June 12, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long (91) jokes around with teammates during minicamp at ContinuityX Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long burst onto the scene last year with 13 sacks. It was his best season to date, and a bright spot for a Rams team that rarely played with a lead. Now in the walk year of his contract, everyone is expecting another big season for Long. Count head coach Jeff Fisher among those looking to the veteran defensive end. Fisher praised Long at the team's mandatory minicamp this week and compared him to none other than Kyle Vanden Bosch, who Fisher coached in Tennessee for five years.
"Chris, he's one of those lead by example guys," Fisher said. "He just goes and goes and goes, much like Kyle Vanden Bosch. When you play that hard consistently play after play after play, you make plays. Young guys look up to you that way and you can establish a standard of play on the defensive line."
Long and Vanden Bosch both broke out in their fourth season. Vanden Bosch, a second-round pick by the Cardinals in 2001, came to Tennessee after three years and four sacks. In his first season with the Titans under Fisher, he finished the year with 12.5 sacks. He topped double digit sacks one more time during his stretch in Music City.
Long should thrive even more under Fisher and with a better group of players around him.
The Lions signed Vanden Bosch, reuniting him with former defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, to a four-year, $26 million contract in 2010, at the age of 32.
St. Louis can figure to pay significantly more in 2013 for Long.