Rams, Bears scrimmage before preseason opener


Associated Press



MACOMB, Ill. - After three days of joint practices, the St. Louis Rams outplayed the Chicago Bears during a scrimmage at Western Illinois University's Hanson Field Saturday.

The Rams unofficially won the scrimmage 12-6, though no score was actually kept during the 90-minute workout.

Both teams held out several starters. Quarterback Marc Bulger and running back Marshall Faulk did not see action for the Rams while linebacker Brian Urlacher, who is nursing a hamstring injury, and wide receiver Marty Booker and others sat out for the Bears.

The scrimmage also provided a chance for new Chicago coach Lovie Smith to put his team up against the Rams, where he worked as defensive coordinator before taking the job with the Bears.

Smith said after the scrimmage, "We know we have a long ways to go. We get a chance to play them again next week with hopes that we'll have a better team on the field playing against them."

The Bears will visit the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis Thursday to take on the Rams in the preseason opener.

The Rams went on offense first in the controlled scrimmage as former Bears quarterback Chris Chandler marched the Rams 70 yards in a drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by running back Arlen Harris.

Bears starting quarterback Rex Grossman directed the first three series before backup Jonathan Quinn engineered the last two drives.

Rams rookie quarterback Jeff Smoker hit Kevin Curtis for a 35-yard touchdown later in the scrimmage.

Then Quinn guided the Bears to their only score when he connected with Gabe Reid on a 5-yard scoring toss.

One of the biggest ovations of the morning came when former Western Illinois star Russ Michna took the field for a few plays with the Rams offense.

Rams coach Mike Martz said Michna had two good passes. "Unfortunately, one of them was dropped. He's a good little player. He's not a camp arm. I'm excited that we have him."

Michna is in the Rams camp as the fourth quarterback after signing with St. Louis as an undrafted free agent in June. Michna said after playing that he appreciated the crowd's response. "It's great to know that they still appreciate what you did for them."

Martz said a scrimmage like the one against the Bears can provide a player an opportunity to show he deserves a spot on the roster. "We're not going to eliminate somebody because of what they've done in this scrimmage. What we can do is look a little harder at a guy," he said.

Notes: Martz said the Rams will not practice Sunday to give his players a break. They will hold a workout Monday afternoon and a meeting Monday night in Macomb. Martz said, "We've had a terrific camp up here and they've worked as hard as any team we've had up here. They've done everything that we've asked them to do."