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Thread: Rams Team Report - Aug 10
Rams Team Report - Aug 10
Rams Team Report
12 hours, 27 minutes ago
• It has been an emotional two weeks for new Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo.
Preparing for his first training camp as a head coach, and then dealing with the July 28 death of former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
Spagnuolo, who was hired as Philadelphia’s linebackers coach in 1999 and coached there for eight years, has often referred to Johnson as his mentor.
“His imprint is all over this,” Spagnuolo said as Rams camp opened. “Every day, he is in my thoughts. I can hear his voice, gruff and growling, every day.”
So it was, on the ninth day of Rams camp, Spagnuolo missed the team’s morning practice so he could travel to Philadelphia for Johnson’s memorial service. The timing worked out well because he was able to get back 90 minutes prior to a previously scheduled 6:30 scrimmage.
“It’ll be one of those days I know I’ll go back and remember for a long time,” Spagnuolo said after the scrimmage. “I think I did the right thing; I’m glad I went to see Jim. It was very, very soothing for me to see all the people that showed up. I can’t tell you the overwhelming display of love for Jim Johnson in Philadelphia.
“There’s something to be said for having a memorial, having wakes. People need to be around each other. … I felt good about it. And I know Jim’s in a better place … luckily for me all the flights went right.”
As for the scrimmage, many in the organization wondered about the attendance because fan presence at training camp practices has been small, mostly due to a practice facility that isn’t set up for crowds.
Conversely, the scrimmage was at the 6,500-seat Lindenwood University field, and the team was pleasantly gratified. Attendance was estimated at 7,500 with fans standing all around the field or sitting on the grass in one of the end zones.
Said Spagnuolo, “I want to be sure I publicly thank all of the fans here. I thought the turnout was great. That means a lot to the players. … a lot to the coaches, to the organization. Hopefully we can give just as much back with our play.”
Added executive vice-president of football operations Kevin Demoff, “It was exciting to see people in jerseys, and here early and staying late. It was a great night for the organization. It was a good way to start off what I consider to be the preseason campaign.”
Camp Calendar: Camp breaks Aug. 23.
• Coach Steve Spagnuolo admitted he isn’t easy to please when it comes to performance in practice.
He said, “I’m always going to want it better; that’s just (me). There’s lulls in there, and one of the things we’ve talked about is, we want to be (advancing), and not going up and down. If we can get rid of some of the lulls, we’ll be OK.”
One thing Spagnuolo has no problem with is the team’s approach to work.
“The attitude’s been great,” he said. “This group is a very competitive group; that’s what we’re kind of learning. That’s a good thing. They want to compete, they want to get better, they want to be in those situations where it’s tough on them.
“You continue to think like that, I’ve got to believe it’s going to help us.”
• The “mild” St. Louis summer has surprised many, including coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was warned how brutal the heat and humidity can get. But it simply hasn’t been the case.
While the perception is that coaches would like their team to deal with extreme heat, Spagnuolo admitted to being “torn on that.” He added, “The adage would be, get the hot weather to make it tougher on them. But you know what, you get a lot of work done when the weather’s like this because they’re a little fresher. They get a little bit more ‘in tune.’ They’re not thinking of the heat, they’re just thinking about playing.”
• Fullback Mike Karney injured his ankle in a morning practice Aug. 3 and then missed three days of work before getting in some limited time Friday morning, Aug. 7. That part of practice was conducted at a pace similar to a walk-through.
The team’s media policy doesn’t allow interviews with injured players until they return to practice. Friday morning, Karney was a blocker in a goal-line install period and also took a handoff.
However, when reporters requested Karney fort a post-practice interview, it was denied, with the explanation that “he didn’t practice.”
In the scrimmage, Karney had some participation in warm-ups, but did not work during live plays.
• The Rams revealed the two games during the season when they will wear “throwback” uniforms. The team will wear the color scheme used from 1973-99. That final year is the 10th anniversary of the Super Bowl win over the Tennessee Titans.
Those uniforms will be work for home games Oct. 11 against Minnesota and Dec. 20 against Houston.
Said Kevin Demoff, the team’s executive vice president of football operations/chief operating officer, “The Rams are one of the most storied franchises in NFL history, and even as we look to start a new chapter in Rams’ history, this is an exciting opportunity to pay homage to our past and celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Super Bowl victory. Our fans at the Minnesota and Houston games will be part of history as they see their team in the same colors as Rams’ greats from the past.”
Quotes To Note: “I feel like there’s definitely an attitude developing. These live periods force people to compete; it’s different than just tagging off on the ball carrier. So I think that’s been a real positive for us. Although it’s physical and takes a toll, it makes us stronger as a team.”—DE Chris Long on the physical nature of the team’s training camp.
“There’s a big jump you’ve got to make from Year 1 to Year 2, and we’re hoping Chris makes that.”—Coach Steve Spagnuolo on Long.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
During the first 10 days of training camp, the Rams didn’t make any roster moves. However, at least one will be coming with safety Eric Bassey lost for the season because of a knee injury suffered in the team’s Aug. 7 scrimmage. Bassey was waived/injured, and will go on injured reserve once he clears waivers.
• WR Donnie Avery is out for at least four weeks and maybe as much as six after suffering a foot injury in the team’s Aug. 7 scrimmage. The specific diagnosis was not immediately revealed by the team.
• S Eric Bassey suffered a torn ACL Aug. 7 in a scrimmage and is expected to be lost for the season. Bassey was waived/injured, and will revert to injured reserve once he clears waivers.
• DT Adam Carriker is expected to miss two weeks after suffering a sprained ankle in the team’s Aug. 7 scrimmage.
• DT Gary Gibson was working with the first unit in practice Aug. 9 with Adam Carriker sidelined by an ankle injury.
• S Craig Dahl did not practice Sunday (Aug. 9) because of a hamstring injury suffered two days before in the team’s scrimmage.
• MLB James Laurinaitis(notes) worked extensively with the first team in practice Aug. 9.
• LB Chris Draft, who has been in the middle for the first 10 days of training camp, moved to the strong side Sunday (Aug. 9) as rookie James Laurinaitis took all the snaps in the middle.
Battle Of The Week: Rookie James Laurinaitis vs. Chris Draft at MLB—Technically, it’s not really a competition. The hope is that Laurinaitis wins the job, and he makes improvement daily. One day, 60 minutes after practice, he did an interview with Sirius NFL Radio, and had his playbook with him. The sooner coaches are comfortable with Laurinaitis the better, because the next decision will be whether to have Draft start on the strong side. In Sunday’s practice Aug. 9, Laurinaitis worked exclusively with the first unit and Draft was on the strong side.
Other Battle Fronts: Rookie RB Chris Ogbonnaya is making a case for winning a spot among the top backups to Steven Jackson. Kenneth Darby appears assured of one job, while Ogbonnaya, Samkon Gado and Antonio Pittman compete for what be just two spots. Gado has looked solid, and has also got some reps at fullback. Pittman could be in danger of being released.
Rookie Report: RT Jason Smith(first round) has been getting an education going against DE Leonard Little in practice. … MLB James Laurinaitis (second round) is working more and more with the first team, and might not be far away from being the starter … WR Brooks Foster(notes) (fifth round) has been making plays each day in practice, and scored on a 10-yard reverse in the Aug. 7 scrimmage. … QB Keith Null(sixth round) is pleased with his own progress, but understands when he doesn’t get many reps in practice. Null is competing with Brock Berlin(notes) for the No. 3 job. “That’s pretty much how it is for every rookie,” Null said. “They’ve got to show what they can do in the least amount of reps. It’s a good thing, too. You get to watch the veterans and learn from them.” Null has been watching starter Marc Bulger closely. Said Null, “He’s great in the pocket, always turning his hips, getting them in line with his throw. That’s something that I struggle with, so it’s great to watch him and learn from that.” Null said he is at least comfortable with the playbook. “Those first OTAs were rough, trying to learn the playbook,” he said. “We installed the whole playbook in those 16-20 practices. Now everything is review for me. I haven’t had too many mess-ups with the terminology.”
Injury Report: WR Donnie Avery is expected to be out four-to-six weeks after suffering a foot injury Aug. 7 … S Eric Bassey is lost for the season after suffering a torn ACL Aug. 7. … DT Adam Carriker sprained his left ankle, the same ankle that limited his effectiveness for several games last season. … S Craig Dahl “tweaked” a hamstring Aug.7 and did not practice two days later
Re: Rams Team Report - Aug 10
Great to hear something about Foster. I really want to see this guy shine...
Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams
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