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Nick Wagoner: July 24 evening notes
Nick's Notes: July 24
Thursday, July 24, 2008
MEQUON, Wis. Ė
-Greetings from beautiful Mequon, Wisconsin. Everything youíve heard about the weather and the setting here is completely true. Itís absolutely gorgeous outside and I have a feeling it is like this on a regular basis. If thatís the case, the Rams shouldnít be too worried about having to sweat through practices and should be able to get plenty of work done in the next month.
-The Rams arrived in town late this afternoon with plenty of enthusiasm about their new digs. Camp officially begins tomorrow with a one a day practice in the afternoon.
-Since we are back at an offsite destination, let me give you all an idea of what the campus is like here and what the digs are for the team. First, they have all players, coaches and staff in a dorm at the edge of campus, not far from the practice fields. That dorm overlooks Lake Michigan on one side and steers back to the campus on the other.
-As for the rooms, since the dorm has never been occupied, everything is brand new. When you walk in, you find yourself in a common room with a 37-inch flat screen HD television and a couple of small couches. Each room has four ďbedroomsĒ that will certainly be occupied by four students when school is in session. But for Rams purposes, itís two people to a room in most cases. That allows each person the use of two rooms with the extra rooms set aside as an additional workspace. So, using myself as an example, I have a workspace in the work room near the practices field and an additional office space in my room. Each room also comes equipped with a small refrigerator and freezer and a microwave. The bathroom is separate from the shower room. Needless to say, itís a wonderful setup and a far cry from the community bathrooms and restricted confines of Macomb.
-While Mequon isnít far from Milwaukee, it certainly has that small town feel that you arenít that close to any kind of booming metropolis. The beauty of it is for those of you who come up, you can completely get away and enjoy some football in a beautiful setting then make a short drive to a city with plenty of activities.
-On to some business matters. Receiver Donnie Avery has not agreed to a contract and did not arrive in Mequon on Thursday afternoon. The Rams and coach Scott Linehan have no concerns that he will be in camp on time, which technically is 9:15 on Friday morning, when the teamís first meeting commences.
-Others who were not on the team plane include running back Steven Jackson, tight end Anthony Becht and receiver Dante Hall. Becht arrived by care just before the team plane arrived. Jackson and Hall had both made alternate plans for arrival. While Jacksonís absence could be a concern on the surface because of his desire for a contract extension, Linehan said the Rams and Jacksonís representatives have had dialogue and didnít expect it to be an issue. Hall is also expected to arrive later.
-One other note of importance, left tackle Orlando Pace has NOT been placed on the physically unable to perform list. While those four words might describe his status for the first week or so of camp, he has not been placed on the official list. Pace will likely do some light work in the first week or so before settling in to his normal spot on the left side.
-Claude Wrotenís year-long suspension is just the latest mistake in a young career thatís had plenty of them. Wrotenís absence doesnít create a huge void because he was down on the depth chart anyway, but it does create an opportunity for a young player to perhaps make an impression and potentially land a roster spot.
-A quick glance at the three young defensive tackles (all undrafted free agents) who will be hoping to talk the coaching staff into keeping a fourth defensive tackle (LaíRoi Glover, Adam Carriker and Clifton Ryan are givens).
-Josh Thompson is an undrafted free agent from Auburn. Thompson was a productive college player, producing 67 tackles as a senior. Thompson isnít the prototype tackle as he is built like a tree stump. But playing defensive tackle is about leverage and getting lower than the man blocking you. Thompson has that ability but will have to show some athleticism and refine his technique to have a shot.
-Vernon Bryant had 100 career tackles and 11 sacks for Hampton. Bryant has good size at 6í2, 289 pounds and some raw athleticism. If he can turn that into production, he too could have a chance.
-Willie Williams, out of Louisville is the biggest of the trio, checking in at 6í4, 305 pounds. He had 31 tackles and a pair of sacks as a senior but he too is raw and unrefined. He looks impressive in pads but needs plenty of work on technique and conditioning.
-Ultimately, the Rams could easily keep just seven defensive linemen with Victor Adeyanju sliding between end and tackle depending on the down. Quietly, the coaching staff believes this could be a breakout season for Adeyanju. He had a terrific offseason, adding weight to his frame and learning some of the nuances of both positions. Heís certainly a player to keep an eye on as camp progresses.
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