Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is staring up at a mountain. He has inherited a team with a litany of problems, and Fisher has countless new faces — including 10 draft picks — that he’s counting on to help improve a 2-14 football team from a year ago.
Add one problem to the list: Three of Fisher’s prized rookies will not be attending the full OTAs that started Tuesday and run intermittently over the next week.
Second-round WR Brian Quick, second-round RB Isaiah Pead and fourth-round WR Chris Givens all are missing from practice. They instead are attending the NFLPA’s Rookie Premiere weekend out in Los Angeles.
Fisher was not wild about the proposition when asked about it Wednesday.
"They're out in Southern California. It's mandated by the league that they go out there,” Fisher told reporters. "Unfortunately, they're missing some quality work."
The event, put on by the NFLPA and presented by Nike, brings together 35 of the top draft picks from the 2012 class. The players take part in a series of community events on Thursday, they compete in a flag football game this Friday, and on Saturday the players are photographed in their new teams' uniforms for the first time. The pictures are used by trading-card companies for Panini American and Topps for their 2012 collections.
The Rams happen to be one of the teams with three players attending, and Fisher appeared peeved that he is losing man-hours to the event.
"Really great timing," he said.
Fisher is not the only one whose team is affected by this scheduling conflict. Four other teams have OTAs scheduled during at least part of the event, including the Colts, Jaguars, Raiders and Buccaneers. The irony is that four of those five teams finished with among the seven-worst records in the NFL last season.
Players who could miss time because of the NFLPA event, which runs through May 20, include Colts QB Andrew Luck, Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon, Buccaneers RB Doug Martin, Colts TEs Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen and Colts WR T.Y. Hilton, along with Quick, Pead and Givens.
The Colts, Jaguars and Raiders all conclude their minicamps on Thursday. But the Rams and Buccaneers have sessions scheduled through May 18.
The NFLPA, which runs the event, was contacted for comment but did not immediately return a call.