With the NFL combine coming to a close and free agency about to start, it can be easy to forget that the Los Angeles Rams are in a very unique position this offseason. Not only do they have to worry about re-signing free agents and populating their draft board, they need to worry about moving their entire organization from St. Louis to Los Angeles.
There will be many steps in the process before this move is complete, but the Rams did take one big step on Friday, March 4th when they held their first team meeting in LA as the Los Angeles Rams.
This wasn’t what many would consider a traditional team meeting. There were no discussions of offensive or defensive game plans. The coaches did not talk about starting lineups or key matchup. Instead this was a meeting about the players and their families off the field.
Today, the Rams’ organization hosted the players for their first official gathering as the Los Angeles Rams to help better-prepare them for the move. Players and their family members were given details about the greater Los Angeles area. Players’ wives and family members were encouraged to ask questions and voice concerns about important issues such as where the team will practice and whether they should get Disneyland season passes.
It can be very easy for the fans to get so caught up in how a move to another city might impact the team’s performance on the field that they lose site of the fact the players are dealing with the same excitement and nervousness everyone deals with when making a major move. This meeting was an opportunity for the players and their families to find some of those answers.
The meeting wasn’t all about personal matters, however. Coach Jeff Fisher, during the post-meeting press conference, shed some light on the team’s plans regarding their off-season program in their first season back in Los Angeles.
The team will hold OTAs in Oxnard, California. If that name sounds familiar to fans not from the Southern California area, Oxnard has been the training camp home of the Dallas Cowboys in recent years. In addition, it was the location of the joint practices between the Cowboys and Rams last off-season. Given the new training facility that Jerry Jones is having constructed near downtown Dallas, Oxnard might be a potential option for the Rams long-term as well.
But, for now, according the details provided by the Ventura County Star, it looks like the Rams will stick to having their OTAs in Oxnard. Training camp is currently expected to take place at UC Irvine, which is approximately 40 miles south of Los Angeles. The Rams are exploring the area between Los Angeles and Oxnard, more specifically around the city of Thousand Oaks, for possible locations to house both temporary and permanent in-season facilities. In addition, they are considering the same area as a potential landing spot for a future training facilities as well.
Needless to say, there is still a lot of work to be done this off-season for the Los Angeles Rams. But days like today can be seen as a reminder that it is not just a matter of settling X’s and O’s for the Rams this year. It is also about getting introduced to their new home.