Since he hasn't thrown a pass in an NFL regular-season game since 2012, St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill is cool enough to have a little fun at his own expense.
On Wednesday, the Rams' starting quarterback pronounced himself "As fresh as a 34-year-old could be, I guess. I feel great."
Hill was thrust into the starter's role because of Sam Bradford's second ACL injury in nine months, an injury that left the franchise in a bind at quarterback for the second year in a row.
Enter the 34-year-old Hill, who has 26 NFL starts since breaking into the league in 2007 with San Francisco. He did not throw a pass last season with Detroit and has attempted only 16 in the past three seasons.
Sunday will mark his first shot at extensive playing time since he took over for injured Detroit starter Matthew Stafford in the 2010 season opener.
"In 2010 the starter went down at the end of the first half of Game 1, then you're kind of thrown in without the preparation," said Hill, who has been working with the Rams' starting unit ever since Bradford's injury. "That's one difference, obviously this is a different team, too, I'm a different player now.
"There's a lot of differences this year."
The Rams held Hill out of the final preseason game against Miami. Now the former University of Maryland quarterback is preparing to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
"It's a matter of reps; he's taken all the reps since we got back in Cleveland so he's got a good feel," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday. "Obviously we didn't play him in the final preseason game, but he took the majority of the practice reps. He's got a good feel for what he's doing.
"He had a good day today."
Hill has been throwing to the same receivers throughout the preseason, so that hasn't changed. But while he was doing it before in the shadow of Bradford, now Hill is back in a starter's role and hoping to prove he belongs.
Former Rams backup Kellen Clemens got the call last season after Bradford went down with a knee injury Oct. 20, going 4-5 in the final nine games.
The backups this seaso are Austin Davis -- who had an impressive preseason -- and Case Keenum, who was claimed on waivers Monday after being let go by Houston.
"I've said this plenty of times, but I've always tried to take that same mindset as if I was going to be playing," Hill said. "That's the only way I knew how to prepare, so the mindset hasn't had to change, really.
"This extra time we've had in the last week, week and a half has been really good. We've got a lot of work done, so it's been very beneficial for us."
Even before Bradford's injury, Fisher spoke about the Rams' wanting to be more of a ball-control team that could pound out yardage on the ground and rely on defense and field position.
That shouldn't change with Miller at the controls.
Miller was asked about the NFL's evolution into a predominantly passing league.
"I don't know if that's completely accurate," he said. "There's still a lot of teams that run the ball and now (the) option's coming back in. Everything has it's evolution I guess.
"I guess the most important thing about being a quarterback in the NFL is being the same guy every day, just being consistent, and playing with timing. Being able to anticipate the open holes, trusting your guys and being on the same page with all of them."
This will be Hill's second career opening day start and the first since 2009 with the 49ers.
"That is very exciting and it's certainly added fuel to the fire for me," Hill said. "I'm just like everybody, optimistic about the season and just very excited to get it going."
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wasn't about to downplay Hill's ability during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.
"I think he does a good job of getting the ball out in the right place," Zimmer said. "He sees the coverages well and I think he's accurate as far as going where he needs to go. I don't know if it makes it any more difficult or any more harder either way just because you play some different guys all the time.
"Sure it'd be better if we played him a couple times, but the offense is different in St. Louis than it was in San Francisco or Detroit anyway."