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    Arrow Rams Interviews 8/4 & 8/5 (Spags, Bulger, Jackson)

    Morning Practice – Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo – August 4, 2009

    (On if FB Mike Karney was injured)

    “Yeah he had an ankle that he tweaked yesterday so we’re being cautionary. We kept him out.”

    (On if CB Ron Bartell’s left leg was injured)

    “He was fine in practice. Yeah I think he had a sleeve on there. I think that’s pretty much more precautionary than anything else. Or for looks. One or the other.”

    (On S James Butler)

    “He dinged his knee. He tried to come out and get through it but again more precautionary. Why put the stress on it now?”

    (On if Butler will need an x-ray)

    “I don’t think so but I will talk with (Head Athletic Trainer) Jim (Anderson) a little bit more on it.”

    (On if he is ‘knocking on wood’ that no players have suffered any significant injuries during training camp)

    “Yeah, where is the wood? Don’t do that. We’ll keep our fingers crossed on that. We still have a long way to go.”

    (On if he wishes the weather was warmer)

    “You know I am torn on that because the adage would be to get the hot weather to make it tougher on them but you know what, you get a lot of work done when the weather is like this (cool) because they are a little bit fresher. They get a little bit more in tune and not thinking of heat and just thinking about playing. Whatever the weather is we’re going to practice in it. We’ll take it.”

    (On his evaluation of QB Marc Bulger’s accuracy)

    “Steady. You hit the nail on the head. Accuracy. He is a very accurate quarterback. A couple throws the other day…I’m not sure how many other quarterbacks could have made those throws. If he keeps doing that and stays steady and (Offensive Coordinator) Pat (Shurmur) and (Assistant Head Coach and Quarterbacks Coach) Dick (Curl) keep working with him, he’ll be ok.”

    (On RB Samkon Gado)

    “Samkon is doing a good job. Smart veteran. He’s got some good size to him. He has been playing a little bit of fullback so it makes him a little versatile. In this league if you can do more than one thing, your rate of survival is a little bit better.”

    (On if he thought today’s practice was sluggish)

    “I thought today was OK. I didn’t really see indications of that. We were kind of bobbing and weaving in there around what was possibly rain so we had a plan to maybe run indoors. I was probably the sluggish one earlier because I was trying to decide whether to flip the schedule and move some team pairs around but luckily we got through OK.”

    (On if moving indoors will prohibit any drills this afternoon)

    It won’t affect this afternoon’s practice. No, that is pretty smooth because it is mostly team and the facility is great for that.”

    (On how he determines if the team is practicing sluggish)

    “Just the gut. I’m probably picky. I am looking for everyone to bounce around. Walking on the field…I just don’t think you do that. I think our guys have been great but you’ve got to stay on them. By human nature if any of us are out there after a certain point in practice, we naturally crawl or walk or what not so we just stay on top of them. We don’t condition after practice – we try to condition during practice.”

    (On if the players dislike the live tackling)

    “No. That’s encouraging because if you had it the other way, I’d be a little bit concerned about people not wanting to be physical. The guys have been tremendous. I walk in there now and say ‘It’s not live’ and they’re all saying ‘Come on, come on. How come its not live.”

    (On if he is surprised that there have been no scuffles amongst players with the live tackling)

    “You just haven’t seen the little things that are going on out there.”

    (On his concept of building the team and how he can gauge if it is working)

    “That’s a tough one. Just a sense, a feel. It’s an every day evaluation. We talk about it every night in team meetings; one element of it. The guys have been great. They have been receiving it and embracing it. There’s still a long way to go, but so far so good”

    Morning Practice - QB Marc Bulger - August 4, 2009

    (On how the weather is so far)

    “It’s been great. No I think hopefully it gets a little warmer for us later in the week, I think we need that, but we haven’t heard too many complaints here.”

    (On if the West Coast offense is made for him)

    “I don’t think I’m there yet, but I think one of my better attributes is getting rid of the ball quick and just getting it in the hands of good playmakers. Our receivers have really played well so far, and we have a ways to go, but there’s some great competition there and it’s showing. We’ve got about six or seven guys who have really stepped their game up.”

    (On if he’s like a point guard)

    “Yes, that’s a good analogy. Obviously I’m not going to do much with it when I have it, with my feet, so just distrbute it to (RB) Steven (Jackson), (WR) Donnie (Avery), (WR) Keenan (Burton), (WR) Ronnie (Ronald Curry). We’ve got a bunch of guys that if I can just get them the ball in the right situation, and give them a little room to run, and make some yards.”

    (On what Curry is showing)

    “Some experience I think we’re lacking. He’s a great route runner. Obviously from his basketball background he has great ball skills. Late in practice today I threw a ball, put it on his body in coverage, and he just has a knack for being able to position his body and keep the defender away. You don’t want to say possession receiver because I think he’s more than that, so we’re really happy to have him.”

    (On if WR Brooks Foster is similar with a basketball background)

    “Yes, all these guys are great athletes. I mean, I even play basketball. I don’t look like those guys, but (TE) Daniel Fells plays a lot of basketball and he looks like that too, so I think it definitely helps the longer they play with contested balls.”

    (On how he has learned to adjust to new coaches and new voices)

    “Yes, it’s not easy, but fortunately, I don’t know for five or six years I had the same voice and a lot put in as an offense. The way I’ve learned is put it back to that and call it that in my mind, and eventually transition it over. I’m still not there yet, I still hear my old coach’s voice, Coach (Mike) Martz, with certain plays that are named differently, but I just go back to that. But I’m getting to the point now where I can get a mental picture, in my mind when I hear West Coast terms.”

    (On if this offense stresses getting the ball out quickly)

    “At certain times, I mean there’s times when I can push it down the field. But when there’s blitzes, or dogs, or stunts, there’s always quick throws. We don’t necessarily adjust our routes like we used to with other offenses, it’s pretty much in. You’ve got to ad lib a little bit, and know where your quick throws are, and get rid of the ball.”

    (On the progression of TE Daniel Fells)

    “He’s getting there. I’m sure he’d tell you he has a little work to do with his experience playing every down because I don’t think he’s used to that. But he does some things that not many guys can do, and I think with (TE) Randy (McMichael) helping him, he’s only going to get better.”

    (On if he enjoys adlibbing plays)

    “Yes, you know it’s no secret I’m not going to run around as Donovan (McNabb) would in this system or Steve Young or someone. But there’s certain things you can do, just movements in the pocket, just to buy yourself a little bit of time. You don’t necessarily have to run around everywhere, but if you can make subtle moves in the pocket, like step up or some side steps, you can buy yourself a second to maybe get the one-on-one matchup down the field. So that’s the extent of my adlibbing. You might see me run here and there.”

    (On how he avoids the pressure of this being a make or break year)

    “Just concentrating on what I’m doing, there’s nothing I can control except what I do. So we have to win football games, and that’s what everyone’s goal is right now. Its Coach Spanuolo’s, its the secretaries upstairs, its the guys who take care of the field. Our whole boat right now, we’re just trying to turn this thing around and start winning games and have fun again, and everything else will take care of itself.

    (On the difference in protection from the offensive line)

    “They are definitely more physical. I think they are taking a lot of pride in their job right now, pass blocking. If you watch our nine-on-seven drills and our live running, there’s some holes there for (RB) Steven (Jackson), and Steven doesn’t need much of a hole, so it’s going to create some match ups for Steven on not only linebackers, but if we can get him to the second level, on the safeties on the corners, we are going to be in really good shape.”

    (On how he feels about the live drills)

    “I hate to give my opinion because I’m not live. It’s one of those deals where everyone wants to go live, and I think it’s great. I have to see these guys walking, in the locker room, and getting out of bed, so as a fan, as a quarterback, I think it’s a good thing. I think the first day we did a lot. We’ve scaled back a little bit on the live. It’s good, it’s getting rid of the soreness. I think sometimes you wait to the first preseason games and guys get really beat up and take a couple weeks to catch up, hopefully we do that, and stay away from injuries. We’ve been lucky so far.”

    (On the scrimmage Friday at Lindenwood University)

    “Usually when you have that scrimmage guys get a little bit nervous because it’s the first time you go live. Everyone’s hyperventilating, but I think since we got all of that out of the way, I think we’ll be able to be a little more crisp and hopefully the coaches have a little bit better chance to evaluate everyone, after not only seeing just one scrimmage they’ve had, so guys can’t wait to show what they can do.”

    Morning Practice- Coach Spagnuolo Press Conference – August 5, 2009

    (Opening statements)

    “The injury update, it was just Mike Karney wasn’t in there, his ankle, we’re still evaluating that, and John Greco dinged his ankle a little bit so we’ll see how he is after he gets a little bit of treatment.”

    (On the x-rays on Karney’s ankle)

    “They took them. He’s had things in there before, so it didn’t look so pretty I guess, but he’s been through and Mike told me he’ll bounce back. I don’t what the time table is.”

    (On if the ankle injury is low or high)

    “I don’t know that. He would have said high ankle sprain I’m sure, if it was, I would think, so I don’t think it is.”

    (On the tempo of today’s practice)

    “I thought it was pretty good, I’m always going to want it better. That’s just the nature. There’s lulls in there, and one of the things we’ve talked about is doing this (straight line motion) and never up and down. If we can get rid of some of the lulls, I think we’ll be ok.”

    (On what his franchise player S Oshiomogho Atogwe being in training camp shows)

    “An awful lot. And I’ve told him a number of times how classy I think he’s handled everything. That’s a quality person right there. Forget about the football talent. And I sensed that the first time when I first got here, I visited with him in my office, and you could see that right away. He deserves a lot of credit.”

    (On if he appreciates having veterans like Atogwe on his team)

    “Very much appreciated. Very much appreciated. He’s got to work like everybody else right now, I’m not going to stamp everybody with starter, but he’s a good solid football player that we hope continues to rise.”

    (On what has impressed him the most about camp so far)

    “The attitude has been great, we’re getting into a period here now where legs are getting a little bit heavy and guys get a little cranky. In the stretch this morning the offense was kind of razzing on the defense that they weren’t real lively in the morning, and that is a good thing. If we can keep getting each other better, I think that will help.”

    (On what Jason Brown means to the team not just on the field, but leadership and character)

    “We want to see which leaders are going to surface. Jason is new to the team, so I wouldn’t put that kind of pressure on a new person. He has all those qualities. We will see if that comes out and he ends up being one of the core leaders of the team.”

    (On telling defense not to go low on RB Steven Jackson)

    “They know, I was holding my breath too. This group is a very competitive group. That’s what we’re kind of learning. They want to compete, they want to get better, and they want to be in those situations where it’s tough on them. And if they continue to think like that, I got to believe that’s going to help us. Always keeping our fingers cross.”

    (On importance of RB Steven Jackson getting hit in camp)

    “He’s been in the league long enough. He knows what its like to get hit. I think the timing of the whole offense is important. He’s one of those competitive guys and so far its worked out good.”

    (On kick return battle)

    “It’s a work in progress.”

    (On anyone stepping up in the return battle)

    “I would hold judgment on that until we get into a real game. That’s when it’s a little pressure on them.”

    (On if there is an area of concern with cornerbacks)

    “Well I’m not going backwards. There’s a bunch of guys over there competing, that I think have some talent. If I do my job and all of the coaches do their job, hopefully the talent will surface out there on the field.

    (On where does he see Jackson as of right now)

    “Right on target, he’s done a great job. He did a great job in the offseason, he was in great shape. So far so good.”

    (On WR Laurent Robinson)

    “He struggled a little bit in the OTAs, where he had some drops. In this training camp so far, keep my fingers crossed, knock on wood; I think he’s done that pretty well. First job as a wideout is to catch the ball.”

    (On Twitter)

    “The other day when I was talking to the team about twitter, I said is Twitter something you use on your cell phone, or do you buy a whole device. I didn’t know if you bought a twitter device, I honestly didn’t know. I’m still trying to figure out how to use the cell phone.”

    Morning Practice – RB Steven Jackson – August 5, 2009

    (On how he felt about the heat during practice)

    “You know, it wasn’t too bad. A couple days ago it was a little hotter, but that’s camp. That’s what you kind of expect here in St. Louis. We get this great conditioning in. It allows us to work, however, it makes situations quite strenuous.”

    (On getting hit in the knees by LB Chris Chamberlain during practice)

    “Yeah, yeah. Coach kind of tells the defensive guys to try to stay off the runners knees. And it happens in football. He (LB Chris Chamberlain) got a little low. But it was understood. It was an accident. It wasn’t done intentionally.”

    (On Coach Spagnuolo sticking up for him)

    “Well I would hope so. We are all on the same team and we are here to try and make each other better.”

    (On how he feels about the hitting taking place in training camp)

    “At first it kind of threw me for a surprise but after the first day…it actually allows us to get really good work. It allows the defense to work on tackling; it gives the offense time to kind of set up a workout, time the blocks for my offensive lineman, and allows me to get some contact work a little early.”

    (On how he reacted to live tackling in training camp)

    “It is definitely quite a shock. It is something that is not really routinely done. I understand the benefits of it and I am just trying to go with the flow. I understand that no one is bigger than the team and if this is what coach wants to do, I am willing to at least give everything a try.”

    (On how he feels after a week of training camp)

    “I feel really good. I really feel like we’re moving in the right direction. Of course we still have time to get better and the opener is not until September but we’re really getting some good work right now. It allows for the younger guys to get some NFL work in practice before we kick it off next week in New York (against the Jets).”

    (On how his body feels)

    “Body feels great. I’ve been getting some good workouts in in the weight room. Everything is routine around here and it’s really working out for the benefit.”

    (On how this camp is different than previous camps)

    “It’s a lot more intense than previous ones that I have been in. And even though we keep saying how intense it is and how we’re going live, it still allows us some down time in the afternoon with our practice coming right at 3 o’clock. We still have all night to recover for the next morning’s practice so even though we’re going at each other really hard, we still have time to rest up. I think the schedule is really working out well.”

    (On the younger guys tackling)

    “Well you know what? thank God I am not in there with the younger guys. I’m in there with (DE) Leonard Little, someone who doesn’t want to get hit either. Guys have been pretty good about that.”

    (On his goals for the season)

    “Well the biggest goal now is just trying to be a leader. Especially help out with the young guys - the receiving corps. We kind of don’t have the leadership we normally have in that area so I am just trying to be an all-around captain for the offense and set my example on the practice field -show guys how to practice, show guys how to work.”

    (On the intensity of the entire practice)

    “That’s the whole practice. Coach (Steve Spagnuolo) always says be ready to go from the beginning, that’s warm-ups to stretching. He wants guys to be organized and look like a team. That’s what we really focus on to change the mindset and becoming champions in our head before we even get out there on the field.”

    (On his sense of the offense)

    “Well you know what? I’ve been blessed to work with a different number of coordinators. And all have, in their ways, tried to get the ball to me different ways. But the thing that stands out most to me, that in this offense, I’m able to line up everywhere. It’s really a lot of hard work on me at night time, to make sure I know the different formations, because I can be the X receiver at any time as well as a running back. So whatever play comes in the huddle, I have to be able to digest it and put myself in whatever area it is that I need to go to.”

    (On if he enjoys lining up at wide receiver against cornerbacks)

    “It has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages because I am new out there, I’m not an All-Pro already at the receiver spot. It can create mismatches for us. It also keeps me on my toes and makes sure I’m working techniques and makes sure I’m really just learning things all over.”

    (On working with Running backs coach Sylvester Croom)

    “Coach Croom has been great. I can definitely see why he was successful as a head coach and why he has always been successful at the other places he has coached. He has a wealth of knowledge and all he has to do is be quiet for a moment and then you will definitely learn something being in his presence.”

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    Varg6 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Interviews 8/4 & 8/5 (Spags, Bulger, Jackson)

    I love the idea of Jackson lining up as a wide receiver. He's a dynamic player, so why not? These guys are all saying the right things, and I can't wait for the season to finally begin!
    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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