Coach Scott Linehan
August 3, 2006

(Opening statement) “Well, we got the practice in. We didn’t know if we were going to have to move in. They said there was a chance of storms but it turned out to be a pretty nice day. It was warm when we came out. We actually got a breeze and we were able to get a lot of things done. I thought the defense had a real good day. I thought the offense was sloppy. We can’t allow that to happen. We just didn’t finish very good, it was decent. We made some progress, got some new things in, worked on some situational football but we just got to be more focused on the details, especially on the offensive side of the ball. We’re going to work real hard at getting that corrected.”

(On why the offense ran after practice) “Sometimes you’ve just got to remind yourself that if we don’t pay attention to little things, big things can’t happen. I think that’s one of the things that really challenges you as a team when you start getting weary, start getting tired. You forget the little things that are important.”

(On adjusting the schedule tomorrow because of Saturday’s practice) “No, we’ll have two practices. The [Friday] night practice we’ll be practicing in shells, which is soft pads. Work a little seven-on-seven and mostly kicking game. Then on the scrimmage Saturday we’ll focus primarily with the first unit in a controlled scrimmage environment, ones-on-ones, work some run game, maybe a little red zone. Then we’ll scrimmage selected ones and twos and threes in a move-the-ball setting on Saturday morning.”

(On having officials at practice) “It reminds them, hey, get up on the ball. Keep your hands inside, you know all thing things that as you go through it, you can get a little sloppy because the officials aren’t watching that. We coach it, but they see things that they’re emphasizing. They start to be reminded of the presnap alignment things that they’re emphasizing, little flinches in the line, all those kinds of things you don’t want to have. For the most part we’re getting better there. We just had a couple instances of pre-snap penalties. You can’t have that. That’s the kind of thing that, you start moving backwards before you ever get the ball in your hands, you’re behind the eight ball, so we’ve got to work hard at not having those.”

(On how Ron Bartell’s ankle injury) “He’s got a sprain, and how serious is it, I don’t know. Right now all indications it’s a sprain.”

(On the plan with RB Moe Williams) “He’s got to condition while we practice. He took a lot of show team reps. He’ll get more reps as we go. You don’t want a guy that hasn’t been through an offseason program or through 10, 11 practices to go in right away, full speed and live tackle drills. We’ll go as we go. You’ve always got to pull Moe out of that environment and you’ve got to control that and be smart with him. It’ll be more conditioning right now, and then we’ll start putting him in on more contact drills.”

(On how Williams seemed to move at practice) “He seemed to move good. It looked like he has been obviously working and getting in shape but I think the biggest thing right now is, 32 years old, were smart with him and really work his conditioning more than anything right now.”

(On DE Leonard Little’s condition after the flu) “I thought Leonard looked good. He had energy. He looked like the same old Leonard out there. I saw him this morning and he felt much better. I think he had five bags of IV over a two day period there to replace the fluids. He seemed to be back to almost 100 percent.”

(On if Leonard lost weight) “He lost a little, but he’s put it back on with being able to eat and hydrating himself. He’s pretty close to his playing weight.”

(On how close the team is to being game ready) “We can play a game. We’re ready, we’ve worked all situations. Our guys are really in good shape. It’s all a process, and we know, even though they’re preseason games, they are games, and we’re playing to win them, but we’re going to need every one of them to get ourselves ready for the opener. We’re at the point now where I think a scrimmage will be a good indication of how we tackle defensively, how we secure the ball offensively, and play smart football. All those things will be indicitave in the next scrimmage and upcoming pre-season games.”

(On LB Drew Wahlroos coming off of an injury) “I think it’s a broken wrist or hand. I’ve got to go in and find out exactly what it is but apparently there’s a break there so we’ve got to find out the seriousness of that and when he can come back.”

(On the importance of CB Ron Bartell’s return) “He’s working safety right now so, injuries are an unfortunate part of the business, but he’ll be okay. He’ll get back out there as soon as he’s ready. It just depends how severe it is. There’s different degrees of ankle sprains. I don’t know the degree we have with that right now.”

(On how Bartell has done at safety) “He’s been doing a good job. It’s not an easy transition. You can ask [S] Corey Chavous that. Corey played corner most of his career, especially at college, at Arizona. Then we brought him to Minnesota he certainly went through some adjustments there, and was a veteran, where Ronnie’s [Bartell] still pretty green. He’s one of those guys who’s learned how to work and he’s really grasping everything. I just think it takes more than just this one training camp to totally get it, but I he’s getting there.”

(On if WR Shaun McDonald is fighting for a position) “No, Shaun McDonald’s had a really good camp, especially of late. I think he really showed to me in today’s practice with the receiver core. He made some really nice catches. He’s a different type of receiver than the other guys. He’s more of a slot type receiver. He can play outside, he does a good job there because he’s got speed. He has that initial body quickness that it takes to beat safeties and linebackers with those in and out moves and quick feet. He has range. I think he’s really done a nice job there. In the return game, we’ve really been throwing it more than anything. You kind of find out who your returns are when the live bullets step the line.”

(On being where he thought the team would be at this point in camp) “I think we’re right on course. I’m very happy with the progress of our entire time. It’s like I said to the team, one group’s going to get the better of the other group every time we run a play or run a drill, that’s the way games are. Offense is better than defense sometimes it’s the other way around. The biggest thing that we need to do as a team is fight for better consistency, have less lapses. I think we’ve been really making a lot of progress on both sides of the ball. I think the offense had a great practice last night and the defense played much better than the offense today, but that’s the way it is and it’s great because it challenges your competitiveness and gives you motivation to come out and do better the next time around.”

(On the importance of the players playing well during Saturday’s scrimmage) “I think in the competitive situations we provide for them, practices or scrimmages, they’re always being evaluated. Scrimmages are different because you’re tackling, you’re hitting your fists defensively. Offensively you’re finishing off plays because the play’s not over until the whistle blows. I think you find out what kind of shape you’re in and I think we’re in very good shape. It’s an ongoing evaluation. We’re really focused in on the task at hand and we’re focused on now and tomorrow morning’s practice. We know that’s part of the plan to get to the scrimmage on Saturday, but we’ve got a lot a lot of work to do, getting ready for that day. We’ve still got two practices left.”

(On having a short break this morning with the team) “More than anything, it was therapy for the mind, to go get in the pool a little bit, and it’s also good for your legs to get in the water. We got the cold tubs here, but it’s not the same as getting in the swimming pool for a little bit. We were there for about 45 minutes. We went down a couple of slides, that was interesting. When I saw a human chain going down the slides I was a little nervous they didn’t dog pile each other, make sure everyone came up when they went down in the water. It was a change of pace. We just postponed the meetings to this afternoon and really limited our installation for today and I think it was good for the mental health of the guys.”

(On if P Andy Groom has done anything to catch his eye) “I think so. He’s got a big leg. He’s the same as what I’ve been talking about. Developing consistency is the key. He can come out one day and really hit it and other days not hit it as well. I think young guys do that in every position, he’s no different than any of the rest. He’s certainly got the leg strength to do it.”

(On the team not knowing where they were going) “We had buses out here. Everybody got a good lift in this morning and we just told them we had a walk-through at an undisclosed site and we ended up going over there for a little bit. Just a little change of pace, we were gone for about an hour and ready to go to work again.”

(On if the coaches had free time as well) “No, coaches actually stayed here and got caught up on scripts and did a little game planning, kinda getting ready a little ahead for the next couple of practices. We got a game here in a week so we’ve got to sneak in the time when you can to get ready for planning the next week.”

RB Moe Williams

“I went back to Vail, Colorado, saw Dr. Stedman, and got cleared up there before I came back here."

(On the need to ease back into the routine of practicing on a daily basis) “I expressed that to Coach Linehan and he knew basically where we were going to try to be and just try to make it to a game and get in healthy. They’ve been great with me.”

(On when he’ll be 100%) “I take every play 100%. If anybody knows me from the past, I live and die like every play is the last. I’ve prided my career on that. Hey, it’s [my knee] got to be 100% mentally. It’s good to go.”

(On being back out on the field) “It was [good] just to get that initial thought out of your mind about if it’s going to hold up. I’ve been running, and running on concrete at home. I’ve had a pretty good idea and I expressed that to Coach Linehan when I came in. We’ve been through a lot together, Coach Linehan and I. I wasn’t going to lie to him and wasn’t going to play games.”

(On reuniting with Linehan being the best thing for him) “It is. It’s my 11th year and I’ve been in the same system with a little bit of different terminology for 11 years. I come in and that part of the stress is gone.”

(On going from unemployment to competing for the backup RB position) “I respect the guys that are here. First and foremost I’m just going to try to make the team respect the guys that are on the team.”

(On playing for Linehan, then an offensive coordinator in Minnesota) “He was a bear. He didn’t accept mistakes, just like today. I don’t know if you saw that, but we had a little of extra running afterwards.”

(On considering retirement last spring) “No, I didn’t strongly consider it, it’s just the reality of it. You get going into your 11th year and your body doesn’t have the same idea as your mind. When it came time, I felt great. I was mentally healthy even when I wasn’t physically healthy, so I decided to give it another try.”

(On having a fresh start, in particular off the field) “It is [nice]. Everybody’s been in situations and I think the biggest thing is that unfortunately, with what we do, things get blown out of proportion a little bit. But hey, that’s life. You’ve got to take the good with the bad.”

(On the status of his community service) “Yeah [it’s close to being finished]. I’ve got to get it done.”

(On his impressions of the team, in particular it’s offensive potential) “I personally think it can be like [it used to be]. I’ve been in the league a long time. I’ve seen the Rams when they where the Rams of the past and Scott Linehan has that type of attitude. I think he can bring it back.”

(On whether or not he thinks he can return to his 2003 form) “Mentally, it’s not a problem. Physically, I’m going to do what my body allows. My biggest thing is that I believe when you talk, you’ve got to back it up. Mentally, I can back up every word I say. Physically, I hope my body holds up.”

(On how he’d describe his style of play) “I was always taught in high school that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, which is probably the reason my body feels like it does right now. I don’t try to do much dodging, but it’s paid off for me. I’ve gotten short yardage back roles and third down back roles from that running style. It’s kept me in the league a little bit.”

(On where his toughness comes from) “Marethia Williams. My mom is a major in the Army.”

(On whether or not he’ll be playing special teams) “At this stage in my career, I’m going to do whatever it takes to let me make the team. I’m a realist and I know this is a business. The younger guys are looking good out there as far as the running backs. Special teams is what kept me in the league for five years before I was ever even on the offensive side of the ball, so I know I’m going to try to get on special teams and hopefully there’s a spot for me.”

(On coming back from surgery on his right knee, which he had done in the middle of last season) “I did nothing (to rehab). That was the best rehab and the best rest. That’s what Dr. Stedman told me. The rehab was very light stuff that wasn’t muscle building and I just gave it the longest amount of time to heal.”

(On when he first visited with the Rams) “It was in June.”

(On whether or not it was hard to get things going physically after the rehab) “No it wasn’t. When somebody gives you a call and knows everything that you’ve been through, it’s an honor. I was biting at the bit. Scott called me directly to see how I was doing, physically and mentally. That’s the kind of guy you want to play for.”

(On whether or not he was contacted by other teams) “My biggest thing was that I didn’t really want to go through that whole process again. When I got the call from Coach Linehan, that was it. My agent had said that some other teams had called to check up on how I was doing. At this point in the year, I wanted to go somewhere and play where I respected who I was playing for. That’s the main reason it was hands down when Scott called.”