Found August 01, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS There are only so many ways to say the past has been forgotten. St. Louis Rams offensive linemen understand this better than most early in training camp. There are concise ways. There are cerebral ways. There are reflective ways. Yes, there are only so many ways to say a bad memory has been erased. Take third-year guard Bryan Mattison, who started four games during last seasons 2-14 stinker. On Tuesday after practice, he stood near a field at Rams Park eager to press forward, not think back to the shortcomings of his franchise's fifth consecutive losing campaign. There are many more like him. Last year was tough," Mattison said. "But hopefully, you can learn from some of that stuff. We have moved on. Were focused on this year. Moving on was essential. Mattison was part of a group that allowed a league-worst 55 sacks in 2011 32 more than the Buffalo Bills, who surrendered the fewest in the NFL. A large reason for the leaks was that guard Jacob Bell (MCL) and tackles Jason Smith (concussion) and Rodger Saffold (pectoral) closed the year on injured reserve. Meantime, quarterback Sam Bradford scrambled behind the patchwork protection in their absence, often looking lost. More than once, he moved toward a tunnel after a defeat at the Edward Jones Dome to boos. More than once, he slouched near his locker dressed in full uniform, blood on his pants and his face flushed. So a year that began with NFC West title hopes the Rams last won one in 2003 ended with a laundry list of issues, in part because the offensive line was resistant as a piece of tissue paper. Yes, injuries riddled the group. Yes, the ailments explain much of St. Louis struggle to show any spark under former coordinator Josh McDaniels. Still, breaks and bruises fail to tell the complete story. The men at the line of scrimmage must take some responsibility. Make no mistake: Poor protection played a part in the Rams being held to 13 points or fewer 12 times. Bradford, who finished with 2,164 yards passing with six touchdowns and as many interceptions a year after he was named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year, had a right to be fumed as the season progressed. He had little time to establish a rhythm, and his confidence waned because of it. Others noticed. Mattison, for one, is eager to forget it all. Last year was last year, he said, and this year is this year. Same goes for sixth-year guard Harvey Dahl. Last season was his first with St. Louis after four with the Atlanta Falcons. But even with months to heal, the topic of 2011 hurts. It sucks to look back, Dahl said. But youve got to learn from it and never want to be in that situation again. Smith and Saffold never want to relive that scenario. Both watched the wreck of coach Steve Spagnuolos final season from a distance because of their injuries. Still, they know the season was difficult for anyone involved. The hardest thing for me was getting the understanding that whatever happened in my life had to happen, Smith said. Added Saffold: There were so many things going on. Sure, there were distractions during a campaign that grew more cringe-worthy by the week. But now, this far removed from Spagnuolos firing, its obvious that theres some truth to Smiths idea about living for the day. After all, theres a cleansing that comes with this time of year in the NFL. Theres renewal. For one of the leagues weakest offensive lines a year ago, training camp can mean recovery. Work is ongoing to try to make that happen. Saffold lined up at left tackle, Quinn Ojinnaka at left guard, Robert Turner at center, Dahl at right guard and Smith at right tackle as part of the top group during 11-on-11 drills Tuesday. Most slots are settled aside from the left-guard spot, and Scott Wells is expected to claim the No. 1 center position after he heals from undergoing a knee scope in the offseason. Soon, all those players will slide into their roles before the season opener against the Detroit Lions. Scars from 2011 remain, but those wounds can serve a purpose. Its one of those things you dont really focus on, Smith said of last season. If you spend too much time focusing on yesterday, youll forget about today. If you think about tomorrow, youll forget about today as well. Ive learned dont take any thought to tomorrow, because today has enough going on. Added Saffold: The guys who were here last year saw how we went downhill. We are dedicated and committed to making this a better football team. I think with everybodys help, we have tried to inspire that throughout all the offensive linemen, and now were trying to take off. We get tons of positive feedback and tons of corrections. People are making the changes. When (offensive line) coach (Paul Boudreau) tells us to do one thing, you see people at the next practice actually do it. Its huge, because to be good, you have to be coachable. You have to be able to forget too. That much, the Rams offensive line has accomplished.

Rams' Amendola puts freak injury behind him

Experiencing the play that ruined his 2011 season was plenty for Danny Amendola. The St. Louis Rams wide receiver has never watched a replay of the freak injury, saying all that matters is he's back. Amendola was Sam Bradford's go-to possession guy in 2010 with 85 receptions. He was durable, too, playing all 16 games and totaling 90 kickoff and punt returns. He didn'...

New deal for Rams' Long includes $36.75 million in likely guarantees

Rams' defensive end Chris Long's four-year contract extension, signed last week, is worth $48.2 million in new money and includes no signing bonus. However, in addition to guaranteeing his 2012 salary, Long's salaries of $13.25 million in 2013 and $13.2 million in 2014 are guaranteed. The 2014 salary is currently guaranteed for injury only, but will become fully guaranteed...

St. Louis Rams extend DE Chris Long

Chris Long was due 10.31 million in the final year of his rookie deal, after going 2nd overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. This extension adds an extra 4 years, 50 million to the existing deal to essentially make it a 5 year, 60 million dollar contract, with 37 million guaranteed. Long is one of the rare picks that panned out in St. Louis under the old regime. He doesn’t stop the run...

The Rams defensive line loaded with potential

ST. LOUIS The mission began simple enough. It was introduced, like such things tend to be, in a meeting room at Rams Park during organized team activities at a time when coach Jeff Fisher pitched his vision to a young defensive line. It was received, like such things are, with optimism and a sense that history waited to be made. The mission inspired. It began as another Fisher...

Brian Quick Awesome Catch GIF

The Rams rookie WR could be the defacto #1 WR in St Louis. Making catches like this will only help.  S/O to @lifesyourcup for the GIF. Don’t Sleep On Jeremy Maclin Brandon Marshall With Iron Mike

2012 Fantasy Football Preview: St. Louis Rams

On a map, St Louis is in the middle of the country.  In fantasy football, however, the St Louis Rams are on an island in the middle of nowhere.  The 2011 season saw quarterback Sam Bradford get banged up and stay banged up.  The wide receiver corps caught only bad breaks.  A rookie tight end struggled to find his place as an NFL presence. The only real statistical bright spot...

Can Sam Bradford Rebound?

After completing 60.0 percent (354) of his 590 attempts as a rookie for 3512 yards and 18 TDs (15 INTs) Sam Bradford had the signs of a QB1 entering his second year. Unfortunately he fell on his face last year. Can Sam Bradford bounce back in 2012?. Part of Bradford’s woes had to do with injury. His ankle gave him fits for a good portion of the year, limiting Sam to ten games...

Jeff Fisher happy with what he sees from Isaiah Pead

Getty Images St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has been very happy with what he’s seen from rookie running back  Isaiah Pead so far in training camp. “He’s just what we thought … Tremendous speed, quickness, and vision out of the backfield,” said Fisher, per Evan Silva of The Rams hope that Pead can come in and excel behind veteran Steve Jackson and...

Can St. Louis Rams’ QB Sam Bradford Rebound?

After completing 60.0 percent (354) of his 590 attempts as a rookie for 3512 yards and 18 TDs (15 INTs) Sam Bradford had the signs of a QB1 entering his second year. Unfortunately he fell on his face last year. Can Sam Bradford bounce back in 2012? Part of Bradford’s woes had to do with injury. [...] [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.