Rams finish OTA’s and Coach Fisher is pleased

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The Los Angeles Rams have concluded their Organized Team Activities, OTA’s as they are called, and the team is pleased with the results so far. “Quite pleased with where we are,” Coach Jeff Fisher told the media.

For now they have been working in Oxnard, CA, where the Dallas Cowboys have a training facility. In the future they will move to a more permanent facility in Irvine.

Their #1 pick in the NFL Draft, Jared Goff, has been maturing into a pro and there is a good chance he will get some starts next season. Earlier this week he took some first team snaps, getting to work with the first team offense and defense.

Jared Goff
Jared Goff

In a press conference on Tuesday Goff said, “I think the first half of it, there was a lot of learning; a lot of thinking. About half way through last week, started to become more playing and more just feeling natural and feeling more comfortable every day, getting more comfortable.” Goff added, “… overall, I feel 100 times more comfortable and ready than I was at the beginning.”

Goff had high praise for the Rams defense, which has been putting the rookie QB through the paces. They have thrown a variety of packages at him, forcing the Cal grad to literally learn as he goes. “… there’s the first-team defense out there, and they’re one of the best defenses in the league, so that’s definitely a little bit different. But, at the same time, I think it went well.”

What makes the Rams D so good in his eyes? “They have so many different looks and they do it so well. One play is never like the next with them. Like I said, they do it well, so it’s tough for our offense even playing them every day in practice, to execute.”

As for the NBA Finals, Goff is confident his hometown Golden State Warriors will win tonight’s game six in Cleveland. “I don’t get too worried when they (The Warriors) lose because they don’t lose two in a row very often.”

Early in the OTA’s coach Fisher told the media what he was looking for in a starting QB. “Beyond consistency, it’s production. You’re looking for production, you’re looking for leadership, you’re looking for quality decision-making and that all comes with reps. Really, that all comes with reps. Jared saw a couple things out here that he hadn’t seen before. The ball ends up in the defensive player’s hands and the best thing about the play was, watching the huddle and he goes, ‘Hey, that one’s on me. That one’s on me, let’s go to the next play and we’ll go on.’ He doesn’t dwell on those things.”

Tavon Austin
Tavon Austin

By now the story of Steadman Bailey is well known to Rams fans: shot in the head twice last November and then making a near miraculous recovery. He has progressed far enough to make the roster though. Coach Jeff Fisher had to put Bailey on waivers, but once he cleared that bailey was rehired, but in more of a coaching position.

On Friday (June 10) Bailey sat for a press conference He told the media, “It’s a very unique situation, but overall I’m just very grateful for Coach Fisher and his staff just giving me an opportunity to still be around here with the guys. I still get a chance to work out with the team and just pretty much sit around with all the meetings and learn what it’s like to be a coach. So, it’s kind of just looking at the game from a different angle, but I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”

He said he’s feeling good, with no lingering pain or discomfort from the injuries. “I really feel like myself. I know just from talking to doctors, they were saying things like, they think it will take a full year, which will be in November, which will be a full year after the incident for me to feel like myself again. But, I guess because I have an athletic-type body, I was able to recover a lot quicker than most people would. I actually feel really good.”

Bailey isn’t angry or bitter. He realizes he is lucky — blessed — to still be alive so he’s staying grateful, taking it one day at a time. “I’m able to wake up every day and smile. Like Coach said, I’m very lucky to still be alive. I went through a whole lot. Just the fact that I’m not able to be out here and actually be playing football right now has been the toughest part, but I’ve got so many things to be grateful about that I’m able to overlook those things and just smile because I’m still here.”

Earlier in the OTA’s Claudia Gestro asked coach Fisher about veteran wide receiver Tavon Austin. “Tavon’s just getting better every year. He’s focused in on the offense, the changes in the offense. Once he gets comfortable in the offense, we’ll see a lot of big plays out of him.”

Jeff Fisher
Jeff Fisher

She also asked about Rookie defensive end/linebacker Ian Seau, nephew of the San Diego Chargers’ All-Pro, Hall-of-Fame linebacker Junior Seau. ““He’s doing well. He’s a very instinctive player. He understands a lot of things along the defensive line, mainly pass rush. He’s having a blast right now. He’s having fun and improving. I think he has a chance to play some special teams in the preseason.”

Seau went to high school at La Costa Canyon High in Oceanside, CA, so playing in Los Angeles, if he makes the team, will be almost like playing at home. He went to college at the University of Nevada where he was a standout defensive player.

She had a chance to speak with another rookie, wide receiver Nelson Spruce, who is also from the L.A. area. She asked him about playing for the local team, his hometown team. “It’s been super convenient. I live 30 minutes away so I’ve been able to go home on the weekends.” He added, “It’s cool, being back home, being able to play professionally, it’s a dream come true.”

Nelson Spruce
Nelson Spruce

The young receiver said he will be staying in the playbook, learning the Rams offense so he’s prepared once training camp begins. “That’s where I’ll have my opportunity to make the team,” he told Gestro.

Spruce grew up in Westlake Village and went to Westlake High. He attended the University of Colorado and set or matched 41 school receiving records. When Spruce left Colorado he was the university’s most prolific wide receiver.

Fisher also likes what he sees from his running backs, receivers and defense, but a lot of what will go into the decisions about who to keep and who to cut will come from the preseason games.

The Rams will be featured on the next season of HBO’s Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Los Angeles Rams. It looks like this could be the show’s best season, at least for Rams fans.

Photos by Claudia Gestro