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    Spags/Bulger/Devaney on the Mike

    Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo

    April 4, 2009

    (On what he’s learned about the team after five practices)

    “Well, I wouldn’t say I didn’t know it, but there was a lot of energy and a lot of great effort, which I appreciate. I felt that way when I would watch the end of last season. I always felt like it was a credit to these guys and the staff that was here a year ago that I thought there was some tremendous effort and they kept doing that these last two days, which I thought was big.”

    (On if the team is picking up his style)

    “Yeah, I think so, it appears that way. There’s nothing that tells me they’re not doing that, which I think is a good sign. I think the coaches have done a great job of preparing them and from an organizational point of view doing exactly what we want and that was important. When you start out, you want to take fire right away and I think the guys did that.”

    (On if minicamp helped him evaluate players he had doubts about)

    “No specific guys. All the coaches came out with a real open mind and really that’s what you want to do when you come in as a new staff. You don’t have predetermined notions of who can do what and who can’t do what. I did say this to the coaches in the meeting; let’s find out what they can do. Let’s not focus as much on the things that we can’t do. When we go in here and sit down and talk, hopefully we’ll get a lot of what we can do.”

    (On if these five practices help the staff determine a Draft plan)

    “Yeah, no question. And that was one of the reasons why (General Manager) Billy (Devaney) and I decided to have a camp before the Draft. I think that will be huge. It will be huge for him; I think it’ll be huge for me. It’s important.”

    (On his impressions of QB Marc Bulger)

    “Good. He threw the ball well. He’s probably going to be upset at me because we had the red zone drill going into the wind, instead of with the wind. But I tell him it’s already on the script what direction we’re going. But, no, I thought he did a nice job. He’s picking up the (offense). (Offensive coordinator) Pat (Shurmur) and (quarterbacks coach) Dick (Curl) have really worked with him and they’ve done a nice job.”

    (On CB Tye Hill)

    “I tell you what, Tye’s a good football player. I thought that coming in. What I liked is all four of them did work well together communication wise and that’s not easy when you put some different parts together. It helped that (S) James (Butler) was here and knew the system a little bit and I think he shared that with them. But I thought all four of them worked well together and I thought Tye fit right in there. I thought he did a nice job.”

    (On if Hill was able to fully participate)

    “There wasn’t anything that I remember him taking himself out of. I think if you asked him he’d say he did it all. And I’m sure he’s a little rusty. He’s got to knock a little bit of the rust off, but it was a good beginning. Like I said, to me, things like getting lined up and communicating well and everybody being on the same page is just as important now as doing the physical stuff.”

    (On if LB Will Witherspoon is playing outside linebacker)

    “He did. He will be what we call the “Will” linebacker.”

    (On if he’s excited to see what Witherspoon can do)

    “Yeah, I remember the things he did even prior to coming here when he was at Carolina. I always thought he was a disruptive, energetic, productive, playmaking linebacker and I want to put a lot of pressure on him and make sure he’s that guy. I think he can do that. I like the way Will plays.”

    (On if the term disruptive is a good characteristic in defensive players)

    “Yeah, you would certainly like all positions to be like that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a cornerback or defensive lineman. If you can disrupt the things the offense is doing, you usually have a better chance to play good defense.”

    (On how the young veterans on defense did this week)

    “We’re not going to be impatient. Any time you put a whole new system in for every guy for really everybody besides (S) James Butler and (S) Craig Dahl, who is with us, we don’t expect it to happen over night. I think they’ll develop. I just told them now that it was a solid beginning and by beginning I mean the last three weeks. What we have to make sure is we don’t go backwards and have to make sure we keep climbing forward.”

    (On Dahl’s knee injury from last season)

    “No, he’s not totally 100 percent. As a matter of a fact, I believe yesterday afternoon he had to take part of the practice off. I think two practices a day wear on an injury when you have surgery like that. But if we monitor it a little bit and the trainers have done a good job I think he’ll be ok. He played some games for us two years ago in New York and looked like he was going to be a real quality safety. We’ll just see how he bounces back from surgery.”

    (On where G Jacob Bell has been practicing)

    “Left guard. He’s been doing a nice job too.”

    (On the plan for the upcoming weeks)

    “There will be a minicamp right after the draft very similar to this one. Then, we kind of get into OTAs and then wrap it around one more minicamp. We have an advantage because we get basically two extra minicamps.”

    Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur

    April 4, 2009

    (On how much of the offensive scheme was put in place this weekend)

    “We gave them some scheme, but this camp really the focus was to teach them how to practice, teach them the pace and the tempo, give them some scheme to see what they can learn. And then we really focused on the fundamentals.”

    (On if he was pleased with what he saw from the team)

    “I’m so impressed with the eagerness the players (showed). It’s like we’re starting a movie over. And they’re really kind of buying in to what we’re trying to teach. Their effort and their enthusiasm and their competitive spirit was great this camp.”

    (On if the attitude of the players made it easier to work during the minicamp)

    “Yeah, the player’s attitude was great and we just have to build on it. We’ll reload this camp coming up here in a couple of weeks and what you try to do is just give it to them time and time and time again. Focus on the fundamentals and then see if that thing carries over to the games next Fall.”

    (On if he felt that the team competed hard at the end of last season after watching film)

    “I felt great about the way these guys competed and I’m sure that’s what Coach (Steve Spagnuolo) saw last year at the end of the season. These guys are terrific. Their attention to detail’s great. They’re playing fast. And when they make mistakes they do a good job of correcting them and then moving on and then not having that same mistake show up again.”

    (On his initial impressions of QB Marc Bulger)

    “I was pleased. What Marc showed me and us is that he’s a good decision-maker, he’s a very accurate passer and he gets the ball out on time. All things that are primary to being a good quarterback.”

    (On leaving Jacob Bell at left guard instead of moving him to right tackle during this camp)

    “We left him at left guard, the position he’s played quite a bit, and he did a nice job. Typically linemen tend to move around and there’s not too much to read into it. Those guys, guards, play tackle and tackles play guard. That’s something that they’ll all have to do. But he did a nice job.”

    (On how the team’s young receiving corps performed in minicamp)

    “They were great. You can tell that we’ve got some guys here in the young receivers that you mentioned that are very talented. They competed well. They’re taking to the scheme and I’m very impressed with their effort and their enthusiasm and some of the plays they made.”

    (On the skill set of WR Donnie Avery)
    “Donnie Avery, obviously, is tremendously fast and he’s quick. And we worked a lot on him getting off the line of scrimmage and getting down the field. So all those things are things that you can’t teach. But what he did do was he paid attention to the details and I thought for the most part he did a nice job of catching the football which is obviously primary for a receiver.”

    (On if “the little things” will help Avery take the next step in his career)

    “Yeah, the details of the passing game are important for all receivers of all ages. And because he’s kind of hearing this stuff for the first time that’s very important for him and we’ll see huge gains in what he is as a player.”

    (On WR Keenan Burton)

    “I like Keenan. I thought he did a nice job also on working on the details. He gets in and out of routes very well. Catches the ball well. I think he’ll be a fine playmaker for us as well.”

    (On if he has a sense that Bulger wants to return to his “Pro Bowl form”)

    “I do. He’s been, as I mentioned, one of the guys that’s been very eager. He’s put a lot of time in before the camp so that he could come here and execute. I’m very pleased with what he did.”

    (On TE Randy McMichael)

    “Randy did a nice job. He showed up all three days making plays. He caught a touchdown today. I’m pleased with what he’s going to be to this team. He did a nice job working on his blocking. I think he can be an all-around tight end for us.”

    Defensive Coordinator Ken Flajole

    April 4, 2009

    (on minicamp)

    I like what I saw from an effort standpoint. We had five practices, again we are in shorts so you can’t make too many conclusions from that, but I am excited about their effort. They seem to have really bought in to what we are asking them to do. We have to clean up the execution a little bit, but they understand that. It’s a good first start.”

    (on young veterans stepping up on defense)

    “You hope so. Just like anything else, you mature as an individual and you mature as a football team. Certainly, the younger guys have to get better everyday. The older guys you hope provide some veteran leadership, so I think that we are working in the right direction. I really like the chemistry of our room and I like how guys are working. You just have to keep sawing the wood and stay after it.”

    (on Will Witherspoon)

    “I do have a comfort level with Will Witherspoon as an outside linebacker because that is what he played for us when I was at Carolina. We are playing a lot of different combinations right now and nothing is set in stone. This is only five practices so no one has been rubber stamped in a position at all. He has gravitated to it well. With the way the rosters are now in the National Football League, so many guys have to interchangeable. With the 45-man active roster on game day, outside linebackers have to learn how to play inside linebackers, because you can never predict injury situations. It’s a start for him. It’s where we would like to get a look at him to begin with, and so far so good.”

    (on familiarity with LB Chris Draft)

    “It’s nice to see some familiar faces and he done a nice job in this camp. We are going to keep all ores in the water and keep rowing the boat forward.”

    (on where LB Pisa Tinoisamoa will be playing)

    “We played him as our Sam linebacker at this camp. We will go back because it is a constant evaluation. We will just keep it mixing around. Pisa is going to have to lean where Witherspoon is playing, and Witherspoon is going to have to play where Pisa is at, and Draft is going to have to play outside a little bit. They are going to have to get good feel for all the positions. What we are trying to do in this camp is this – we were trying to evaluate guys and trying to see how our football team is. We try to get them stuck in one position right now so that maybe I guy was as bogged down mentally trying to learn multiple positions. At some point and time, we are going to ask some guys to learn more than one position, as we know because of the roster in our league and the game day actives. Right now, we just try to keep them in one spot and try to see what they can do.”

    (on Tye Hill)

    “I don’t have any impression from Tye from before. I know that he had had some injury situation. We are just excited the fact that he is healthy and he is out here working and he is learning our defense. To have him out on the field is a great thing, so we will keep working.”

    (on difference between outside and inside linebackers

    “There is a little bit of difference between the outside guys and the middle linebacker, there is no question. The outside guys, there are probably more similarities than there are differences as far as some assignment things, because by formation, teams can make out your strong outside linebacker, your weak outside linebacker by just moving an offensive guy. There are some similarities there. The Mike a little bit different.”

    (on being ready for the season to begin)

    “We are excited that we got a chance to work with this team for the first time. You see a lot of faces and you know a lot of names, but when you are in the meeting room you never get a great appreciation for what these guys can do. I have heard about the great veteran leadership that we had, it was great to seem some of these older guys come out on the field and take charge. It is nice to get out here and it is good to get some work done.”

    (on Leonard Little)

    “I have been impressed with Leonard. Again, qualifying it by saying we have had five practices in shorts and jerseys. What I have been impressed with him is how much of a professional he is from the standpoint of how he learns, how he leads the young guys, I like his work ethic as an older player. That is a great role model for the younger guys. Great locker room guy to have.”

    (on the depth of the defensive line)

    “We are always looking at any way we can improve your football team, not only through free agency but through the Draft. I would think that we are probably going to have to go in and take a look at all positions and find out how we can better our team, the line being one of them.”

    (on Adam Carriker playing nose tackle)

    “We actually play two inside tackles, left and right. We wanted to get a better feel for who could be a three-technique, who could be a nose, who played better out of a left-handed stance, who played better out of a right-handed stance. It is probably technical things that you guys don’t care a whole lot about, but again we are trying to evaluate where is the best fit for our players to give them the best chance to be successful. We didn’t have a designated three-technique or a designated nose guard, we just played them left and right and they had to learn how to play both positions.

    QB Marc Bulger

    April 4, 2009

    (On how his weekend was)

    “It was nice to get back out here a little early. Earlier than usual. A little windier than usual. It was a learning experience, but it was also fun.”

    (On having to throw against the wind at practice)

    “Yeah, that’s what I was kind of kidding around with him (Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo) about, but the NFC East, it’s windy up in the Meadowlands and Philly and all that, so I guess we have to get used to it.”

    (On if Coach Spagnuolo knows he plays in a dome)

    “It will be good practice.”

    (On his impression of Spagnuolo)

    “Just from the locker room, we’re upbeat. Guys are taking, I think, a lot more responsibility this year. We know there’s one goal right now and that’s to win games and ultimately to win a Super Bowl. It’s not about any individual Pro Bowls or upcoming contracts or next year or trying to build a foundation. It’s literally winning games now and as a team. That’s jus the constant message, unity and team and sticking together.”

    (On the young receivers)

    “They did a good job. I know my first year in New Orleans, I struggled a lot more than those guys did. We’re all learning together, which is a good thing. Like I’ve said in the past, it’s been tougher for guys to come in and pick up the offense we had because it had been in place for so long, but now having a completely new structure it’s good that we’re all making the same mistakes together and able to correct them a lot quicker.”

    (On if it was strange to not have WR Torry Holt at practice)

    “Not yet. It’s still early and the last couple years he hasn’t participated much in them anyways. (WR) Donnie (Avery) and (WR) Keenan (Burton) are making their mark right now. Now that they’re healthy and had a couple months off they’re flying around right now.”

    (On his mindset after the offense had two difficult years)

    “Just have to put it behind you. Whether it’s a play or season or a game, as quarterback you just can’t let that bother you. Obviously, it has been two difficult years, but again with the team mentality right it’d be selfish of myself to start thinking about how rough it was and then feeling sorry for myself or how rough it’s been. It’s a clean slate. Coach has told us in team meeting how we all have to act like we’re rookies again. I think everyone’s taking that approach and we’re just going to pretend like it’s our first year and just go from there.”

    (On if there was any doubt in his mind about his place on the team after a new coach was hired)

    “Everything happened pretty quick this offseason. It was disappointing like I said. New staff’s hired you that you obviously don’t know, but they welcomed me in, as I welcomed them and it’s been a great relationship so far. I think once we start winning games it will even get stronger.”

    (On his initial impression of the offensive scheme and how much has been installed)

    “I think it was just a matter of getting some things on film, so we could correct initial mistakes. I honestly don’t know how much we put in because I don’t know how much is in this offense. I think they tested us a little bit just to see what we could take and I think everybody did a great job. I’m sure coach Shurmur has a lot more we’ll install next minicamp and the following one and that’s the advantage we get with this new staff is having three minicamps that we get five practices out of in each.”

    (On how he describes Pat Shurmur)

    “I think he has a real knowledge of this offense. I think he was with Philly for nine years in the same system, same quarterback, same head coach, which gave him structure. When he’s in meetings he’s controlled, he’s deliberate and he’s confident. He’s not up there just saying things to say them I think. He has a complete understanding of the offense. It’s nice if you have a question, you get an answer and it seems like every time it’s right. It’s going to be fun to learn from him.”

    (On how it feels to have some stability with one coordinator for an extended amount of time)

    “That’s up to the players. We need to win some games and when you win games you get that stability, not only with your teammates, but with your coaches and other people. It’s the nature of our business right now and we know that all our livelihoods are based on upon winning games. And we haven’t done a good enough job the last couple years. We’re looking to change that.”

    (On how bad he wants to get back to a Pro Bowl level)

    “I haven’t thought about it honestly. It’s just winning football games. I know that’s our message and however we do it. If we can get 10 guys on offense to the Pro Bowl and I’m the one who’s not there, then great as long as we’re playing in January and early February it doesn’t matter.”

    General Manager Billy Devaney

    April 4, 2009

    (On how much the minicamp practices will help the team with its draft plan and the rest of free agency)

    “Not much. We’re not going to alter our draft board based on what we see out here, guys kind of running around in shorts and t-shirts. That wasn’t the intent. We didn’t think going in that with these couple of practices that we’d find out about guys and say, ‘You know what, forget about drafting this position, we need to move on to this position based off of practices.’ It was more just to get our feet wet with the players and coaches and really has no effect on the draft.”

    (On If the practices give the team any idea about what kind of depth the team has)

    “Where it does affect you draft-wise is we had some workout guys in here. And what we’ll do is compare those guys to the undrafted free agents after the Draft. So as far as the bottom of the roster and who we bring to camp, that part helps a lot. There’ll be some of those nine workout guys we’ll bring back for training camp. Other guys, we’ll evaluate and say ‘You know what, we can do better’ and get college free agents.”

    (On if the team has to consider trade scenarios with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft)

    “Yeah, in the position we’re in we’ll consider everything. It’s a little early. We kind of play with scenarios in our mind right now, but we haven’t gotten down to the nitty-gritty, if you will, to say, ‘OK, how far back would we trade?’ We’re going to be open to all possibilities, but we haven’t started to really finalize and say, ‘We’d be willing to go back this far and that’s it.’ So we’re working towards that point, but we’re far from that point right now.”

    (On if “the phone lines are open”)

    “They’re always open. But they’re open for everybody, and ours certainly will be open.”

  2. #2
    Aussie Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Spags/Bulger/Devaney on the Mike

    good read that, a couple of things i found interesting though:
    jacob bell is practicing at left guard not right tackle like planned earlier. i know its early and just practice but does that point to us drafting monroe/smith.

    the other was spags saying that the practice would affect their draft boards and thats why he and billy d held it before the draft, then in billy's interview he said it would make no difference to our draft?

  3. #3
    C-Mob 71's Avatar
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    Re: Spags/Bulger/Devaney on the Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Dave View Post
    good read that, a couple of things i found interesting though:
    jacob bell is practicing at left guard not right tackle like planned earlier. i know its early and just practice but does that point to us drafting monroe/smith.
    I don't necessarily think you draft a RT with the second overall pick in the draft. If they really think Barron is a core player and can hold up well protecting the blind side, then I could see us waiting till the later rounds to draft a RT. That being said I'm a Curry guy, any one reading on here the past couple weeks could tell you that, but I would be fine if we take any of the top players. I just think that we don't HAVE to draft one particular position. If the best guy is a LT, then we should draft him. If he's a LB, then I'll be ecstatic.

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    Re: Spags/Bulger/Devaney on the Mike

    It looks like we are doing alot of left and right for positions on defense, but it does look like Spoon will be on the weekside. If we are going to play 3 LBs 240 and under we are definately going to need a bigger NT to protect them, and I think Flajole kinda hinted to that.

  5. #5
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Spags/Bulger/Devaney on the Mike

    As expected, there is an overall sense of everyone being upbeat, positive about improving in 09. GO RAMS!

  6. #6
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    Re: Spags/Bulger/Devaney on the Mike

    Why don't you just post a novel here next time????

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    thoey's Avatar
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    Re: Spags/Bulger/Devaney on the Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyramsfan View Post
    Why don't you just post a novel here next time????
    I guess you would like it better if the originating poster just posted the following:

    "Some players and coaches from the Rams spoke today. They all said nice things about each other." THE END
    This space for rent...

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