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Rams begin informal workouts at Lindenwood ..
BY JIM THOMAS Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 12:35 am
In normal times, the Rams would be in the midst of their spring practices this time of year. But on this Monday in late May, in the 11th week of the NFL lockout, 30 Rams gathered just across the Missouri River from Rams Park for informal workouts at Lindenwood University in St. Charles.
There were no helmets or jerseys bearing the Rams' insignia. Nor were there any Rams coaches, trainers or other team officials on hand. That's all forbidden under lockout conditions.
Early on in the proceedings it was obvious that these weren't just a bunch of young men from a flag football team getting in a workout. That's when a long-haired linebacker standing on the far side of midfield asked a curly headed quarterback to toss him a football. The linebacker needed it for a drill.
With little more than a flick of the wrist, the quarterback (Sam Bradford) tossed a tight spiral 55-60 yards to the linebacker (David Vobora), who barely moved for the ball.
Welcome to Rams Spring Football 2011, the unauthorized version.
"We got some good work in," middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "There was a lot of timing stuff for the 'O' (offense). And some refreshers on the calls and stuff for the defense. I was pleased with the turnout."
The roll call was as follows:
• Three quarterbacks: Bradford, A.J. Feeley and Thaddeus Lewis.
• Four wide receivers: Danny Amendola, Donnie Avery, Brandon Gibson and fourth-round draft pick Greg Salas.
• Five tight ends: Billy Bajema, Daniel Fells, Michael Hoomanawanui, second-round draft pick Lance Kendricks and Fendi Onobun.
• Fullback Britt Miller.
• Five offensive linemen: guard Jacob Bell, center Jason Brown, guard/center Hank Fraley, and tackles Ryan McKee and Jason Smith.
• Seven linebackers: Chris Chamberlain, Larry Grant, Josh Hull, Bryan Kehl, Laurinaitis, Maurice Simpkins and Vobora. (Simpkins was on the Rams' practice squad the last month of the 2010 season.)
• Five defensive backs: cornerbacks Ron Bartell, Bradley Fletcher and Justin King, and safeties Craig Dahl and seventh-round draft pick Jonathan Nelson.
Yet another wide receiver, Danario Alexander, who was traveling from Chicago, arrived just a few minutes before the end of practice. Two more wide receivers — Laurent Robinson and third-round draft pick Austin Pettis — are expected today. So is safety Darian Stewart.
As was the case Monday, the Rams will hold these informal practices from 11 a.m. until about 12:30 p.m. or so daily through Thursday. Monday's session ended early with players scattering to their cars as heavy rain struck.
"We wanted to get some conditioning done at the end, but when it started storming, of course we couldn't," Bartell said. "But it went well. The turnout was great. It was good to see some familiar faces and to try to get back to work as much as we possibly could.
"It may seem insignificant to a lot of people because you can only do so much. But I think in the long run, it's something positive. It definitely won't hurt us. Hopefully, it helps us when the season starts."
The Lindenwood workouts were the brainchild of Bartell and Laurinaitis, with a big assist from Bradford.
Several weeks ago, Bartell talked to several of his teammates in the secondary about working out together in the Phoenix area, where Bartell lives and trains in the winter. Bartell then talked to Laurinaitis, who said he'd like to bring the linebackers out as well.
Eventually, that evolved into gathering in St. Louis this week and then reconvening in the Phoenix area June 8-12.
"It was just a spur of the moment-type thing," Bartell said. "Me and (Laurinaitis) just felt like we needed to get together as a group. We contacted Sam. Sam said he'd reach out to all the offensive guys."
And presto, here they were at Lindenwood.
"I think we got a lot out of (Monday)," Bradford said. "Just getting everyone back together, just for the camaraderie. They fact that we're all together. We're obviously competing, but we're not going extremely hard because of the fact that we want to keep everyone healthy. We'd hate to have an injury while we're doing this."
In such a setting, there isn't much for linemen to do, so the Rams' offensive and defensive linemen weren't invited. But the five offensive linemen present anyway Monday have been lifting and working out at the Emerge Fitness center in St. Charles for much of the offseason.
"I think the fact that we had our offensive line here, that helped, too," Bradford said. "Those guys hearing protections, knowing where they're going in protections, switching over from the old numbering system (of play calls) to the new numbering system. I think that's really good."
Several members of the Emerge Fitness staff helped coordinate the warm-up period and the agility drills. The receivers had a special guest star at coach: former Rams great Torry Holt. Working with the secondary was another former Ram, safety Corey Chavous.
After a brief warm-up period, the players took part in position specific agility drills. Then, Bradford and the receivers took part in a seven-on-seven passing drill against "air" (that is, with no defense on the other side of the ball.) Just before the rain hit, they took part in a seven-on-seven drill against the linebackers and defensive backs.
"Sam was able to get some different looks," Bartell said. "As a defense, we were able to get back in the groove of things as far as communicating and getting lined up properly, and just going against guys.
"At the end of the day, it may not seem like we're getting much out of it. But the guys could be sitting on their butts all day, too. So it beats the alternative."
Re: Rams begin informal workouts at Lindenwood ..Several members of the Emerge Fitness staff helped coordinate the warm-up period and the agility drills. The receivers had a special guest star at coach: former Rams great Torry Holt. Working with the secondary was another former Ram, safety Corey Chavous.
Would have been nice to see the BIG Boy out there flexing some of his leadership muscle.
Saddened to not see more receivers there learning the books. Especially those that "seemed" to have a hard time with where to line up last year. Yes Marty, I'm looking at you.
Keep it up guys! And no one get hurt!This space for rent...
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