With the Rams wrapping up OTAs and eyeing the five-week alley prior to training camp, there is a marked shift in identify on display. There are some new faces and names, of course, but obvious upgrades relate to size, speed, explosiveness and athletic ability.
Two things that have not changed for the Rams in 2013: For the second straight year, they are the youngest football team in the NFL, and the structure and philosophies on offense remain the same. The Rams are no different than the other 31 teams when it comes to strategic planning and finalizing tactical approaches to changes that will create an uneven playing field and actually leave opposing teams guessing which players will be assigned where. Equipped with an array of new weapons, St. Louis should take full advantage of its positional attributes and diverse personnel groupings in the fall – and possibly beyond.
“I’m excited with the way the guys are working,” said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer on Tuesday. “We’ve had a great offseason. I mean, just a great offseason, getting a guy like Jake Long and Jared Cook in free agency, and then the draft we had just speaks to (general manager) Les (Snead) and (head coach) Jeff (Fisher) and the whole organization and their commitment. I understand why Sam (Bradford) has a smile on his face for a lot of reasons; obviously the weapons and obviously not having to learn a new system. It’s been a really great offseason. Guys are working hard. It’s been fun to watch them work.”
During OTAs, much attention has been paid to Schottenheimer, who is teaching and coaching the offense every minute he is on the field. Like a conductor of a major symphony orchestra, he has more than 100 performers. A conductor calls on his woodwind, brass, percussion and strings sections for top performance under pressure, hitting key notes with precision. Schottenheimer’s job varies slightly, insofar as he’s charged with pulling the strings of explosive, talented weapons, molding the right combination of playcalling and multiple formations to make beautiful music of his own.
“I think we’re still trying to find what our identity is going to be,” Schottenheimer said. “It’s a work in progress. I think we’re starting to kind of get a feel for it, but nothing’s done yet. That’s the hard part. What personnel groupings? How do they fit? How do you mix pieces around? Who can learn different spots? Who can’t? Then again, working out the competition … it’s a good problem to have, I promise you that. We’re enjoying it. It’s been great.”