Yesterday's start to the St. Louis Rams' training camp had a decidedly different feel to it than in previous years. It would appear that in Jeff Fisher's second year, his identity is beginning to take hold.
The Rams worked briskly and effectively on Thursday. It's the start of camp, so the players aren't firing on all cylinders quite yet, but it's clear that there's a certain comfort level among the players with the schemes on both sides of the ball. More importantly, there's been an adoption of their head coach's hard-nosed personality.
Quarterback Sam Bradford voiced his pleasure in finally having a consistent offensive scheme for consecutive years. Bradford had transitioned through three different offensive coordinators in his first three pro seasons. He's clearly more at ease now in his second season under Brian Schottenheimer.
Bradford's new weapons showed their explosiveness early on. Both Chris Givens and first round draft choice Tavon Austin got behind Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins. If they continue to develop the ability to take the top off opposing defenses, this Rams' offense could be dangerous.
Fifth round running back Zac Stacy caught everyone's eye Thursday with his combination of power and explosion. Rams' 101 writer Brent Lancaster called him a "bowling ball of knives." If Stacy can effectively run between the tackles, that combined with Daryl Richardson's and Isaiah Pead's edge abilities will keep opposing defenses stretched from sideline to sideline defending the run.
On defense, Michael Brockers showed up ready to become a dominating lineman. Second year reserve lineman Matt Conrath put starting center Scott Wells on his backside with an explosive push on one snap.
Of course, the main success factor in training camp is escaping the day without injury. The Rams passed that test, unlike division foe Seattle who may be without the services of WR Percy Harvin for some time after Harvin sustained a hip injury.
The Rams will be back at it today at Rams Park.
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