Offseason Playbook: Rams

A look at St. Louis' philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: March 5, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider

Sam BradfordJoe Nicholson/USA TODAY SportsThe St. Louis Rams need to give Sam Bradford more receiving options.

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, biggest needs and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- Under head coach Jeff Fisher and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, this West Coast offense is well designed, featuring a physical run game that eats up the clock, keeps the defense fresh and utilizes good play-action. The offensive line is a man blocking unit, and while it is not an elite group, there is some improvement showing. The passing game under Sam Bradford uses a lot of three- and five-step drops, partly to neutralize the pass rush and protect the offensive line in pass protection. They like crossing routes and they like to work the middle of the field. Bradford likes the play-action bootleg -- and he can do it either to his right or left. An area that they would like to improve in is their sight adjustment passing game, as the receivers are not always on the same page as Bradford, especially when he does a good job of reading the blitz and going to the hot route.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.