Rams punish themselves for penalties ..
BY BILL COATS • Tuesday, August 17, 2010 12:15 am
Stung by a raft of pre-snap penalties the last couple of seasons, the Rams have introduced a new policy designed to foster increased individual accountability. It's pretty simple: commit a pre-snap foul and you run a lap around the practice field.
"It's just discipline," center Jason Brown explained. "And it's better to form that discipline right now."
The plan was concocted by "a group of veteran players on the offense who came together and said, 'Guys, we've got to get this thing settled,'" offensive lineman Adam Goldberg said.
The policy has been enthusiastically endorsed by coach Steve Spagnuolo. "I think it says a lot about all those players," he said. "I'm letting them handle it, and I think it's tremendous."
No one on the offense is exempt, including rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. He took a lap after a botched snap during a recent training-camp practice.
"If you mess up, you take a lap. And I messed up, took a lap, and that's part of it," Bradford said. "It's a great idea. Pre-snap penalties, we know that they hurt us. So eliminating those is something we need to do as an offense."
The Rams committed 24 false starts last season, a total exceeded by only five other teams. In their 28-7 preseason loss to Minnesota on Saturday, the Rams false-started only once. Tackle Jason Smith was the culprit.
"I think it's really helped," Goldberg said. "And I love the way our quarterbacks have mixed in (counts and cadences) from Day One. Because a lot of times on teams I've been on in the past, everything's 'on one, on one, on one, on one.' It looks great, and then by preseason game No. 3 ... everyone's jumping off."
Defensive end Victor Adeyanju injured his left knee during practice Monday. The extent of the injury was not immediately determined.
As expected, cornerbacks Kevin Dockery (hip) and Jerome Murphy (ankle), and wide receiver Brandon McRae (ankle) sat out after suffering injuries Saturday. Also sidelined was wide receiver Keenan Burton, who had some swelling in his knee.
Players remaining out were kicker Josh Brown (hip), cornerback Justin King (calf), safety James Butler (knee), guard John Greco (chest) and defensive end Eugene Sims (hamstring).
Their secondary depleted because of injuries, the Rams re-signed cornerback Marcus Brown. He joined the team at midseason last year and spent the last eight weeks on the practice squad. He was released in May.
To clear a roster spot, the team cut kicker Shaun Suisham. But that doesn't mean that Suisham, who filled in for Brown vs. the Vikings, won't be kicking Saturday in Cleveland.
"Shaun understands the situation; we were very up-front with him at the beginning," Spagnuolo said. "When we get to the end of the week we'll decide whether we'll do the same thing or not."
NEW DIGS AT DOME
The Rams have a new home at the Edward Jones Dome. They've moved into the former visitors' locker room, which has undergone a major upgrade. The players now have more room and nicer amenities.
"That's been kind of a project of mine," Spagnuolo said. "It was a long process that went all the way back to when I first got here. I'm real excited about it."
Still, Spagnuolo noted, there's a danger in having the glitzy new digs.
"The one thing you always worry about with a new locker room is, if it's too comforting, that's not good," he said. "When I was with the Eagles back in '99, we were in Veterans Stadium. And Veterans Stadium was pretty old. There was some grit; there was something about our team.
"When we went into the new building (Lincoln Financial Field), initially we lost that a little bit. I don't think that'll happen here."
Two practices are scheduled for today, beginning at 8:15 a.m. and 5 p.m. ... Saturday's game vs. the Browns will be televised by KTVI (Channel 2). Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.