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  1. #1
    MFranke's Avatar
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    RamView training camp report: 8/1/2009 (a.m.)

    RamView Training Camp Report
    First practice, August 1, 2009

    The first practice Saturday was a little disappointing, to be honest. Today's session wasn't as fan-friendly to view as past sessions, not that
    there was much of a crowd at Rams Park to disappoint. And so far it looks like the defense is pretty far ahead of the offense. Although a lot of
    this morning's activities were hard to see, there was still some good stuff to see, so let's get into it. How much can really be bad when FOOTBALL IS BACK?

    * QB: I didn't get the best of looks at the QBs, and frankly, what I saw wasn't much to be impressed about. Lots of dumpoffs in 11-on-11. Kyle Boller and Brock Berlin did most of the throwing in passing drills and put some nice throws in tight spots. Berlin threw one into the ground later in 11-on-11, though. The goal line offense was a real mess from what I could see. They tried a lot of plays meant to get the ball out quickly but it ended up in a lot of rushed throws, deflections and knockdowns. I'm not sure there was even a TD completion during the drill (be mindful that they were on the FAR end of the practice field, though). Marc Bulger made the day's dumbest throw, rushing and trying to force a swing pass that OJ Atogwe jumped for a simulated TD. Bulger made a nice deep throw to Tim Carter later in 7-on-7 for a long simulated TD. Keith Null hasn't impressed me yet. He had the other pickoff I saw - he tried to lead a TE on a deep sideline route but the pass was too short, hit the trailing defender in the head, with Cord Parks claiming the rebound for the INT. I didn't see any great advertisement for Null's arm strength, or for the Rams' quarterbacking right now today, either.

    * RB: Got even less of a look at the RBs than the QBs. Samkon Gado got more reps than I noticed any other RB got. Steven Jackson and Kenneth Darby seemed to be used very lightly. Gado caught a lot of passes and looked adept at it. Didn't see anybody tear off any runs for significant gains, though. The drills I got to see focused on receiving, blocking and holding on to the ball. Everyone ran a few times through a machine I haven't seen out there before that I'll call an "arms machine" for lack of a better name and/or knowledge. The running game did not do much in 11-on-11, but nobody put the ball on the ground, so that's at least a good thing.

    * WR: One of two standouts to me from this morning's practice is Donnie Avery. He definitely won against Ron Bartell in passing drills, once turning Bartell completely inside out on a corner-type move. Bartell grabbed Avery by the shoulder pad the last time they faced off and Avery still made the catch despite the obvious interference. Like what I'm seeing so far from Avery in route-running and in physical play. Randy McMichael got a lot of looks in 7-on-7. Daniel Fells is already rumbling out there and nobody on D wants a part of him. Ronald Curry looked effective in passing drills though against very inexperienced opposition in Quincy Butler. The guy who "popped" a little bit out there was Nate Jones, who made some nice plays and fought off press coverage pretty nicely. Tim Carter beat Bartell and James Butler deep for the only long completion I saw. He also flashed at times. On the other hand, I'm going to have to significantly temper the high expectations I had for Sean Walker. He looked really slow and couldn't get open this morning.

    * OL: This morning's other standout as I saw it was Jason Smith, who got some snaps with the first unit. Whether that's a promotion or just a break for Adam Goldberg I cannot be sure, but J-Smooth had a promising morning. One play he locked on Victor Adeyanju and just drove him 15 yards downfield, with Victor unable to do anything but flail. Getting some reps with the starters later, Smith pancaked Adam Carriker. The kid played tenaciously, I didn't see him get beat and I have high enthusiasm for his work this morning. The official starting o-line was Alex Barron, Jacob Bell (I think), Jason Brown, Richie Incognito, and Goldberg at RT. I thought I only saw one time where a lineman got to Bulger in drills, though plenty of blitzers would have.

    * DL/LB: Darell Scott made a nice play during goal line drills to shut down a screen pass. That's pretty fine mobility on his part. Besides being the oldest player on the roster, Hollis Thomas appears to be the guy most likely to blow chunks on the field at some point. He looked like he was really struggling with his conditioning at times, and today was FAR from the worst of the summer weather we can get in St. Louis. Obviously he's playing his way into shape, or trying to. Chris Draft started at MLB but James Laurinaitis also got some snaps with the first unit. David Vobora made a nice play to stuff a screen pass and delivered the best hit I saw, though that was just a nice pop at best. And Quinton Culberson's back at it, flashing into the backfield to stuff one second-unit run. The defense overall has to be declared the winner of the practice. The running game never really got anywhere, they shut down all kinds of swing and screen passes, and they really appeared to shut the offense down at the goal line. From what I could see. The defense just seemed to play with a lot better tempo and energy than the offense did this morning. For instance, any time a ball got loose, even if it was just an incomplete pass bouncing downfield, they were hustling and competing over who could get to the loose ball.

    * DB: Ron Bartell was the head-scratcher of the day for me. Avery beat him consistently during passing drills, and when Carter beat him and James Butler deep for the morning's one long catch, Bartell wasn't going anywhere near top speed. Perhaps there was some miscommunication there, but Bartell's play I saw certainly was nothing to be turned on about. Tye Hill's, either. He appeared to have a lot of footing problems during passing drills. Since football games don't typically start at 8:15 a.m., I'm inclined to blow that off for now. Hill blitzed in free on Bulger several times in 11-on-11, though. Craig Dahl made one of the morning's better plays to shut down an outside play (I think it was a run). Justin King fared well defending the slot. Good morning for O.J. Atogwe, who stuffed a run and came in untouched a couple of times on blitzes. Bradley Fletcher looks all right so far. He's not getting pushed around, he's keeping the play in front of him and looks like he'll be a good fundamental tackler. He got praise for good recognition when the defense worked on their blitz package. Jonathan Wade looked better than I expected jamming receivers (though they were still making the catch in front of him). Cord Parks pretty much pwned Sean Walker. Walker'll be calling his hotel room drapes and blanket "Cord" when he gets back tonight.

    * Special teams: A bunch of guys participated in punt return drills. Derek Stanley and Ronald Curry appeared to be the primary competitors, but Keenan Burton, Avery and Parks also got some reps back there. Stanley and Curry had a muff apiece. The first ball Stanley played this morning went right through his breadbasket, and he made some other awkward-looking catches. My thought is, that drill gets boring pretty quickly and the guys try to make catches harder than they are to spice things up. Josh Brown appeared to miss a couple of 50-yarders before hitting the last one in the FG unit drill. I had a terrible angle, but he missed one for sure. Donnie Jones' punts all looked good.

    * Strategery: Steve Spagnuolo was primarily with the defense when I saw him. We are going to do some blitzing this year if practice is an indication. They worked a lot on the blitz package and brought Atogwe right up the middle a lot. And when they ran that blitz early in 11-on-11, Atogwe shot right through. Lots of CB blitzing going on, too. There was a little bit going on with end-arounds and fake end-arounds to Carter on offense but what I saw this morning was highly, highly vanilla. Players were in full pads; I didn't find it to be a terribly physical practice but I'm not sure what amount of contact to expect. We'll see if this afternoon's any different. The most vocal coach appears to be Leonard the TEs coach, though one of the OL coaches wasn't too hard to hear even from the far field.

    * Cheers: Nothing personal, everybody, but this morning's crowd was VERY disappointing. 300 at best. Great weather for it - mid 70s temperature, overcast, maybe a little humid - it's Saturday, nobody has to work - and still almost nobody shows up. Sigh. There are some problems getting to see everything, though. A lot takes place on the far field from the hill, the new AstroTurf field. If there were one-on-one lineman drills this morning, for instance, I missed them because they were out there. There is very little fan access - maybe a couple of bleachers - on the sidelines of the two grass practice fields running perpendicular to the hill. Fans used to have free rein moving up and down those sidelines but are mostly cut off now. And disturbingly, I couldn't figure out what the rest room arrangement is. Will try to nail that down this afternoon, though hopefully I won't HAVE to. 11-on-11 was extremely difficult to watch from the hill. The autograph tent is behind the near field end zone, so you've got that blocking your view as well as the players who aren't in the play. I had to grab a spot on the steepest part of the hill right by the building to see much of anything. And there are hornets up there. I've already mentioned the goal line drills went to the end zone on the far end of the same field, and this whole morning for me was a tough, fan-unfriendly viewing experience. We'll see if this afternoon's any better for viewing. The Rams are doing a good job P.R.-wise passing out posters and rosters, there are cheerleaders there selling calendars, the souvenir section is no longer a tent you have to walk through to get in and out, and the parking setup is run quite well, so the venue earns a good grade, depending what I figure out about restroom availability. But getting a good view of the action was pretty tough this morning, for me at least. Jackson and the running backs signed autographs afterwards. The Rams still do that part of training camp well.

    * What's next?: Hey, two-a-days aren't just for players. I'll take a stab at this afternoon's 2:45 practice and try to do a better job of seeing what's going on. That report'll be out later tonight.

    --Mike
    ramview.com
    ramview.blogspot.com


  2. #2
    Azul e Oro is online now Registered User
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    Re: RamView training camp report: 8/1/2009 (a.m.)

    Thanks so much for the man-on-the-scene report. I'm sure we all hope to read more of them as TC progresses.

    Don't know whether to be encouraged or disturbed to hear about the RZ D being better than the O and guys getting through on QB blitzes has an uncomfortable flashback quality to it.Since we were woeful on both sides of the ball in the RZ, I guess anything positive is good news.

    Hopefully there'll be better chances at seeing the O-linemen work such as our new center in general and whether Bell looks bigger/stronger.
    Last edited by Azul e Oro; -08-01-2009 at 02:57 PM.

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    StuckinTexasRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: RamView training camp report: 8/1/2009 (a.m.)

    Thanks, Mike!

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    Re: RamView training camp report: 8/1/2009 (a.m.)

    Thanks, Mike. Always appreciated.

    As Azul mentioned, I love camp reports, but every single one of them has me feeling the same way...........did one side play really well, or did the other side play really lousy?

    But hey, it's Rams football either way. Keep 'em coming, Mike.
    there are cheerleaders there selling calendars
    Oh gosh. Those poor girls; I told them not to wait on me, and I'd call later.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  5. #5
    MFranke's Avatar
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    Re: RamView training camp report: 8/1/2009 (a.m.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro View Post
    Thanks so much for the man-on-the-scene report. I'm sure we all hope to read more of them as TC progresses.

    Don't know whether to be encouraged or disturbed to hear about the RZ D being better than the O and guys getting through on QB blitzes has an uncomfortable flashback quality to it.Since we were woeful on both sides of the ball in the RZ, I guess anything positive is good news.

    Hopefully there'll be better chances at seeing the O-linemen work such as our new center in general and whether Bell looks bigger/stronger.
    Wish I had a worthy reply for your o-line question. Jacob Bell is bigger this season for sure. He looks like a chunk now, as my grandma would say. He's got some bulk compared to his lean look of last year.

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    Re: RamView training camp report: 8/1/2009 (a.m.)

    I really hope bartell is worth the Money its only one practice but hes gettng beat constantly by donnie avery on routes and beat by tim carter deep. . . I think tye hill is a lost cause his speed is one thing but when squaring off against much more taller physical recievers like plaxico burres , calvin johnson , roy williams to name a few he just can t do anything physically to keep them from scoring on him . . .
    Torry Holt Dont play that

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    Re: RamView training camp report: 8/1/2009 (a.m.)

    MF, just seeing your posts again means the new season's really here. I thought I wouldn't make it.
    The break, don't bend offense.

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    Ramer's Avatar
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    Re: RamView training camp report: 8/1/2009 (a.m.)

    I was really hoping to hear alto better things from the offense. I hope it was just an off day.

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    Azul e Oro is online now Registered User
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    Re: RamView training camp report: 8/1/2009 (a.m.)

    Quote Originally Posted by MFranke View Post
    Wish I had a worthy reply for your o-line question. Jacob Bell is bigger this season for sure. He looks like a chunk now, as my grandma would say. He's got some bulk compared to his lean look of last year.
    Thanks for the response. Let's hope there's some "thunk" in that chunk !

  10. #10
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: RamView training camp report: 8/1/2009 (a.m.)

    Quote Originally Posted by letsgoramz View Post
    I really hope bartell is worth the Money its only one practice but hes gettng beat constantly by donnie avery on routes and beat by tim carter deep. . .
    A.) It's just one practice. A season is neither made nor broken in the first 3,600 seconds of the preseason.

    B.) Why must it be that Bartell is that BAD. What leads us to believe that Avery and/or Carter aren't that GOOD?

    Just questions...
    I think tye hill is a lost cause his speed is one thing but when squaring off against much more taller physical recievers like ..., calvin johnson ...he just can t do anything physically to keep them from scoring on him . . .
    Actually Hill (Clemson) has seen his fair share of Johnson (Ga. Tech) and done quite well against him. That 42" vert. is a decent neutralizer in certain aspects of the game. Now, can he get out of his own head and just play the position? That's a separate issue. I for one hope he can.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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