Has it really only been a month since the NFL draft? It feels as though Michael Brockers, Brian Quick and the many other new additions have been Rams for forever now, even if they have yet to play a down. What may be even harder to believe is that it has been five months since the Rams last played a game, depending on how sick and angry you grew by the end of their abysmal season.
We're now directly in the middle of the long haul, right between the Super Bowl and preseason. At least now football news will actually begin to paint a portrait, allowing us to better speculate the week one product on the field. The roster is nearly complete - barring any surprise cuts and/or late off-season acquisitions - and the majority of the playbook has been installed. The true feeling of football won't really return until training camp begins in July, but OTAs and minicamp yield our first glimpse of the Jeff Fisher era Rams.
One player seems poised to carry the offense in 2012, and he's not new to that distinction...
Plenty of action ahead for Jackson - In case you haven't heard, the Rams will run the ball this season. A lot. That's good news for Steven Jackson, who has long prided himself on being a workhorse, and the new stable of rookie running backs added in last month's draft. Though #39 has yet to meet with Isaiah Pead, he's looking forward to the opportunity to groom him. He has been impressed with seventh round pick, Daryl Richardson.
Rams' offense looks Shurmur-ized for 2012 - Yay? Nay. But at least Sam Bradford survived in 2010's quick release dink-and-dunk, and the Rams did find the end zone on more occasions. At this point, fans should hope to see Sam return to his rookie season form. It would be a positive step.
Jason Smith has the worst timing ever - This is a make or break year for the Rams former second overall pick. Either he earns every penny that he's ever stolen from the team's bank account or he may never start another NFL game. There is very little middle ground as he enters his fourth season. Luck has, unfortunately, never been on his side, but he will be given every opportunity in 2012 to prove his worth.
Jeff Fisher: Bradford will thrive under "outstanding" Schottenheimer - Fisher continues to insist that Sam Bradford is in fact the player who ran away with the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, and that his 2011 performance should be swept under the rug. The system, he says, will compare significantly to that of Pat Shurmur's, which accented Sam's strengths.
Where each NFL team ranks in popularity - If the NFL is a high school - and the Cowboys, Packers and Steelers are among the jocks and good looking - then the St. Louis Rams are that quiet, pimply kid who eats lunch alone in the corner. I have a hard time believing that the Rams, who command large fan bases from at least two states, are so colossally unpopular, but losing does that type of thing to a franchise. Fans will come out of hiding when the team starts winning again.
Rams: dream/nightmare scenario - Mike Sando calls the Rams' best and worst 2012 season outcomes as 8-8 and 3-13 respectively. While I would welcome finishing at .500 as a pleasant surprise, I wouldn't call it a "dream scenario" for a team only two years removed from 7-9. I'd like to aspire for more, even if I am delusional. But if Seattle can hope for the NFC title game, why can't the Rams reach mediocrity? Here are the scenarios for the 49ers, Cardinals and Seahawks.
Rams' new youth initiative encourages healthy eating and fitness - Similar to NFL Play 60, the St. Louis Rams have begun their own health awareness youth project. Players and Rampage alike will work alongside children in the "Rams ReciPEs" program.
Are the Rams prepared if the injury bug strikes Sam Bradford again? - Suppose every Ram fans' worst nightmare again happens early on in the season. Our QB is blindsided relentlessly, and now quivers in the fetal position. He stands painfully hobbled on the sideline with a look of regret and disdain on his face. I'm sure many remember this animated gif. The team now rests on Kellen Clemens' shoulders. Thoughts? Fear?
If you enjoy rehearing the same Fisher quotes over and over again through different outlets, enjoy this interview from last week. Topics include "Sam is our quarterback" and "(Janoris Jenkins') problems are behind him."
Finally, meet the members of the Rams staff who no one seems to be talking about: the coaches in the weight room.
Strength Coach Rock Gullickson
Assistant Strength Coach Adam Bailey