Change has been a theme for the newer members of the St. Louis Rams and for quarterback Sam Bradford and defensive end Chris Long, change has become a way of life. Bradford is entering his third year in the league under his third new offense while Long is coming into his fifth season and his fourth new defensive scheme.
Long is coming off of his best year as a professional with 13 sacks in 2011 and he appears to be taking everything in stride. According to the former Virginia Cavilier: “The fourth time around in a new system, I know how to study and get things done and figure it out. “I’ll be on top of these details. It’s a lot of learning.” One thing Long doesn’t have to relearn is how to get to the quarterback and he will certainly still be asked to do just that under Head Coach Jeff Fisher and assistant Dave McGinnis’ scheme.
For Bradford, this year’s upheaval is a bit easier to deal with than a season ago when training camps were shortened due to the lockout. Josh McDaniels was the incoming coordinator last year and his complex verbiage and terminology is difficult enough to digest on a regular schedule let alone in an expedited timefame. Now with a full complement of time to learn Brian Schottenheimer’s system, Bradford can learn from his mistakes and discuss them rather than moving on as quickly as possible despite any misunderstanding.
These two players are the offensive and defensive building blocks of this entire franchise. Getting both of them in the right mindset with a clear awareness of what their assignments are on the field at any given moment is a must. With as much change as the two of them have endured already in their young careers, it’s really impressive that neither has become discouraged. There is only one way to go for the Rams as a franchise and that is up. The success of these two players in particular will determine just how far up the team goes in 2012.