With the lockout still in place, it seems more likely that the preseason is highly in doubt. Of course the lockout has been tough on every team since players cannot enter training camp, but, for teams like the Rams, this issue is even more demoralizing to their development. With the Rams just starting to become a contender in this league, training camp and the preseason is very important, especially for the development of rookies. Without a preseason, Bradford is unable to build good chemistry with his new offensive weapons (Lance Kendricks, Austin Pettis, Greg Salas). Without a preseason, Bradford cannot work with these rookies in game situations, and if the league goes straight into a regular season then we cannot expect Bradford to put up more numbers than he did last season.
Another important issue that the lockout creates is that it prevents Bradford and the Rams’ young offense from learning Josh McDaniels’ new and seemingly complicated playbook. One can argue that Bradford had no problem learning an offensive scheme in his first season, but he also had a full training camp and preseason to figure it out. Despite the fact that Bradford is a very smart and instinctive quarterback, he still needs to have the time to learn the offense properly in order to execute it perfectly, like Tom Brady did under McDaniels. It also does not help that McDaniels’ system is pass heavy, which means that Bradford may have to learn twice the passing plays than he had to under Shurmur’s offensive scheme. Even with player only workouts, if Bradford cannot have the preseason to experience this new playbook in a game-speed situation, his development will be significantly slowed down.
Having a full training camp and preseason is also important because the players need to understand the right timing of plays, and to fully understand what their job is on the field. Without experiencing preseason games, it is hard to get eleven players on the field to be on the same page, and to make sure that every man knows their job. If we have no preseason, you may see a lot of players going offside, simply running the wrong routes, or not performing their task perfectly.
However, with the labour talks seemingly coming to an end this week, we will hopefully see a full training camp and preseason, therefore making our lives easier by not having to worry about these issues. I just hope that a vote can be agreed on this week so that the development of our young Rams team can continue to grow, leading to a possible playoff berth this season.