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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Nick's Notes: Scrimmage

    Saturday, August 2, 2008

    MEQUON, Wis. –

    - The Rams wrapped up their intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning under a beautiful sky with a large crowd estimated at about 2,000 in attendance. Last year’s scrimmage in St. Louis had about 1,500 people.

    - As is custom, we have a transaction to note before we get on to the activity on the field. The Rams waived/injured linebacker Vince Hall and added linebacker Marcus Riley to the roster. Riley is receivers coach Henry Ellard’s cousin and played his college ball at Fresno State. Riley is 6 foot, 220 pounds. The move became necessary as the lack of healthy legs on the depth chart at linebacker left a need for someone who could work in the scrimmage.

    - The numbers for the scrimmage were down because of precautionary measures for many of the injured players. Donnie Avery (pelvic bone), Marques Hagans (hamstring), Oshiomogho Atogwe (hamstring), Fakhir Brown (shoulder), Dan Kreider (knee), Steven Jackson (holdout), Chris Draft (back), Mark Setterstrom (knee), Anthony Becht (hamstring), Joe Klopfenstein (back) and Victor Adeyanju (broken finger) didn’t work in the scrimmage.

    - The first unit worked for about 18 snaps with quarterback Marc Bulger taking a dozen and Trent Green handling the other six. While most of Bulger’s snaps were during a run-heavy play set, Bulger looked especially sharp once again. When Bulger is on his game, it’s amazing how smooth the offense runs. He hooked up with Dane Looker and Drew Bennett for a couple of mid-range completions.

    - Speaking of Bennett, he ran a couple of crisp routes and has been better in recent days.

    - Left tackle Orlando Pace even worked in with the top unit in some live blocking drills and looked very good. Pace had no problems holding up against rookie Chris Long and then battled Adam Carriker to a stalemate on a stunt.

    - There were a few pre-snap penalties that irritated coach Scott Linehan. It’s a problem that has plagued the offense for a while but most of these issues and it’s been happening in the refereed practices also were from the defense.

    - Since the offense was limited to six plays at a time, the first touchdown had to wait until later in the practice. The Rams worked mostly situations instead of allowing a play to happen and then picking up from the spot where the play ended. So, it wasn’t until third-string quarterback competitor Bruce Gradkowski connected with Keenan Burton for a touchdown that the offense reached the end zone.

    - The only other touchdown of the day came from running back Lance Ball. Ball really has some juice and his low to the ground, one-cut style is a nice fit in this system. It’s a crowded backfield and it will be tough for Ball to land a roster spot but he could easily be a strong consideration for the practice squad or even an active spot if he can have a strong preseason.

    - The special teamers had an interesting day. Kicker Josh Brown had a perfect five-for-five showing, booting from a variety of distances and culminating in a 53-yard long. Justin Medlock tried the same kicks, missing only from 48 yards.

    - Punter Donnie Jones continues to kick the ever living stuffing out of the ball. He hit a few gorgeous punts that not only traveled long distances (one I estimated at 65 yards) but had plenty of hang time. I maintain he should have been mentioned in Pro Bowl conversations last year and the way he’s kicking right now leads me to believe that could happen again.

    - On one of Jones’ punts, returner Dante Hall mishandled the ball and Eric Bassey recovered. It was the only documented turnover of the scrimmage.

    - Last year, Quinton Culberson was the standout young linebacker in a scrimmage as he made plays all over the field. This year, two more young ‘backers showed out during Saturday’s session.

    - Undrafted rookie Marc Magro continues to surprise with his ability and versatility. One minute Magro was down the field breaking up a pass attempt. The next, he was lining up at defensive end and breaking through for what would have been a sack had quarterbacks been in play. Magro is quietly having a nice camp and a big preseason could land him a roster spot.

    - The other rookie linebacker making an impression is one we’ve discussed in this space in the past. Chris Chamberlain was running sideline to sideline making tackles and has proved again and again that he has the athleticism and ability to stick in this league.

    - The battle for the third quarterback spot took center stage when the action went live. Brock Berlin came on before Gradkowski though both played about 18 snaps. Berlin has been accurate and solid throughout camp and looks improved from a year ago. He had a few solid connections, especially with Brandon Williams.

    - Gradkowski can bring one element to the table that Berlin cannot: scrambling ability. Gradkowski showed time and again the ability to escape the pocket and pickup yards. His ability to improvise makes him intriguing but he’s not as accurate a passer as Berlin. It should be an interesting competition that will last deep into the preseason.

    - There were no big scuffles such as the one that broke out last season. Linehan and Jim Haslett playfully chided each other from the sideline and the only possible potential brawl came after the final play when Donovan Raiola and Eric Moore exchanged some words. Nothing came of it though.

    - The Rams are fired up about heading to Tennessee next week to see some different faces finally. The team has tonight and tomorrow off until 6:15 pm meetings. There is no curfew and the players can do as they please so long as they report back in time for the meetings Sunday.

    - Barring breaking news, Nick’s Notes will get some down time on Sunday as well but don’t worry we’ll be back with two more hits for you on Monday and continue rolling on from there. Be sure to send in your questions to the mailbag for answering live from Tennessee on Wednesday.


  2. #2
    dgr828's Avatar
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    Re: Nick's Notes: Scrimmage

    It's nice to hear Bulger is looking sharp in camp. This could be the year that turns out to be really special for Marc.

    I like Gradkowski as the 3rd string QB, his scrambling abilities is a different slant for a Rams signal caller.

    Orlando Pace is back, Stay healthy Big Fella!

    Rams kicking game is great!
    Last edited by dgr828; -08-02-2008 at 11:40 PM.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3
    Mooselini's Avatar
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    Re: Nick's Notes: Scrimmage

    I hope Marc has a great year this year. He's long overdue for another.

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    Re: Nick's Notes: Scrimmage

    Scrambling is nice, but accuracy is crucial.

    It's good to hear that some of the dark horses at linebacker are impressing given our depth there. A guy like Magro or Chamberlain could not only make the team but potentially wind up starting at some point if we ran into injuries. Magro's pass rushing ability sounds like the kind of thing Haslett loves with his multiple look defenses.

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