Rams Practice, Position Battles Heat Up

CineSport—Jeff Fisher and the Rams battled triple-digit heat Tuesday while position battles in the secondary and receiving corps heated up. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports from practice.

The Rams’ preseason camp has sparked a lot of discussion as to who will be starting at what position on opening day. In the long run, who wins each position battle will not be what is most important for the organization. The catalyst for the Rams’ success will be more about the fact that there is competition day in and day out at camp, regardless of who prevails and earns the spot.

St. Louis’ head coach Jeff Fisher has made it clear to both the media and his athletes that no one’s job is safe. The safety position will see the same competition as it did last year as Craig Dahl and Darian Stewart compete for the right to take the field on opening day.

Offensive line competitors include Quinn Ojnnaka, who is being given his first opportunity to claim a starting position in his seven-year career. Last year’s starting linemen know that they are not guaranteed their spots this season, and that they will have to earn that job all over again.

Coach Fisher told the media that there are eight wide receivers in camp who could still find their way into starting roles. Even linebacker Rocky McIntosh is in a heated battle for playing time after starting four seasons for the Redskins and recording three 100-tackle seasons.

Fisher could very well know exactly who he will be playing where when the preseason comes to an end, but he certainly doesn’t let his players see it.

Whether a player has secured a job or not, Coach Fisher wants his team to be competing and getting better on a regular basis.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan has taken a completely different approach in preparing his team for the 2012 campaign. Instead of filling QB Mark Sanchez’s head with thoughts of a position battle with Tim Tebow, Rex Ryan has made it very clear that Sanchez will be the starter.

During camp Sanchez can sit back and relax knowing that regardless of his performance in practice, he will be the Jets’ starting quarterback.

Sanchez will undoubtedly be more comfortable at practice than the Rams’ players who are constantly watching their backs, but football is not a game designed to promote comfort. One has to wonder if the security blanket that Rex has draped over Sanchez will ultimately be to the quarterback’s detriment.

Competition within the organization throughout camp and in the preseason may prove to be exactly what the Rams needed to spark future success. Perhaps the Jets should take note.

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