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  1. #1
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    Rams Ready for Final Minicamp

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    By this point of last year’s offseason, the Rams were still in the getting to know you stage, figuring out who the new coaches were and meeting the new additions to the roster.

    That process took the better part of the offseason, including an additional minicamp to complete. But that was last year. This week, the Rams enter their final minicamp and final team activity before training camp in July with a much better idea of where they are.

    “A year ago, we had extra minicamps and time and we needed to because we were putting in new systems,” coach Scott Linehan said. “We wanted to spend more time meeting, watching film, walking through things.”

    With that in mind, this week’s minicamp will be different than last year. First of all, the camp has been moved from the weekend to the middle of the week, running Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

    Additionally, last season’s minicamp consisted of two practices on each of the first two days and another practice on the final day. Linehan decided to alter that for a number of reasons.

    “We will practice longer, we will condition a little more,” Linehan said. “The intensity of some of the stuff with like the two minute drill will be a little more competitive on things. We will have some mandatory meetings in the afternoon when we get done with our film and lifting.”

    So, instead of practice, practice, practice, this year’s camp will involve plenty more of the mental side of the game. That includes time to review practice film individually and work in the playbook.

    Linehan brings that philosophy to St. Louis from similar ideas executed in Minnesota and his year in Miami.

    “A lot of the old minicamps, unless you do them right away like right after the draft, they are a little bit archaic in that you don’t get a chance to watch any of the practice with the players,” Linehan said. “You do two a day, two a day, one on Sunday then everybody races out of here. You don’t really get to make corrections watching tape. You spend time doing installation and going through the specifics. It’s something I want to do.”

    Further, the revised schedule allows time to concentrate on discussing off the field issues. New commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear that off the field discretions won’t be taken lightly so the Rams plan on spending some time having conversations about the consequences of actions off the field.

    “We will have a team meeting where we go through some of our goals between now and training camp,” Linehan said. “This is a good time to do it because we have the time. It’s harder to get that in during training camp.”

    And Linehan is looking forward to this camp in particular because it’s his first chance to get to see the whole team together, with the exception of some injured players. Left tackle Orlando Pace, receiver Torry Holt, center Andy McCollum and defensive end James Hall will be in attendance but likely limited as they recover from injuries.

    But the rest of the roster will be in St. Louis and Linehan is excited to see his team in action.

    “I think it’s really evident to me that we are a much improved football team because of how we finished the year but also because of the familiarity we have with our systems and what we do well and what we needed to work on that wasn’t good enough,” Linehan said. “We put a lot of time and effort into that. It’s a much better and different feel. We will wait and see how we play the games. But I know I feel much better about where we are at this point than where we were a year ago.”


  2. #2
    Goldenfleece's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Ready for Final Minicamp

    “I think it’s really evident to me that we are a much improved football team because of how we finished the year but also because of the familiarity we have with our systems and what we do well and what we needed to work on that wasn’t good enough,”
    Hate to be a buzzkill, but we finished the season with wins against 3 teams that went a combined 13-35 including the Raiders, Tarvaris Jackson's 1st career start with Minnesota, and an overtime win against Washington in Jason Campbell's 7th career start (while Portis was shelved due to injury). The only good team we beat all season was Denver in week 1. If you want to point to signs for optimism, tell me about Steven Jackson or the offensive line or off-season additions or how the voodoo curses Haslett learned in New Orleans will guarantee Shaun Alexander doesn't play against us; just don't tell me how we ended last season.

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    Re: Rams Ready for Final Minicamp

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    Hate to be a buzzkill, but we finished the season with wins against 3 teams that went a combined 13-35 including the Raiders, Tarvaris Jackson's 1st career start with Minnesota, and an overtime win against Washington in Jason Campbell's 7th career start (while Portis was shelved due to injury). The only good team we beat all season was Denver in week 1. If you want to point to signs for optimism, tell me about Steven Jackson or the offensive line or off-season additions or how the voodoo curses Haslett learned in New Orleans will guarantee Shaun Alexander doesn't play against us; just don't tell me how we ended last season.
    You talk about the offenses of those teams, but you fail to mention their defenses. The Raiders defense last year was one of the best, and throughout the whole game on defense they played 8 guys in the box to try and stop Jackson. It didnt work.

    The Vikings were on course to set an NFL record for run defense when we played them, and would have done so if they managed to hold us under something like 145 yards rushing. They failed to do that, with the OL and Steven Jackson powering their way through a defense with guys like Pat and Kevin Williams on the line.

    So how was ending the season like that not something to be optimistic about?

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams Ready for Final Minicamp

    The Redskins did not have one of the best defenses in the league last year. The Redskins were 31st out of 32 teams in total defense last year. The only team that allowed more yards per game was Tennessee. Their defense allowed an average of just .3 points less than ours did last year. They were darn near the worst defensive unit in the league.

    As for the Vikings, you've got a good point. We proved we could run the ball effectively against even the stoutest defense. That is a positive.

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    Re: Rams Ready for Final Minicamp

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    The Redskins did not have one of the best defenses in the league last year. The Redskins were 31st out of 32 teams in total defense last year. The only team that allowed more yards per game was Tennessee. Their defense allowed an average of just .3 points less than ours did last year. They were darn near the worst defensive unit in the league.

    As for the Vikings, you've got a good point. We proved we could run the ball effectively against even the stoutest defense. That is a positive.
    I didnt mention the Redskins defense, i know they were terrible. I talked up the Raiders defense though, who were underrated last year due to the teams offensive play.

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    Re: Rams Ready for Final Minicamp

    Sorry, I misread that. To be fair, though, they were a team that won 2 games all year. I can't help but think that the reason they were a highly rated defense was because they couldn't keep games close enough that teams wouldn't run on them. We got 148 yards rushing against a team that was giving up an average of 134 rushing yards a game, and we had only 103 passing yards because we didn't have to pass...just like every other team that played them. It's not coincidental that teams averaged fewer pass attempts against the Raiders than any other team in the league. So they had a "good" pass defense because teams were running the ball all through the second half, and they had a 25th ranked rushing defense for the same reason.

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    Re: Rams Ready for Final Minicamp

    its still came out as third best for yards per game, no matter what the circumstances that is very good

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    Re: Rams Ready for Final Minicamp

    Gotta' kinda' disagree, buzzkiller. Take out the Raiders, who we not only beat handily, but blanked, (fairly rare in the NFL), and we beat two teams with combined records of 11-21.

    OK - not earthshaking, but one was on the road, and the Rams thrashed the Vikes at home.

    When all is said and done, the Rams did what they needed to, especially considering they were 5-8 going into that stretch, and could have let down some as it was fairly obvious they'd be watching the playoffs at home. And...losses to the ***** and Cards notwithstanding, we played well vs. the 'Hawks. And...one could basically make that argument for or against ANY team upon reviewing their opponents records.

    So...au contraire my friend, I feel those three in a row to end the season are very significant, and am still buzzing - thank you very much.

    (cool name, incidentally)
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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    Re: Rams Ready for Final Minicamp

    Well, I do hope that I'm wrong and that momentum will carry us through the off-season with hope. I guess when it comes down to it, perception is everything. So as long as the players have this sense that we can win, it doesn't matter how good the teams we beat were. I mean at least Linehan was able to motivate the players to win games even when there wasn't much left to play for.

    It just seems like every time we had a game that was going to be something of a test last year we failed--with the exception of Denver. I mean we took out three weak NFC North teams, the bottom two teams in the AFC West, the worst team in the NFC East...and the only playoff team we even played close was a Seahawks team with their best player injured. I do believe we're going to be a lot better this year, but most of what I remember from last year was almost painful to watch.

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    Re: Rams Ready for Final Minicamp

    Good points all - especially since we should have lost two more except for those last SECOND turnovers, which is why their mental set, as you mentioned, is critical as well.

    I'll be thrilled with 9-7 this year, but really think next year is th one to watch.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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