Rams Open Full Squad Minicamp
Rams Open Full Squad Minicamp
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
By Nick Wagoner
With a little more swagger and a lot more knowledge than they had a year ago at this time, the Rams stepped on to the field Tuesday afternoon for the beginning of their mandatory full squad minicamp.
After finished the 2006 season by ripping off a trio of impressive wins and offseason spent bolstering an already talented offense and adding some young talent to the defense, the atmosphere around the team is nothing short of positive.
And why not? In coach Scott Linehan’s first year, the Rams fell just short of a playoff bid and showed signs that they could be close to a breakthrough.
“It’s an exciting day because of the way we set up our minicamp is the finish of our offseason,” Linehan said. “It’s a little different tempo, a little more competitive juices flowing and it’s a bit different. That was good to see. We were still in teach mode last year at this time and it’s quite a bit different this year.”
There are plenty of changes around the Rams this season. Clearly, there are plenty of new faces including receiver Drew Bennett, tight end Randy McMichael and defensive end James Hall among them.
But the biggest difference is the Rams no longer have to worry about getting acquainted with each other and a new coaching staff. That has altered the way the team is approaching this final minicamp, which is the last offseason activity before training camp starts at the end of July.
“We have picked up the competition for things,” Linehan said. “And we’ll do some situations. Tomorrow will be two-minute and some red-zone. There are parts of the game we need to continue to improve on so we can come out on top in those tight games. I really like the fact that we are paying attention to those little things like improving on our pre-snap discipline and all those things. We want to see that before we take that break.”
Since most of the Rams in attendance have a good working knowledge of the system, the pace has certainly picked up compared to last year’s final minicamp. Instead of thinking and acting, the team was simply acting during Tuesday morning’s workout.
And for the most part, the Rams graded out with a perfect attendance record. Left tackle Orlando Pace was cleared to participate and linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa was the only Ram left wearing the red caution practice jersey.
The only player absent from practice was cornerback Tye Hill. But Hill’s absence was brief and excused.
“Tye Hill has an infection on his leg,” Linehan said. “We sent him to get it treated at Dr. Pogue’s office, not to overreact or get scared or anything, but we are ultra conservative on it so we didn’t even have him out here. He was in the meetings this morning. But we sent him out there to make sure it’s not something more serious.”
Hill arrived at the training facility later in the day and Linehan said he expects Hill to be ready to go for Wednesday’s workout.
HOLT AND HALL RETURN: For most of the organized team activities, receiver Torry Holt and defensive end James Hall were wearing red jerseys signifying that they were unable to go full speed during the practices. But both shed the red jerseys in Tuesday's workout.
Holt was doing his best to rehabilitate and recover from minor offseason knee surgery. After a conversation with Linehan, Holt was held out of most of the OTAs, but still did some conditioning with the team and was around the training facility as often as possible.
“He’s been, we talked about it before we started OTAs that we wouldn’t pretty much do anything during May and he’d come out and so some work in June and the goal would be to come out and feel better and finish minicamp,” Linehan said. “To be honest, he’s had probably his best year in a number of years as far as his offseason progress. It’s been two rough years for him as far as – you all would never know about it because he would never tell you or show it on the field – but he’s been pretty sore in December. We plan on making it so he doesn’t have to play like that this year so hopefully we can manage that a little better.”
Holt looked as sharp as ever in the opening practice, running routes and even making a nice extended grab in traffic over the middle during seven on seven passing drills.
Hall, meanwhile, has also been in recovery mode since his arrival by trade to St. Louis. After being limited in OTAs, Hall returned to full go last week,
“The way I see it, if we were playing a game this weekend or next weekend or whatever, he would be ready to go,” Linehan said. “He has done pretty much everything. He hasn’t missed one workout, he hasn’t missed one rehab. He’s been here. I think his mindset is different. He has a fresh, new beginning and he’d like to bring that to the table this year.”
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: With the trade late last week of nose tackle Jimmy Kennedy to the Denver Broncos, the Rams were left with three players competing for his nose tackle position with a combined experience of zero snaps in the NFL.
Instantly, first-round pick Adam Carriker became the front runner for the starting position with fifth-round choice Clifton Ryan and seventh-round selection Keith Jackson battling for the backup job.
While it’s possible that the team will add a veteran in the coming weeks or even during training camp, for now there is plenty of opportunity for the youngsters to make an impression, especially this week against the veterans on the offensive line.
“What it affects is the urgency on the defensive line and the interior of the defensive line,” Linehan said. “I suppose you could say we are young at nose tackle now, I wouldn’t say we are young on the defensive line. I think it’s an opportunity for (Carriker), for Clifton and really Keith and Tim Sandidge to get in there and make a name for themselves.”
Re: Rams Open Full Squad Minicamp
Linehan on Hall
Alot of talk about our NT these days, but Hall has to come in and play like he did early on in his career.
I think his mindset is different. He has a fresh, new beginning and he’d like to bring that to the table this year.”
Re: Rams Open Full Squad Minicamp
I'm loving what I'm hearing so far, it seems like this team is finally heading in the right direction and all the players know it. If Hall really does come back 100% healthy, Little is going to have a career year. Hopefully we will hear some good news about a d-line next.