By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
03/30/2006

ORLANDO, FLA. It's all but official, Rams coach Scott Linehan said Wednesday. For the second consecutive summer, the Rams will hold training camp at their Earth City facility in suburban St. Louis.

"It's about 99 percent official," he said. "We've just got to tie up some loose ends. But it looks like it's going to work."

Although the training camp schedule has yet to be finalized, Linehan plans to have open practices for fans.

"I think that's what training camp is for," Linehan said. "People can get close to, and watch, their favorite players perform in practice. If they've got a little time in the summer to come out and watch 'em, I think it's a great thing." Advertisement


Freshman orientation

Linehan has been going non-stop since being named Rams head coach in January, but he still enjoyed attending his first NFL owners meetings.

"What was great was getting a chance to meet the other head coaches," he said. "I had met some of them before. But maybe even better was meeting the first-time head coaches, and bouncing things off each other, and kind of being in support of each other.

"We're all in the same boat. We're all trying to get the same thing done, the same goals accomplished. It gives you a little bit of security knowing that you're not the only one going through it this year."

Rams matters

While in Orlando, Linehan met with team president John Shaw and president of football operations Jay Zygmunt to get an update on the team's salary-cap status, discuss moves made by the team in free agency and talk about potential moves.

The Rams are still working on signing free-agent linebacker Raonall Smith of Minnesota and hope to have a deal done by the end of the week.

Linehan has attended several pro days - the campus workouts where college draft candidates perform for NFL coaches, scouts and executives. He will attend one more pro day - the University of Southern California extravaganza on Sunday, featuring running back Reggie Bush, quarterback Matt Leinart and a host of other Trojans draft prospects.

When he returns to Rams Park, Linehan will begin honing in on the draft. Under league rules, the Rams are allowed to bring in 30 draft prospects for physicals and interviews in April. (The prospects aren't allowed to work out.)

"It's not necessarily guys that are going to be your first pick or second pick," Linehan said. "It might be people down the list a little bit. Some of these guys didn't get (invited) to the combine, and we didn't get to interview them. This is the only way we can get them, so I think that's a positive thing."

In a switch from the past, all 30 prospects will be brought into Rams Park over a two-day period.