The lockout is over! Finally! I was so excited to hear about it that I had to share some thoughts with you guys.
When I got the news, I was on a flight on my way back to St. Louis already. I was flying back in hope that things were going to get settled sometime this week so we could get back to work. It was just a great surprise when I landed in St. Louis that the lockout was over.
I was able to stop by the facility go see coaches, and get a head start on the new playbook. This was the longest work stoppage in the history of football, but I'm just happy that it's over in enough time that we don't miss any games.
Football is back!
Throughout the lockout, I was in constant contact with our player rep, Adam Goldberg, as well as some people at the NFLPA. I wanted to be frequently updated on the situation because I wanted a gage of where we were in negotiations, as much as they would allow me to know. I also wanted to keep my fans on Twitter and Facebook in the know as much as I was allowed to.
I'm grateful that the fans stuck with us through this thing. I could feel your passion through the posts on Twiter and Facebook. To all of you, the NFL players as a whole just want to thank you for being so patient and understanding for both sides. We want you to know that, through this dispute, the passion of the game has not left anyone. I believe that the quality of football will not be diminished this season due to the offseason being lost.
We're all very excited about this season and I know that the fans will be able to feel that and experience that live as well as over the television.
As excited as I am to get back on the field, I'm just as happy to be back around this great group of guys we have here in St. Louis, my teammates. Anytime you talk to an athlete, they'll tell you that some of the most cherished moments happen around their teammates in the locker room.
The locker room environment is like nothing else. You have many different personalities and there is always someone pulling a prank. I'm looking forward to the time and catching up with guys about what's been going on over the last six months.
READY FOR CAMP
The good news is no one is losing time on training camp.
None of that time was compromised. It will go on as if we had a regular offseason. I don't think it's going to be tough at all. There will be a lot of walkthroughs and a lot of meetings, especially for us since we're learning the new offense. But you don't cram in more practices and you don't stretch the day out anymore because you feel panic after losing six months.
All 32 teams are going through the same adjustment. No one has a true competitive advantage in this situation.
I'm as ready for this as I can be. I've been training since March 1st, mainly at home in Las Vegas. I've been lifting and working on my conditioning for four days a week since then. I haven't missed a beat. I've been going about my personal offseason workouts as if football was always going to be here and we weren't going to miss a day.
We do have to learn a new system under Coach McDaniels, but when it comes down to it, football is football and we'll pick it up. The hardest thing about learning anything new in this game is the language and the way of communicating. Communication is essential on the football field. We have to make sure that all 11 guys are on the same page and doing the same thing. But once you get the language down, the techniques and things of that nature pretty much stay the same.
The one thing we did lose in this lockout was one more exhibition game that we had a chance to play in. We were scheduled to play the Bears next weekend in the Hall of Fame Game, but that had to be cancelled. It's disappointing, for the most part because, with us learning a new offense, it would have given us one extra opportunity to get into a game situation, work out some of the kinks, and make the adjustments that we'll eventually have to make.
So we do lose that edge of having an extra game over everybody else. Of course, the organization would've also loved to be there in Canton to see Marshall go in as the first Ram into the Hall of Fame. But unfortunately things didn't work out for that to happen. Our thoughts are still with Marshall and we're all very proud of him.
But at this point, it's all about getting on the practice field and advancing our goals as the St. Louis Rams. I'm anxious to get going again and continue this mission we're on to improve as a team. We finished 7-9 last season, playing our last game for the NFC West title. That's what I'm looking forward to the most is improving off of last year's success.
We have a tough schedule this season and a couple national TV games on Monday Night Football. But that's just our chance to show how much we've improved here in St. Louis. If we continue to have success and continue to turn things around, we'll be on TV more and more.
It's a chance for us to adjust and be able to play on the national stage. As you get better and advance in the playoffs toward the Super Bowl, the world will be watching. We have to show them what we've been working on and why we deserve their time.
This is an opportunity for the nation to take notice of what we've been doing and what we've been building here in St. Louis. Big things are coming!