The Los Angeles Rams began OTAs this week in sunny California, their first home practice in California in over 20 years. Bringing football back to Los Angeles means changes everywhere, and apparently that includes the offensive philosophy.
After wrapping up the first OTA, Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher confirmed the team will give another go at installing the spread into their offensive approach:
We're going to get the ball spread around a little bit more. It's going to all focus off the run game. But we're going to be able to, if need be, hand it off to Todd, and if someone says "we're not going to let you do that", then were going to spread it around.
Fisher also went on to highlight getting the ball into Tavon Austin's hands more and doubling his catch total (52) from last year. He mentioned pushing the ball down field being a priority as well.
Now this may all sound a little familiar to Rams fans as this has been tried with the Fisher regime before.
In 2013 when the Rams drafted Tavon Austin, the team went towards a more power-run/spread attack. With Sam Bradford at the quaterback position and rookie first-round pick Tavon Austin having extreme college success in the spread, fans were really excited about the possibilities of the offense.
Then reality came crashing down when the season began.
Somehow, everyone forgot Jeff Fisher and his staff knew nothing about running a spread offense as they all have always run a power scheme. Then, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, proved early and often he was in over his head in the attempts to design route concepts from the spread that would allow the offense to flourish. Furthermore, the spread that Bradford ran in college, and the one Tavon was used to, wasn't even remotely close to being similar. And to top it all off, Schottenheimer didn't do much to lessen the learning curve, as the verbiage was rumored to be overly complex.
Here we are now, three years later, and Fisher is ready to try it one more time. But what reasons are there to believe they'll get it right this time?
The Rams brought in Mike Groh as a wide recievers coach but also as the passing game coordinator. His job is to help design concepts for the spread pass game that will take the 32nd-ranked offense in 2015 to new heights in 2016.
Now this tid bit of info will either make you as a Rams fan vomit, or jump and rejoice.
Groh stems from an interesting coaching tree. He is a disciple of Adam Gase, who began his career learning directly under Mike Martz. Gase has had success with his spread attack, which is similar but different from that of Martz. The Rams are hoping that Groh can bring some of that creativity to this offense.
The Rams also have a new QB in town. Some kid that goes by the name of Jared Goff. He's another guy that had success in the spread in college. You have to wonder how's the learning curve going to affect him, but Fisher has already confirmed the offense has been simplified. At least it seems they are trying to make the transition as easy as possible which is clearly the smart thing to do.
One thing that stood out to me with Fisher's comments is he wants to spread it out and push it down field. Considering Goff is from a spread offense and was by far the best down field passer in college football during the 2015 season, one has to wonder how much of Goff's college "Bear Raid" offense will be installed.
Goff doesn't have a wow, drop your jaw, kind of arm, but his down field accuracy is scary impressive. Could the Rams finally not only be looking to spread it out, but actually try to push the ball down field on a more consistent basis?
Fisher's comments has opened the door to a lot of questions, and as training camp draws near, Rams fans, media and all of LA will be watching closely to see, what other changes will be in store for this franchise come the 2016 season.