Post-Practice 1 – Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo Press Conference – July 30, 2009



(On how it feels to start training camp)

“I would imagine, all the way around the country in this league, everybody’s fired up to get going football-wise.”



(On what he envisions DT Hollis Thomas’ role will be with the Rams)

“Hollis is a guy that I have a little bit of history with and he’s a big defensive tackle who’s played a lot of football in the league. I’ve been saying it to the team, and I’ve been saying it to everybody, it does start up front. We’ll see what he can do. He’s been away from football for a little bit. We’ve got to remember he didn’t go through OTAs so he’s probably got to knock some rust off but I think he’ll be fine.”



(On Thomas’ run defense)

“He’s always been a really good run defender. He’s a very, very smart football player. The last experience I had with him he’d find ways to get everybody lined up so that was attractive to us.”



(On if his relationship with Thomas helped the Rams sign him)

“I’d like to think that, but I guess you’d have to ask him. But he did have some other things going.”



(On how much of a concern it is not to have first-round choice T Jason Smith at practice)

“We just worry about the guys that are here, but I will leave here and go check with (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/Chief Operating Officer) Kevin (Demoff) and see where we’re at. I think we’re real close, but I’ll let Kevin let me know.”



(On what he needs to see out of LB Larry Grant)

“The same as all the linebackers. Playing that position is a physical game. We’ve got to see some physical play out of them. In any system, it’s not just our defensive system, you’ve got to be a smart football player. So the sooner the guys pick it up the better off they’re going to be.”



(On if “smart football player” describes LB James Laurinaitis)

“I have to talk about the group. No, he is a smart football player. I can’t take that away from James. But we’re looking for all of them to be like that. I don’t think our defense is any different than any of the others in the league. You can’t play if you don’t know what you’re doing.”



(On what he is trying to get accomplished with the practices featuring rookies, quarterbacks and selected vets)

“As much as anything, for players and coaches, knocking the rust off a little bit. We’re getting used to a new field. There are some logistical things – I already noticed in certain areas it’s really tight so we’ll have to adjust things. So it’s almost good to do that along with the players coming in and having an extra day, especially the young guys. The anxiety of training camp, knock that out a little bit, and then tomorrow hopefully things will be a little smoother.”



(On if WR Derek Stanley is further along in his recovery from a knee injury than he thought)

“I’ll be honest with you, I only saw two or three things. My eyes are everywhere. We’re optimistic on Derek.”



(On carrying only one kicker in camp)

“Anything can happen later, but going in it was we feel real good about our kicker and when the NFL decided to change the rule to limit (the roster) to 80 (for training camp) one person actually makes a big difference.”



(On if he is worried about overworking K Josh Brown)

“We’ve talked extensively about that and that’s why we’ve got JUGS machines.”



(On how he sees the Rams return game)

“Well we have to see Derek (Stanley) because we haven’t seen him all spring and then all the other guys that have been back there. Right now, (Special Teams Coordinator) Tom (McMahon) is evaluating that position all the time. Anybody and everybody’s going to have a shot at it. We did a little bit of that in the spring. We’ve eliminated some guys but there’s a pool of guys there we’re working with.”



(On the differences in the first day of training camp as a head coach compared to as a defensive coordinator)

“I knew exactly where I was going when I was the defensive coordinator. Here I have to kind of bounce all over the place. But I was just trying to get my eyes on everything, more logistically than anything. The coaches have it covered with the rookies. What we do in these two practices we’ll just end up doing again Friday and Saturday for these guys so it will be a complete review. Being out of the field and having a whistle feels the same to me.”