinators or positions coaches are let go when a new head coach comes to town it's fairly easy to see why: the new head coach wants to implement his system and needs the personnel to make that happen.
For the Rams, letting Anderson go and bringing in a new strength and conditioning coach was just as much a part of installing a different approach, though it never really looked that way until now. Check out this little tidbit from Dan Pompei's Peter King-esque Sunday column at the National Football Post:
Former Rams first round pick Chris Long had his best season in 2010, and my peeps with the Rams attribute Long's improvement to his work with strength coach Rock Gullickson. Long improved both his foot quickness and his hand quickness, and it showed in his first step off the snap and his ability to keep blockers' hands off him.
Ignore that he uses the words "peeps" and it's a pretty interesting observation. Why wouldn't the team's approach to training be a consideration within their overall system? As someone who exercises only enough to be able to walk to the liquor store, it wouldn't have dawned on me, but it makes sense when you think about it.
The position coaches are an obvious analogy here. Emphasizing a different approach to training with an eye toward specific results on the field goes along with that, especially in professional football where millions of dollars go into making offensive and defensive systems work.
Now, would Chris Long have been a good player with the old approach to training? Most likely. But the point about new management having the prerogative to hire the people they want remains, no matter how shitty it seems sometimes or whatever Marshall Faulk thinks about it.
I wonder if a new approach to equipment management will change anything in 2011?