That smell in the air is the offseason finally taking a step back onto the field for the majority of the teams in the NFL. The St. Louis Rams were part of those squads returning to the gridiron beginning on Friday as the three-day mini-camp got underway and continues through Sunday with the veterans set to join the fold on Monday for OTAs. Although it was just the rookies in the first few days of the activities, coaches were still able to get a good feel for what their young players will be capable of in year one.
According to St. Louis Today, Head Coach Jeff Fisher was enthused about what he saw saying:
“Good practice. We’re looking at everything; they’re going to have to learn inside and then they have to carry that onto the field, apply it. Whether it’s an assignment or a technique change or whatever it is. Install some basic coverages, some basic concepts and see if they can come out and execute it. What happens is we continue the install with the draft choices and those that are under contract throughout the offseason.”
It’s difficult to get a true sense of what the roster will actually look like under the veterans are thrown into the mix, but the Rams still have a pretty good idea of what direction they are heading in after an active offseason involving both free agency and the NFL Draft. Just because they have made some savvy additions already, however, does not mean that the club is necessarily satisfied with the roster. General Manager Les Snead commented on the potential of more additions, saying:
“We’ll get through this (rookie) camp, maybe some of the OTAs, and then look at everything. Who’s out there, and maybe what position we could use a veteran. I say there’s a good chance we sign one up to three, depending on the fit.”
The exact names of those ‘one up to three’ are unknown at this point, but one has to believe that former safety Quintin Mikell as well as linebacker Daryl Smith remain possibilities. The Rams cut Mikell due to his enormous cap number earlier in the offseason, but he remains available and would likely be open to a return. Smith visited the team early in April, but he eventually left without a contract. He could be a nice rotational fit with veteran Jo-Lonn Dunbar and rookie Alec Ogletree.
With several offensive additions in free agency and the draft, a few finishing touches on the defense could really put the cherry on top of a very nice offseason for the Rams from a personnel standpoint. This team has to be excited about the contributions it will see from the rookies in 2013, and the veteran free agent additions are sure to make an instant impact as well. Just some fine detail work could be what separates the Rams from being a run of the mill playoff contender and finding the postseason and a winning record for the first time in what seems like forever.