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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    The Journey Begins: Rams camp opens

    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    07/27/2004
    MACOMB, Ill. - Armed with air mattresses, extra pillows and assorted creature comforts, Rams players arrived for training camp Tuesday with a mixture of dread and delight.

    Dread for the regimen of two-a-days that begins anew this morning on the practice fields of Western Illinois University. Delight in the renewal of friendships and the anticipation of the season that lies ahead.

    "Camp is camp," linebacker Robert Thomas said. "It's the toughest thing you go through during the football season. You'd rather be at home, rather be in your own bed. But it brings us together as a team, through something that you've got to fight through together."

    "It's time," said Arlen Harris, who will try to make the switch from tailback to fullback this season. "Sitting at home, you can only work out so much. So I was ready to go."

    Harris spent part of his summer in the tropics of Aruba. Thomas went boating on Lake of the Ozarks. Defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson hopped into the family truck with his wife, daughter and niece, and headed for Christmas, Indiana.

    "It's an area where it's Christmas every day of the year," Jackson said. "We stayed at the Santa Claus Inn."

    But as of Tuesday night, the residence for 80 Rams players is the Thompson Hall dormitory, known for its frigid air conditioning and lumpy mattresses.

    "Probably the worst thing about staying up here is the beds that we have to sleep in," long snapper Chris Massey said. "Too short, too narrow, not too comfy."

    Massey made the drive from St. Louis with 67.

    "They closed some exit I usually take on 67, so that made us go nine extra miles," Gordon said. "We took out that map. But we figured it out."

    Safety Adam Archuleta made a fashion statement as he lugged his things into Thompson - he was sporting a blue and white headband.

    "I just felt like rockin' a headband today," Archuleta said, somewhat defensively.

    The Rams open practice this morning with all seven draft picks signed and on the field. Only franchise player Orlando Pace, in the midst of another contract stalemate, will be missing in action.

    "We've got an Orlando watch out - out there on the highway," coach Mike Martz joked. "When 'Big O' gets here, we'll love him to death. I understand what he's going through. I really do. It's hard for coaches. But it is what it is. We're not going to change it. Why worry about it?"

    Center Dave Wohlabaugh, still feeling the effects of offseason hip surgery, will be the player most limited in practice.

    "I think we have to be very careful with him," Martz said. "We will piecemeal him in, probably in afternoon practices with some light work. And then as the weeks go by, we'll try to improve what he can do in terms of participation."

    Right tackle Kyle Turley underwent offseason back surgery.

    "Kyle's fine," Martz said. "Kyle's injury, that's been resolved for quite some time. He looks like he's in terrific shape. He's been working out hard."

    Meanwhile, running back Marshall Faulk and safety Aeneas Williams will be limited to one practice a day - the afternoon session - as was the case at the last training camp.

    Faulk, who declined to talk to reporters Tuesday, is coming off offseason knee surgery. Williams has an ongoing turf toe problem.

    "Really, Aeneas can do probably anything," Martz said. "But we're not going to ask him to do that. Marshall could probably do a lot, but we're not going to do that."

    Defensive Leonard Little won't be limited on the field, but will be limited off the field in terms of interviews. Martz has mandated that Little be made available to the media only once a week in camp, and that he be asked football questions only. Little is facing felony charges for drunken driving.

    "I just think it's fair to Leonard that way," Martz said. "Otherwise, he'd just get hounded on some things. We've just got to make sure that everyone understands the guidelines."

    Martz also has tweaked the daily practice schedule. Morning sessions have been moved up almost an hour - starting at 8:10 a.m. Afternoon workouts have been pushed backed slightly - starting at 4 p.m.

    The idea is to give the players more time between workouts to recover. Martz also has eliminated the special teams sessions held every third day in lieu of a regular workout. The team will use that time for weight training and conditioning.

    Apparently, new special teams coach Mike Stock is highly efficient and doesn't need the extra time.

    "It's hard to explain," Martz said. "Just the structure of it, he's going to get everything covered. He said, 'I don't need this (extra time). Use this as meeting time or whatever.' "

    Then, in a not-so-subtle swipe at former special teams coach Bobby April, Martz added, "What a breath of fresh air."


    * * * * * *

    Today's schedule

    The Rams' itinerary in Macomb, Ill.

    Practices are planned for 8:10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
    Times are subject to change.
    For up-to-date information, call 1-866-726-7226.
    Practices are free and open to the public.


  2. #2
    sbramfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: The Journey Begins: Rams camp opens

    I almost forgot that our special teams was like the worst in the league and kept us from being great.

    Any change will be good. We can only go up from where we were.

    I'm happy right now just thinking about a better special teams. Hopefully one of our young corners or somebody will show up and be explosive on PR/KR's.

  3. #3
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    Re: The Journey Begins: Rams camp opens

    Football is finally here! YEEE HAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :ramlogo:
    JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS


    "HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"
    Adm. William "Bull" Halsey

  4. #4
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    Re: The Journey Begins: Rams camp opens

    Apparently, new special teams coach Mike Stock is highly efficient and doesn't need the extra time.


    I hope he is the right guy for the job, we can't get worse.

  5. #5
    RamMyrow is offline Registered User
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    Re: The Journey Begins: Rams camp opens

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos
    Apparently, new special teams coach Mike Stock is highly efficient and doesn't need the extra time.


    I hope he is the right guy for the job, we can't get worse.
    Please knock on some wood before you go to sleep tonight...thank you.

  6. #6
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    Re: The Journey Begins: Rams camp opens

    "We've got an Orlando watch out - out there on the highway," coach Mike Martz joked. "When 'Big O' gets here, we'll love him to death. I understand what he's going through. I really do. It's hard for coaches. But it is what it is. We're not going to change it. Why worry about it?"

    And fans wonder why he's so successful? Did you guys listen to that? He knows how important Big O is to this team. He's not going to slam him. Just like earlier when people were slamming Martz for what he said about Jackson, I saw it as standing up for Marshall Faulk. Players love this guy. I would. If I had earned his respect and went through some things off the field as we all do as human beings, and had Mike Martz as my HC, I would feel very comfortable walking into the locker room everyday. It's not always about saving timeouts, getting a better blend of offense, stopping the run. We only tend to look at Martz through the Warner scenario but I bet a dollar to a doughnut he wasn't the only one making that decision.

    Players love playing for Martz. I guarantee you he learned from the Carolina decision. You doubters, you have a right to feel the way you feel abouit Martz. I understand your position. However, I also see one heck of a coach in front of us in Mike Martz, and he will win the division again this year. If that isn't enough for some of you, so be it. But just remember this, when the Rams win the division this year, that will mean that the rest of the teams haven't won the division three out of five years. Arizona never has, and believe it or not neither has Seattle in the NFC West. Martz won two and will get his third this year. If that comes true, how can any of you even question him as an HC? If this is the year you judge (it is his 5th) Martz on, then Fargo you will have to admit that Martz is more than just an OC. He will win his third Division Championship in 5 years.

  7. #7
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    Re: The Journey Begins: Rams camp opens

    Man I'm pumped. Thursday and Friday, I'm in Macomb watching our Rams. This is like Christmas in July. :redface:
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  8. #8
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    Re: The Journey Begins: Rams camp opens

    I don't know Tex, I don't recall any kind words from Proehl about Martz and he's not the only one. Martz taking a pot shot at April is low-class, too. There's such a thing as taking the high road and Martz didn't take it.

  9. #9
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    Re: The Journey Begins: Rams camp opens

    Well, for every ying there's a yang I guess....

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