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  1. #1
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    Rams' defensive backfield getting healthier

    Rams' defensive backfield getting healthier
    4 hours ago • BY JIM THOMAS

    The Rams were getting so low on cornerbacks for a while during training camp that coach Jeff Fisher cut out a period in practice.

    "We were a little nervous last week towards the end," Fisher said.

    But as expected, three cornerbacks and four defensive backs total returned to the field Monday as the Rams got back to work following a day off Sunday.

    Cornerbacks Josh Gordy, Jerome Murphy and Kendric Burney returned, as did safety Darian Stewart. They all took part in 11-on-11 work during Monday afternoon's practice at Rams Park after being sidelined a few days last week mainly because of general leg soreness and tight hamstrings.

    Stewart, in fact, was back working with the starting defense, meaning the rotation at free safety apparently continues between him and Craig Dahl.

    At cornerback, it was important for Murphy, Gordy and Burney to return as soon as possible because of the competition for backup jobs there. Cortland Finnegan, Janoris Jenkins and Bradley Fletcher appear to have a tight grip on the top three jobs. But most teams keep about six cornerbacks on their 53-man roster, and third-round pick Trumaine Johnson also is in the mix.

    "Just like every year, you've got to go out there and prove yourself," said Gordy, who was impressive during the spring practice period. "They keep the guys they want to keep, and the best guys are going to play."

    Elsewhere on the roster, wide receiver Danario Alexander got his first 11-on-11 work of camp Monday after missing time because of a hamstring issue. Also back after missing a day or two last week were tight ends Lance Kendricks and DeAngelo Peterson plus fullback Todd Anderson.

    Left tackle Rodger Saffold took part in individual position drills after being held out of Saturday's practice at the Edward Jones Dome. Rookie running back Daryl Richardson, who suffered a fairly significant hamstring injury during summer training, continues to be limited to individual drills.

    With all those players returning in some fashion, only defensive tackle Trevor Laws and center Scott Wells were held out of practice completely Monday out of the 89 players on the roster. That's a remarkably low total considering the Rams are 10 days into camp and it has been nearly two weeks since the rookies reported.

    Wells, the free-agent pickup from Green Bay, is progressing in his rehab from spring knee surgery.

    "He's doing well inside — doing very well with the knee," Fisher said. "He is taking every walk-through rep with us, so from a football standpoint he's not behind whatsoever. He's actually doing very well. So he's on pace and he'll be able to participate at some point in a preseason game."

    Laws, a free-agent addition from Philadelphia, missed the Saturday and Monday practices because of swelling in his knee.

    Fisher doesn't talk much about sidelined players during training camp. Then again, the team hasn't had anything resembling a significant injury occur so far during camp.

    But Fisher's approach when it comes to ailing players seems to be a proactive one, at least as much as possible. After 16 full seasons in the NFL as a head coach, he knows the Lombardi Trophy isn't awarded in August. He's trying to have a healthy team on the field for the regular season, starting with the Sept. 9 opener in Detroit. If that means holding a player out of practice now for an extra day or two, so be it.

    "Over time, I think you have to learn patience," Fisher said. "Coaches want players on the field every single play, and they want 'em back as soon as you can. You can make some mistakes by rushing somebody back.

    "So make sure that the rehab is complete, the process is finished, give 'em a couple extra days. I think it helps, too, with confidence — the player's confidence. This training staff is excellent, obviously led by Reggie (Scott)."

    If, for example, a player has mild hamstring tightness that normally requires two or three days off, Fisher has the philosophy of making it three or four days.

    "And sometimes as players we can be a little stubborn," Gordy said. "We want to stay out there. But if it's tight, you'd rather miss a couple days than do something worse and miss two or three weeks."

    So in these early days of his tenure as Rams coach, Fisher is gaining a reputation in the locker room as a coach who tries to take care of his players.

    "It's a full-speed game," Murphy said. "You've got to be ready to go every play. If you can't go, there's no sense in you going out there. I respect them for doing what they're doing."

    Another way that Fisher tries to prevent soft tissue injuries is through the intensive stretching of yoga. During special teams practice last Wednesday, while two-thirds of the squad was on the field doing that work, the rest of the squad — mainly the offensive and defensive starters — was inside taking part in a yoga session.

    During his time at Tennessee, Fisher said, "We tried to bring a yoga instructor in, and often times we'd bring one in the day after a game, just to work out the soreness and work on flexibility."

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    Re: Rams' defensive backfield getting healthier

    Wells, the free-agent pickup from Green Bay, is progressing in his rehab from spring knee surgery.

    "He's doing well inside — doing very well with the knee," Fisher said. "He is taking every walk-through rep with us, so from a football standpoint he's not behind whatsoever. He's actually doing very well. So he's on pace and he'll be able to participate at some point in a preseason game."
    If we as fans weren't monitoring this situation already, it's probably worth starting now. Wells went from being expected to be ready for camp to simply being able to participate in a preseason game at some point. With two new pieces on the offensive line and cohesion to establish, getting Wells back is going to be a priority.
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    Re: Rams' defensive backfield getting healthier

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    If we as fans weren't monitoring this situation already, it's probably worth starting now. Wells went from being expected to be ready for camp to simply being able to participate in a preseason game at some point. With two new pieces on the offensive line and cohesion to establish, getting Wells back is going to be a priority.
    With the absolute requirement to keep Bradford upright, perhaps THE priority. The situation with Wells really makes me nervous.

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    Re: Rams' defensive backfield getting healthier

    I really hope Dahl doesn't win the job over Stewart.

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    Re: Rams' defensive backfield getting healthier

    Quote Originally Posted by RKDfan View Post
    I really hope Dahl doesn't win the job over Stewart.
    Agreed. I always liked Stewart.

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    Re: Rams' defensive backfield getting healthier

    I really hope Saffold is Ok.

    Wells too, obviously.

    Just hope the offensive line can stay healthy all year.

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    Re: Rams' defensive backfield getting healthier

    No season enders so far that we know of, and that's a good thing.

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    Re: Rams' defensive backfield getting healthier

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    If we as fans weren't monitoring this situation already, it's probably worth starting now. Wells went from being expected to be ready for camp to simply being able to participate in a preseason game at some point. With two new pieces on the offensive line and cohesion to establish, getting Wells back is going to be a priority.
    This was Monday:
    Pro Bowl center Scott Wells took the field with his helmet for the first time during camp, though he still worked to the side on most individual drills.

    He's getting close...

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