EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Training camps around the league either are already underway or will be before the end of the week. The St. Louis Rams officially get underway on Friday.
In the days leading up to the start of camp, we'll take a look at 10 burning questions facing the Rams as they head toward the 2015 season.
No. 10: How will new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. get his group to come together in his first training camp on the job?
Cignetti has no shortage of experience as an offensive coordinator. He did it for many years at the college level, but this is his first bite of the NFL apple, which represents a big change for the team's former quarterbacks coach.
Although Cignetti hasn't been on the job long, he earned positive reviews from the offensive players in the spring.
"He’s getting everybody in position to use their talents to the best of their ability,” receiver Kenny Britt said. “And that’s something that we needed. Each one has so many different skill abilities. He’s putting it to use this season.”
There will be plenty of eyes on Cignetti as camp begins and the season approaches. Former coordinator Brian Schottenheimer can attest to the scrutiny that comes with calling the offense. He left to take the same job at the University of Georgia, which created the opening for Cignetti.
Cignetti's task is made even more difficult by the fact that he's dealing with an offense that has more moving parts than any group Schottenheimer dealt with in his time in St. Louis. The Rams figure to have three new starters on the offensive line, a new starting quarterback and a new starting running back. His primary job will be revving up a running game that's been just average under coach Jeff Fisher since 2012, but he's also being asked to get the most out of former No. 8 overall pick Tavon Austin.
Beyond the changing personnel, Cignetti also appears to be adding some new wrinkles. In the spring, his players talked about the addition of more zone blocking concepts and an added emphasis on getting the ball out quickly in the passing game. With all of those things to deal with, it stands to reason the Rams offense will have its share of growing pains and take some time to get going once the season starts.
Getting off to a fast start is part of the reason why the Rams are training for a couple of days with the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, Calif. The added reps against another team and the likelihood that the starters will play more in preseason games should help expedite the process. That could be a good thing because the Rams simply don't have much time to wait.