Teams around the NFL are always trying to keep their roster replenished with young talent that can be with them for years to come. While there are several players that fit that description throughout the league, it is rather impressive that the St. Louis Rams seem to have exclusively that type of talent.
Even though the Rams went on a spending spree this offseason in free agency, the players they added are still on the cusp of or just newly entering their prime. Jake Long may not be a so-called skill player, but he is just 28 and widely considered one of the best left tackles in the league when healthy. Tight end Jared Cook is just 26 while the oldest member of the Rams receiving corps is the geriatric Austin Pettis at 25. At running back, the Rams have four players currently and they have a combined three years of NFL experience.
This might seem like a less than ideal situation with a quarterback entering his fourth NFL season in Sam Bradford who is (you guessed) just 25 years of age, but offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer says quite the contrary. The Rams OC told ESPN:
“Coach (Jeff Fisher) helps us by setting up the structure where we can get a chance to visit with these guys and do the installs a couple different times, which certainly helps them. A young group, but a very fast, explosive group, so there’s a tradeoff there. I understand why Sam 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.”
Bradford chimed in as well on the slew of young talent flocking to St. Louis as he said:
“It’s definitely come a long way since we first started with those rookies. I’ve been really impressed by some of the young guys that we’ve had – Tavon (Austin), Stedman (Bailey) – thought they’ve done a great job. We’re asking them to play a lot of different positions right now. Of course there’s still mistakes, but for the most part they’ve been extremely sharp. The chemistry, I think, is really coming along. Obviously the more reps we’ve gotten together on the field in practice, things have really started to click.”
After being a primarily run-based offense when Steven Jackson was in town, this team figures to be migrating toward a pass-happy attack along with the rest of the NFL. It may not be back to the days of the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ just yet, but the Rams certainly look to have a variety of weapons at their disposal.
On the offensive structure, Bradford said:
“It just seems like when we played teams in the past, they were pretty much saying, ‘This is what we play, you can’t beat us and we’re going to play it.’ I don’t think teams are going to be able to do that anymore. They will have to design coverages to stop some of the players that we have.”
In and of itself, that could help this Rams team do some serious damage offensively in 2013. It has looked more and more like they are attempting to model themselves after a Tom Brady based attack with the New England Patriots, and this commentary only further justifies that thinking.