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Here We Go: Rams Camp Begins With First Full-Squad Practice
Here we go: Rams camp begins with first full-squad practice
13 hours ago • By Jim Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org 314-340-8197
A year ago, Jeff Fisher made it crystal clear that he conceded nothing when it came to expectations for the Rams. In his mind if your goal is 10-6, that means you’re conceding six games.
The approach remains unchanged for 2013, but as Fisher begins his second training camp in St. Louis, he’s much more shortsighted. When asked if the playoffs were a realistic goal, he replied: “You know what? Our goal from this training camp is to get ready for the opener.”
Hey, it’s still July. The Rams are 6˝ weeks from the Sept. 8 opener against Arizona and two weeks removed from even the preseason opener in Cleveland. Even so, it all begins today with a 3:30 p.m. full-squad practice at Rams Park. Admission is free and practice is open to the public.
“I’m really excited,” Fisher said. “I’ve been excited all offseason for this year’s team and the future of this team. These young guys, they’re talented. I think we’ve got a much faster team. We’ve got talent in some areas where we can really be competitive.”
Overall, it has been a placid offseason. The Rams haven’t had their defensive coordinator yanked out from under them as was the case last year with the Gregg Williams suspension. Fisher made only a couple of coaching staff changes. There was only one off-field incident, a DUI charge against cornerback Trumaine Johnson. All things considered, it was about as normal an offseason as one could expect. Almost abnormally normal.
But there are always bumps along the road. Fourth-round draft pick Barrett Jones, a center and guard, begins training camp on the non-football injury list as he completes rehab from a foot injury.
A couple of veterans, tight end Lance Kendricks (knee) and defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo (foot) — as well as second-year safety Matt Daniels (knee) — begin camp on the active physically unable to perform, or PUP list, as they continue their recoveries from injury.
According to league and team sources, Cudjo may only miss a week or so of camp. However, Kendricks could miss a couple of preseason games, meaning it may be three weeks or so before he’s on the field.
On Wednesday, as the veterans reported and the team spent much of the day in meetings, the Rams released offensive guard Rokevious Watkins, a fifth-round draft pick in 2012. Once considered a potential starter, Watkins reported considerably overweight for the second season in a row.
So there are already are a couple of dents in the depth chart and a spot to fill on the 90-man roster. Such is the way of the world in the NFL. Everyone else has reported as expected, and everyone else passed conditioning tests and is in good shape.
There are no contract concerns. The Rams’ entire rookie class signed in mid-June as the spring OTAs ended.
“I’ve never really concerned myself — even prior to the new collective bargaining agreement — about getting the first-rounders into camp,” Fisher said. “Because it’s going to happen eventually. But this certainly makes it easier.
“The injury rate’s much higher after long holdouts because there’s frustration associated with the business side of the deal, and it’s not getting done. And inevitably there’s going to be an injury. This significantly helps from that standpoint.”
For his part, Fisher looks tanned and rested after spending most of his down time fishing in Montana, where he has a “getaway” place.
With less player turnover this season, and the same offensive and defensive systems in place, there is a shred of much-needed continuity at Rams Park, something rarely seen over the tumultuous lost decade that preceded Fisher’s hiring.
“I think everybody knows the systems, No. 1,” Fisher said. “There’s familiarity, there’s youth, there’s enthusiasm, and guys are serious. They’re dead serious. When you’ve got this many veterans that stay in town through the summer, and guys that want to come in the building a couple days early, it shows how important it is to them.”
Fisher said “at least a couple dozen” veterans stayed in St. Louis basically throughout the offseason.
“Now there are weekends off, but guys just decided to stay and work,” he said.
As for the training camp schedule and structure, a lot of what head coaches and teams are allowed to do is dictated by the new labor agreement. But Fisher always tweaks his setup depending on the team and the particular circumstances of each season.
“When we schedule training camp, I just don’t cross out 2012 and put 13 down,” Fisher said. “I do it new every year based on what the perceived needs are of the football team, and then we go from there.”
One change this year, for example, is that veterans with four or more years of NFL experience are not required to stay in the team hotel during camp.
“That’s a good deal unless you were a wife hoping to get rid of your husband,” Fisher quipped. “But it just works out, it’s business-like.”
And for the Rams, the business of football begins in earnest today.
-07-25-2013 #2Registered User
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Re: Here We Go: Rams Camp Begins With First Full-Squad Practice
wow, Rok showed up hugely overweight again?! surprised he blew his second chance.
Credit the FO for sticking to its guns. Hoping Barrett Jones heals fast and firmly.
Re: Here We Go: Rams Camp Begins With First Full-Squad Practice“I think everybody knows the systems, No. 1,” Fisher said. “There’s familiarity, there’s youth, there’s enthusiasm, and guys are serious. They’re dead serious. When you’ve got this many veterans that stay in town through the summer, and guys that want to come in the building a couple days early, it shows how important it is to them.”
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