The preseason is officially over and, like the rest of the league, the Rams are moving into full on regular-season mode.
In the next 24 hours, the team will finalize their cuts to the initial 53-man roster. From there, the Rams will likely scour the waiver wire for more help as well as put together an eight-man practice squad. If it's anything as hectic as it was last year, there will be plenty of activity on the Rams' end over the next 48 hours.
But in the aftermath of a long offseason, the Rams are happy to be moving on to the real thing.
From here, the players will get days off Saturday, Monday and Tuesday with a closed practice session scheduled for Sunday afternoon. The coaching staff will spend that time game planning for the opener against Arizona on Sept. 8.
“The players are going to have some time off and take a deep breath and take care of their bodies and the coaches are going to start planning,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “We are in the process, we have some difficult decisions to make. We’re going to continue with that and we are going to work over the next three or four days to put the best opening- day roster we possibly can together.”
As for any concerns that might have popped up during the four-game exhibition slate, Fisher doesn’t seem too worried. His team drew 43 penalties for 294 yards. The Rams also had a penchant for fumbling, including three in the first five minutes against Baltimore.
Fisher said the fumbles weren’t enough of a concern that it would keep him from using running back Isaiah Pead or receivers Brian Quick or Tavon Austin. Likewise, Fisher said the bulk of the penalties thrown at his team were aimed at players who won’t make the roster or game-day inactives.
“The special-teams penalties, that’s a concern but usually when you are working the core guys and put the pressure on them that we put on there, there’s a couple things that happened. But really, I’m not concerned,” Fisher said. “We’ll get it corrected.”
Other areas that cropped up in the preseason were struggles on third down and inability to finish drives. As Fisher maintained all along, though, the Rams’ flavor of choice for the preseason is always vanilla.
“We’d like to think we are going to carry more things into the regular season and be game planning,” Fisher said. “We haven’t game planned much so we are just kind of keeping things basic. We’ll get three or four weeks into it and we’ll have to identify some areas that we are going to have to emphasize.”
Make no mistake; Fisher doesn’t believe his team is perfect. Clearly it isn’t but there seems to be a definite sense in the locker room that this team is well ahead of where it was last year.
Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen. Starting now, they get a chance to find out.