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Thread: Rams' Legends Welcomed Back By Fisher

  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Rams' Legends Welcomed Back By Fisher

    Rams' legends welcomed back by Fisher

    BY JIM THOMAS
    August 17, 2012

    As part of the new era at Rams Park, coach Jeff Fisher has instituted an open-door policy for former Rams players. This wasn't really the case, for whatever reason, under former coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney.

    Most Rams fans are familiar with what happened. The pictures of team greats from the Greatest Show on Turf days were taken down in the team auditorium. Offensive line coach Jim Hanifan basically was told he was no longer welcome in the building.

    There was no more telling example of this than the sight of former Rams star Isaac Bruce helping Chicago wide receivers at Bears camp two summers ago. When asked why he wasn't working at Rams camp, the always-direct Bruce replied: "They didn't ask."

    Well, within weeks of Fisher's hire, Hanifan was back in the building visiting Fisher, assistant head coach Dave McGinnis and others. Bruce came around in the spring. Former linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa has been seen a couple of times earlier in camp.

    And all this week, wide receiver Torry Holt and defensive back Aeneas Williams have been attending practices, providing tips and answering questions from players.

    "There was a point there where I guess guys didn't feel as welcome in regards to coming back around the organization," Holt said. "But I think Coach Fisher and his staff and the organization have done a good job in terms of inviting and welcoming guys back. I think it's healthy.

    "It's good for guys to see the history of our organization because we've got a lot of history in this organization. I've talked about it before. When I was a rookie and a couple years in the league, Deacon Jones and Jack Youngblood, they'd come back and talk to us and just talk about the pride and the tradition of Rams football.

    "And I mentioned that to the receivers in the (meeting) room. I said, 'There's a standard here in regards to the receiving position, all the way back to Henry Ellard, Crazylegs (Hirsch), Flipper Anderson, myself, Isaac, Ricky (Proehl) — the list goes on and on of guys that played the position at a high level. So keeping that standard, keeping that tradition alive, I think it's huge."

    Williams, who played for McGinnis for five seasons as an Arizona Cardinal, said the new regime at Rams Park "just always encourages you that you're welcome. It's never like you're eavesdropping or you're intruding. I never had an issue (before), because if I'm not invited I won't come around."

    During practice this week, Holt has sat in the meeting room with the wide receivers. Although not wanting to step on the toes of wide receivers coach Ray Sherman, Holt was encouraged to participate.

    "Coach Sherman has given me some leeway to say a few things in the meetings," said Holt, a seven-time Pro Bowler. "I don't want to do too much; he is the coach. But there's times where I need to speak up and say a few things — he allows me to do that."

    Holt's words haven't fallen on deaf ears.

    "I've learned a lot in these past couple days," said rookie Chris Givens. "It's the little things on how to approach my job each day. And how to get it done each day. You know, just little things here and there with my technique that I can work on."

    Givens conceded to being a bit awestruck at the mere sight of Holt, and wants to get his autograph.

    "Yeah, I actually talked to some of the veterans about that, and there were like, 'No, that wouldn't be a good idea right now,' " Givens said. "But that's something I would definitely like to have and try to put up somewhere."

    Williams, an eight-time Pro Bowler, has taken a slightly more low-key approach this week. Unlike Holt, he he's not sitting in on the defensive back meetings. But he has been on the field every day. Interestingly, Williams said he hasn't gotten a ton of questions from Rams defensive backs this week — with one notable exception.

    "Cortland Finnegan — he's usually asking me questions," Williams said. "Even (Tuesday), he was coming up saying, 'If you see anything, just let me know.' "

    Williams said Finnegan was quizzing him at Fisher's charity softball game in late July. (They were on the same squad for that game.) The interesting thing about that is that Finnegan already is an established player, a former Pro Bowler, and a seven-year vet.

    Williams said it's not the first time an established veteran has picked his brain. In the past he has spoken to other NFL and college teams. When he spoke with the New England Patriots, Williams said, "The guy that asked me the most questions — in the front row — Tom Brady. It's amazing."

    On the practice field this week, Williams likes what he sees from rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

    "The confidence, the natural abilities. He really has the opportunity to be special early," Williams said. "It's just a matter of putting the work in."

    On offense, Holt has gotten into the ears of Givens and fellow rookie Brian Quick.

    "I told Quick and Givens, as a rookie, your mind is spinning," Holt said. "You're trying to learn the plays. You're trying to make the team, and you're trying to make an impression. But there's one thing you can't stop doing — and that's working. And working smart, and working at trying to master your craft.

    The sooner they learn that lesson, the quicker they can make an impact.

    "Somebody's got to emerge," Holt said. "Somebody's got to step out and lead this group, and everybody else collectively has just got to join the wave and make the commitment. Because somebody's going to have to take some pressure off Steven (Jackson). Somebody's going to have to take some pressure off of (Sam) Bradford. ... The receiver position is gonna have a vital role in this year's success."
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    UK Ramfan 83 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams' Legends Welcomed Back By Fisher

    Wow. . . .

    How on earth? why on earth? would the previous regime stop these class acts from just being a presence at Rams park?!?

    Spagnuolo, Devaney, et al . . . . . Hang your ass hats in shame.

    Jeff Fisher, Les Snead, et al . . . . Thanks guys.
    Last edited by UK Ramfan 83; -08-18-2012 at 04:34 PM.

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    Re: Rams' Legends Welcomed Back By Fisher

    Quote Originally Posted by UK Ramfan 83 View Post
    Wow. . . .

    How on earth? why on earth? would the previous regime stop these class acts from just being a presence at Rams park?!?

    Spagnuolo, Devaney, et al . . . . . Hang your ass hats in shame.

    Jeff Fisher, Les Snead, et al . . . . Thanks guys.
    It is a head scratcher isn't it? Alienating guys like Jack Youngblood, Fred Dryer, and Deacon Jones, who know a thing or two about football, and could have mentored the young players on team history, and what it meant to be a Ram. Obviously Fisher gets it.

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    Re: Rams' Legends Welcomed Back By Fisher

    This is definitely AWESOME. I am a huge believer in respecting those that came before you and embracing tradition. The Rams have had a slew of great players in the past, and for Fisher to reach out to some of these guys and encourage them to be participants in the process is outstanding. It also shows that Fisher is comfortable in his own skin and doesn't feel threatened- something I'm guessing wasn't the case with Spagnuolo.
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    Re: Rams' Legends Welcomed Back By Fisher

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    It also shows that Fisher is comfortable in his own skin and doesn't feel threatened- something I'm guessing wasn't the case with Spagnuolo.
    Great point.

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