“The logistics of moving, obviously, a franchise from one city to another is a lot. But there’s a team in place -- a very competent team -- that’s handling a lot of that,” general manager Les Senad said at the NFL Combine last week. “So it’s allowed us, in personnel and the coaches, to continue doing the same things you’d normally do.”
But with players scattered all over the country for the offseason, distributing information can be that much more of a challenge.
“What you do, is you go through that step-by-step process,” head coach Jeff Fisher said at the Combine. “Form my standpoint, my job is to keep in mind the players’ needs because 31 other teams right now in the league are staying put, and they’re going through an offseason program, and there’s stability there. And so it’s, how quickly can we bring stability from a player perspective into this offseason program -- because we’re going to kick the season off like everybody else and we potentially will have made a couple moves during this offseason.”
“The meeting itself is player only,” Fisher said. “The players are welcome to bring their families. It’s a weekend for them in L.A. We spent time with the management council. They’ll be represented, the players’ association will be represented. We just want to give them information.”
Given the parameters of the collective bargaining agreement, the Rams asked for and were granted special permission to hold the meeting. Fisher said the club explained the importance of having it to the respective parties.
“We talked both with the players’ association and the management council and basically said, ‘We need to have this meeting,’” Fisher said. “They were flexible with us. They understand the need for it. So they’ll both be present at the meeting.”
As for the information itself, the head coach said the team hopes to be able to tell the players not only where training camp will be, but also where the team will set up its temporary facility in the Los Angeles area.
“And by temporary, we mean potentially two-and-a-half years. So [we want to] make a recommendation from a housing standpoint,” Fisher said. “Let them know traffic patterns and travel and things like that, because 22- and 23-year-old athletes need to get to work on time. … Don’t try to commute from Newport through L.A. to the West San Fernando Valley, for example.
One advantage the Rams do have with the significant undertaking of the move is Fisher has been through the process before with the Titans.
“I learned that the most important thing is to put yourself in the players’ shoes. That’s what you have to do,” Fisher said. “You also learn that eventually, things are going to settle down. But the most important thing is, players have to understand, we’re going to play games. And we’ve got to take care of the players and look at it from their perspective.”
Fisher added that team owner, E. Stanley Kroenke, has done a nice job of doing just that.
“Stan understands the importance of taking care of the players and he’s putting them first right now,” Fisher said. “So the business side, and the stadium -- all of those other things are moving on. But what’s important to us is making sure the players are in a position to where, one, they can continue rehabbing. Two, they can get better and train and get ready, and have a stable OTAs period and do those kinds of things before you go off to camp.”