The St. Louis Rams got one step closer to being ready for the season on Wednesday. Training camp officially came to an end, but the Rams still have a pair of preseason games still to go and two difficult rounds of roster cuts to make before the 2013 regular season starts.
So what did we learn from camp this year?
Don't haze the rookies (maybe just a little)
Humiliation isn't on the agenda for the Rams. The rookie class mostly escapes veteran harassment. But still, they did have the old bat spin, i.e. the dizzy bat drill, races on Thursday.
"It's been a tradition for a long time," Jeff Fisher said, "something that we've always finished camp with. It's just basically a reward for the rookies to let them know that they just made it through their first training camp."
"I think they have it pretty good in camp," Sam Bradford added. "That's about the only hazing that they get, so I think they get off pretty light. But, it is fun to watch them out there stumbling around."
Not hazing the rookies is probably a pretty smart idea considering how young the roster is and just how much the Rams are counting on those rookies.
Excitement levels are off the charts
Fans turned out to watch the Rams practice, and they turned out in droves. According to the official numbers from the Rams, attendance was up 70 percent this season.
There's a real, organic level of enthusiasm right now. I've been running this ship since 2006, and I honestly can't recall a time when fans were this excited about the team.
There will be exercise
Fisher has a reputation, well deserved, for being a coach in touch with his players. He doesn't rant and rave. He doesn't throw anyone under the bus in front of a television camera or an open notebook. He doesn't push players to practice or play through an injury.
But he's not by any means easy.
After a poorly executed outing against the Packers and the Browns the week before that, Fisher added a little something in practice: wind sprints.
"it's just part of our routine to emphasize the need to reduce penalties," Fisher said. "It was not punitive. It was good exercise."
Everyone's a winner
You read through the practice reports, and it's pretty incredible. EVERY SINGLE PLAYER is just tearing it up on the field. I'm not, really, trying to be cynical. It's a good sign for the Rams.
Obviously, not every single player is executing everything perfectly. It's just hard to see that from the sidelines on the practice field. Besides, practice is a little different beast than a game, even a preseason game.
But the good news is that players are working, they're getting it. With cut down deadlines right around the corner, Fisher and his staff are going to have some tough decisions to make. That stinks for the players who get let go, but it's a good thing the Rams have so many motivated players to choose from. You have to start somewhere.
I'm not sure that anyone on the team escaped a whipped cream pie in the face. Those Vaudeville antics, however, were encouraged, keeping the players loose and the team cohesive.