By Jim Thomas
Saturday, Aug. 04 2007

For Rams wide receiver Drew Bennett, his first NFL scrimmage was a
career-changing experience. Undrafted out of UCLA after spending much of his
college career at quarterback, Bennett was way down on the Tennessee Titans'
depth chart at receiver when the club held its first preseason scrimmage.

"It just so happened that three or four people got hurt, so I ended up starting
the scrimmage," Bennett said. "I had four or five big catches, and that was
really the jump start of my whole career."

Based on that work, Titans coaches told him he would play the entire fourth
quarter of their preseason opener the following week.

"I had like six catches in the fourth quarter of the first preseason game, and
it just kind of snowballed from there," Bennett said. "I ended up making the
team, and here I am."

A $30 million receiver signed by the Rams during free agency in March.

"Who knows what would've happened if I hadn't gotten in that scrimmage?"
Bennett said.

Bennett's scrimmage work as a rookie in 2001 came against another team —
Indianapolis. The Rams will scrimmage amongst themselves, starting at 10 a.m.
today at Rams Park. There will be little or no full-contact work for Bennett
and the rest of the Rams regulars.

"We feel pretty comfortable with the proven players," coach Scott Linehan said.
"We understand what they're going to do."

So the starters will do some "team" work in a controlled environment. But once
the second- and third-team units take the field, it will be live football
except for hits on the quarterback (which are forbidden).

"It'll be scrimmage tempo, blocking and tackling," Linehan said. "And see, when
you turn the lights on, who shows up. ... When we get into that second and
third group, those are the guys we are really evaluating."

Backups such as linebacker Quinton Culberson, wide receiver Dominique Thompson
and safety Jeffrey Dukes have all had their bright moments on the practice
field during the first eight days of training camp. They can help their cause
even more with a strong showing in today's scrimmage, which is free and open to
the public.

Who knows, there may be another Drew Bennett in the making.