Before I post the chat transcript, let me brag - Samantha Wilson, my little girl, submitted one of this week's questions! Now EVERYONE knows she has great taste because she's a Rams fan!

Nick's Mailbag,

James is in a defensive meeting. He'll be with us shortly.
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MLB James Laurinaitis,

What's up Rams fans? You excited for some football? I know I am. Let's get it goin'. Ameren UE have given you an opportunity to win some free tickets throughout the season. Look above for the details.

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Michael, Cincinnati

1:00 PM CT

How do you think the fact that all of the starting linebackers having the same background at Ohio State will help the cohesion of the defense?

MLB James Laurinaitis,

I think the fact that only two of us played together, I know the player he is, but working with Diggs has helped. We still needed the reps to get together. I think there's a brotherhood outside of football from going to the same university but you still have to build the relationship with the other guys. But I think our cohesiveness is pretty good right now and we'll see how it does on Sunday.

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Joe O`Donnell, Woodbury NJ

1:02 PM CT

How healthy is the defense right now?

MLB James Laurinaitis,

We're pretty healthy. We are looking pretty good. Whatever you see on the injury report is right. We are pretty healthy and fresh and ready to play some ball.

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Justice, Bakersfield, CA

1:02 PM CT

James, Do you feel that having a year under your belt and another offseason has helped give you a better grasp of the defense and how to work together better as a unit when opposing offenses are trying to exploit you?

MLB James Laurinaitis,

Yes, absolutely. Where I am now and where I was a year ago is like night and day for me mentally for what is expected and what I'm supposed to be doing. As far as the defense, I think we have a good grasp of what we are trying to accomplish. The communication is much better and when you have that you can think and not just react.

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fred woolf, boise id

1:04 PM CT

Ram fan since '67, longer than my wife has been alive. You've been doing a great job James! My queston is, the first string defense has done a great job this pre-season. Do you think you can maintain the stamia of that calibre, for four quarters. Good luck, keep up the great work, and make a stick for me! Thanks Fred

MLB James Laurinaitis,

We have talked about it. The defense has done some extra conditioning to make sure we can go the full 60 minutes. We know we had limited snaps the final two preseason games. nobody knows, we'll have to go out there and see.

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Cory, Wentzville Mo

1:05 PM CT

James, I don't know what the vibe is in the locker room. But the fan base is believing in the St.Louis Rams for the first time in a long time. I personally am more excited about this season opener than I have been since 2000. As players I hope you guys know that we are 100% behind you all. It is a great time to be a St.Louis Ram

MLB James Laurinaitis,

Thank you for that. it's very encouraging to know that Ram nation is coming back around. I take a lot of pride in being part of this organization and I hope we can keep that optimism and increase it for as long as I am here.

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Mark , Des Moines,Iowa

1:06 PM CT

What do you see different in this years defense compared to last seasons?

MLB James Laurinaitis,

i think the overall communication and knowledge of the defense is different. When you know the adjustments and checks like the back of your hand you can react faster. That's more important than the physical part of the game, all being on the same page.

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Dave, Hayward, WI

1:07 PM CT

Hey James, I've always been a big fan of your dad's, and now I'm a huge fan of yours. Just wondering, any kind of rituals or a playlist you listen to to get you pumped up before a game? Go Rams!

MLB James Laurinaitis,

I am completely random with my music. Usually on Sundays I start in the morning with contemporary Christian music, get my worship in. Then I crank up to anything from rock to rap to pop. It's whatever I'm in the mood for and just keep pushing next til it's something I want to hear.

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Michael, Iowa City

1:08 PM CT

Does it feel weird that you've become a leader of the defense after only 1 season? What do you do with your time off in offseason and during the season?

MLB James Laurinaitis,

No because I kind of cherish this role. I was in this role in high school and college so it comes natural. But I do think I am way more comfortable in year 2 than I was in year 1 because it's hard to tell 10 year vets what to do as a rookie. Hopefully I earned the respect of guys in the locker room with my actions on the field last year.

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Cory Finch, Cornfield county Missouri

1:09 PM CT

Hey James! You're a stud dude. Im loving the ohio state line backers we have goin on.. Anyways my question is what are some of the different things you and all of the other Rams players do to try and stay healthy throughout the grueling Nfl season? It seems like the Rams are always getting bitten pretty bad by the injury bug.. Hopefully not this year.. There is something special going on this year.. Play your heart out and lead that DEFENSE!! GO RAMS!!!!

MLB James Laurinaitis,

Cold tub, massage, steam room, cold tub again, stretching, foam rollers, cold tub again. It's a constant cycle of anything and everything to make your body loosen up and feel better. You have to be consistent about it. if you stop for one day, your body will feel it.

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Jesse Acfalle, GUAM

1:10 PM CT

Hafa Adai James from the island of Guam. Now that its you 2nd year and uderstanding the defense even better, does the game seems slower? And do you think the defense put more pressure on QB? Thank you for your time and GO RAMS

MLB James Laurinaitis,

it does. I think a lot of just seeing formations, seeing plays happen, my footwork has gotten better. I think it's just natural and hopefully the more I play this year it will get even slower. I think it's definitely slower as I go on.

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samantha wilson, age 10, springfield, MO

1:12 PM CT

With the addition of Sam Bradford and the other new faces, do you think this is the beginning of a new era for the Rams in St. Louis?

MLB James Laurinaitis,

I think so. I think we have pieces in place that hopefully this franchise can depend on and be excited about. The veterans we have are a part of that. Coach has brought in some guys who will hopefully be here for a long time.

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Josh Wehrle, Columbus OH

1:12 PM CT

What aspect of your game do you feel that you need to most improve upon?

MLB James Laurinaitis,


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Justice, Bakersfield,CA

1:13 PM CT

James, Both you and safety OJ Atogwe, who is also a defensive leader seem to be men of faith. Does this help at all when you are on the football field together in helping create a bond and a trust. I have also noticed faith is an important part of Coach Spagnuolo's life. Just wondering if this plays into the team concept and bond at all or if it is just a personal facet.

MLB James Laurinaitis,

Absolutely. I think faith especially for me is my first priority. My identity is in Jesus. I think OJ is a huge role model for me. Coming in as a rookie, I wanted someone I could model after and I think OJ is the epitome of that. Coach makes his faith known to the team and it's something that is definitely a bond for us. I definitely use it on the field. All this football stuff is not permanent, it's just a temporary gift from God so I try to use the platform it has given me to speak his word.

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Mikey B, Pennsylvania

1:15 PM CT

Out of some of the younger guys, who has really stepped up as leaders, besides yourself of course.

MLB James Laurinaitis,

I think Dominique Curry is a guy who on special teams really impressed me throughout camp. When he's active look out for him on special teams. I think Eugene Sims and George Selvie have a lot of skill. we'll see if it translates for pass rushing. One guy I am excited about is Danario Alexander if he can come back at 100 percent. You can see the explosion and potential he has.

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Nathan Dailey, Oshkosh, WI

1:17 PM CT

Hey James hope all is well I was Just wondering what you think Ohio States chances are against Miami this weekend are and what kind of season do you want to have individually this year.

MLB James Laurinaitis,

100 percent confident in my Buckeyes. At Ohio State, Coach Tressel always tells us we are measured by the black and white photos. We have won plenty of Big 10 championships, that's expected there but you are measured by the national championships.

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Jeremy, Hemet, CA

1:18 PM CT

The team seems to play hard for Coach Spags even last year when the season was a lost cause, is Coach a natural leader the men respect or is it just a reflection of the character of the team in general not so much a statement on the coaching staff?

MLB James Laurinaitis,

I think Coach is a natural leader. I think coach knows how to get the best out of guys. It also reflects the men of character he brings into the Rams. The men here have great pride in what we do and great character and that's also what coach is looking for and why he brings those guys in here.

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MLB James Laurinaitis,

Goodbye Rams fans. Thanks for the questions. I wish I could stay longer. I have to go watch some more Arizona game film. Peace and love to all of you.