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Thread: Rams Ready to Handle Heat
Rams Ready to Handle Heat
Friday, September 21, 2007
By Nick Wagoner
From the moment the Rams opened training camp in the sweltering heat in St. Louis back in July, they have been preparing with an eye toward early season games under the sun in Tampa Bay and Dallas.
This week will provide the first test for the Rams as they go on the road for the first road game of the year against the Bucs. Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s with plenty of south Florida humidity and a chance for showers.
It will be typical conditions for a game in Tampa in September. But not all of the Rams are buying into the heat as a factor in Sunday’s game.
“I think the heat might be a little overplayed,” tackle Adam Goldberg said. “It’s not like we are coming from Alaska. We are coming from Missouri; it’s not too cool up here either.”
If indeed the heat isn’t a factor, it’s because the Rams have been preparing for it by way of multiple outside practices in the stifling Missouri heat for more than a month. Just this week, the Rams had a pair of practices in hot temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday.
Temperatures in training camp were more than 100 degrees for many of the outdoor practices and the team even worked inside without air conditioning on a few occasions.
“It helps in our preparation,” coach Scott Linehan said. “They practice in it. They live in it. It’s going to be similar to this. It’s going to be hot and humid. It could be just like this with the chance of thunderstorms. That’s the way it always is this time of year in South Florida. It’s good to be able to have this heat this week.”
The Rams have been working on one potential tool to help stymie the heat. In Thursday’s outdoor practice, a few select Rams had a new product inserted in their helmets to help alleviate the heat.
GelCool Systems, a Nashville, Tenn. based firm, began developing a product that could be inserted into the helmet and help keep the head cool during a game. According to research, most of the heat in the body comes from the head.
Eight teams have already tried the packs out and the Rams are expected to have three offensive linemen and three defensive linemen to test out the new products. But the reviews after Thursday’s practice were not overly favorable.
“I’m an old school guy,” defensive tackle La’Roi Glover said. “I’m not going to use it.”
Defensive end Leonard Little said the packs only worked for about two or three minutes before they stopped being effective.
With that in mind, cornerback Ron Bartell is using a more conventional method to deal with the heat this weekend.
“I think the coaches did a great job of helping us adjust to the heat,” Bartell said. “It’s warmer than it was last week. It’s up to the individuals to make sure we are getting enough fluids. I started myself on Sunday after the game. A lot of water, Gatorade to make sure I’m hydrated.”
BARTELL’S PROGRESS: The Rams have plenty of hope that Bartell will be hydrated and ready to go against the Bucs on Sunday. Bartell has emerged in recent weeks as the starter and performed at a high level.
Bartell had one of his best games as a professional last week against the ***** as he got his first career sack.
This week, Bartell will oppose Tampa Bay’s Joey Galloway, one of the league’s fastest and craftiest receivers. With Fakhir Brown and Tye Hill set to return from a suspension and injury, respectively, in the next two weeks, Bartell is making a strong case to stay in the starting lineup.
“Every time he’s been given an opportunity, since I’ve been here, he’s taken advantage of it and just really improved,” Linehan said. “How he started, getting a lot of the starting reps in preseason, to where he’s playing now is night and day. Like last year we moved him into that ‘nickel’ spot and from the time he was given the opportunity to play he really has improved and become a real solid player for us. I’ve seen enough. It’s obviously not enough. What we’re doing now we all have to step up a little bit more.”
LEADING THE WAY: Since the Rams cut fullback Madison Hedgecock in the days following the opener against Carolina, they have been in search of a true lead blocker to open holes for running back Steven Jackson.
Fullback/tight end Richard Owens signed with the team last week, but wasn’t ready to go in time for the game against the *****. This week, it appears Owens is closer to being ready to be on the field.
Linehan said Friday a decision on Owens will be made in the next 24 hours.
“Richard has a good chance of playing this week,” Linehan said. “He’s going to be a big factor on special teams. He’s a very willing blocker. I think he’ll really help us in the run game because he’s going to be a guy that can run the lead block plays we have. He has exceptional backup snapping ability, so it backs you up there if something ever was to happen to (Chris) Massey, which is unusual I think more so than anything. I think he’s closer this week. He has a good chance of being up this week.”
INJURY REPORT: Nothing much changed on the injury report Friday.
Cornerback Tye Hill (back) is out this week. Guard Richie Incognito (ankle) made progress this week, but is doubtful and won’t play this weekend.
In better news, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (ankle) is questionable, but appears as though he could play against Tampa Bay this weekend. Tinoisamoa did more Friday than he did at other points during the week and could be active. Linehan said the decision on whether Tinoisamoa will play will probably come down to game time and it’s not likely that he will start either way.
Quarterback Marc Bulger (ribs) and guard Claude Terrell (thigh) practiced Friday and are ready to go against the Bucs.
RAM BITS: Linehan said Friday that Terrell and Milford Brown will split duties against the Bucs this weekend…Right tackle Brandon Gorin is still learning the offense and isn’t quite ready to contribute according to Linehan. But there’s a good chance that he will start getting worked into the mix more in the coming weeks and could work his way into the mix at right tackle sooner than later…Tampa receiver Ike Hilliard (ankle) is struggling and his status this weekend is still up in the air…Left tackle Orlando Pace was set to have surgery before the end of the week to repair the torn labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder in Hou
Re: Rams Ready to Handle Heat
I would say take plenty of salt/potassium a couple days before the game and on the plan trip over get I.Vs to be hydrated to aviod cramping.
Re: Rams Ready to Handle Heat
From Your Friends in Nashville...
We had a unique opportunity to learn first-hand what outstanding personnel comprise the Rams organization. In the first place, Todd Hewitt, the team's Head Equipment Manager, took the iniative to seek out new ways to make his players more comfortable and increase their endurance in the heat. Todd invited us to test a technology we were developing in August, our cooling gel pack for football. As with any testing experience, a lot was learned. We expected the players to perceive that our packs didnt cool after a couple of minutes and that's exactly what happened. If you jump into a cold swimming pool it only feels cold for a minute. But your body didnt lower the temp of that pool, it just adjusted your perception of the temperature. That perception, combined with some adjustments that needed to be made to the gel pack's fit in order to reduce change out time from about 10 seconds to about 3 seconds, understandably left some players wondering whether this techology was beneficial. Fortunately, enough positive data was collected to warrant further trials next year, early in spring/summer training.
So even though I grew up a Chiefs fan, and now have some allegience to Titans, I have to say the great people in the Rams organization have made me a lifelong fan. I was there with you in spirit, way down in my gut, all season long. This is an organization that does it right, and when they arent blindsided by an unbelievable combination of injury and strange luck, they will show the nation just who they are.
Go Rams and thanks for the opportunity to work together!
Re: Rams Ready to Handle Heat
Thanks, Larry GelCool, classy post! ...And Welcome to the Clan! :bash:
I had read about that gel cooler innovation several weeks ago -- quite interesting. I'm sure it will evolve further and in time be more and more accepted, especially for the dreadful heat of September. Todd Hewitt is a good man and he takes care of his players; learned well from his dad.
Nice visit. GO RAMS! Even at 1-8, they're cool. :r
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