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Rams Offseason Program Underway

Posted Apr 24, 2014

 

 

While players remain weeks away from stepping on a football field, the team’s offseason workouts commenced this week, to the delight of Rams veterans.

Though they will likely enter the 2014 season as the youngest team in the NFL for the third consecutive season, there is a distinctly different feeling at the outset of this year than in seasons past. Now in the third year of the Les Snead-Jeff Fisher leadership era, a pair of quality drafts have seen their value begin to take hold at the NFL level, and while the Rams have made significant strides during the past two seasons, Year Three is often viewed as potentially the most pivotal season following a new hire. Recent examples such as Seattle’s progression in the third and fourth years under Pete Carroll have only underscored the importance of making significant advances this fall.

VIDEO: Rams Announce 2014 Regular Season Schedule

“This has got to be the year for us,” LB James Laurinaitis said. “At one point or another, you’ve got to quit saying, ‘The future.’  This has got to be the year we make a run at our division. No disrespect to the rest of the NFL, but we don’t stand a chance if we don’t take care of our own division.”

A strong degree of interest entering this year will certainly fall on the Rams’ receiver group, a position that performed well in flashes during the 2013 season, but will look for added consistency this fall.

Rams receiver Chris Givens saw his production rate drop precipitously a year ago, a trend he anticipates reversing in 2014 despite the recent influx in competition and depth to the receiver position, one that he likened to the ‘Fun Bunch’ of the 1980s-era Washington Redskins. The addition of veteran Kenny Britt to a receiver group that includes second-year receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey has created a logjam at a position that could see further upgrades through the draft.

“We have so much talent in our room, and we’re all so young and hungry,” Givens said. It’s something that you embrace, simply because there’s a lot of talent here, and that’s something we talked about. We really can be a special bunch. It’s something where we want people to come and enjoy the way Rams receivers play.”

Perhaps the most encouraging for Givens and company through the first week of workouts has been the progress made by the guiding force behind the Rams’ offense, quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford has moved through his rehab with nary a setback, and a development that is music to the ears of Givens, who flourished in his rookie 2012 season with Bradford at the helm.

“I saw (Bradford) jogging today, and it put a big smile on my face,” Givens said. “Sam’s arm, you can’t replace that.”

The entire active roster has been on hand for the first week of team workouts, which will consist strictly of strength and agility work for the time being. While the current activities are at the most rudimentary of stages, simply returning to the facility has been enough reason for excitement for Rams veterans.

“I just miss it,” Givens said. “The longer I’m away from it, the more I miss it. Coming off zero touchdowns, it’s been the longest offseason of my life I’ve been waiting for this day for the longest.”