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Thread: Sunday Afternoon [Nick Wagoner]
Sunday Afternoon [Nick Wagoner]
Sunday, April 23, 2006
- The first of three minicamps came to an end Sunday morning and coach Scott Linehan was pleased with the results. It was a fairly light workout in the morning and it came to its end around 11 a.m. Linehan was most pleased with the way the team seemed willing to listen and adapt to what he is teaching. Of course, the real crash courses are yet to come for the offense.
- The defense, on the other hand, is way ahead of the curve. They kicked off today's practice with a safety blitz and Linehan joked afterward that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett already has most of his blitz packages in. At least, I think he was joking. Haslett's impact is noticeable already in that it seems like there is more intensity and urgency on that side of the ball during practice. Again, it's early and that caveat needs to be put in there, but so far so good.
- Receiver/returner Brad Pyatt was back in action Sunday morning sans the red jersey. He got plenty of work in kick and punt return drills this weekend.
- Tight end Rod Trafford did have the red jersey on Sunday morning. Trafford was actually pretty impressive this weekend and showed soft hands in most of his pass catching opportunities. He could be someone to keep an eye on as training camp approaches.
- One player Linehan was particularly happy with during camp was cornerback Travis Fisher. Fisher needs to have two more big minicamps and a big training camp. Linehan has made it clear that Fisher is being challenged to step up and perform this year and it's up to Fisher to produce. He is in his walk year and the going rate for an injury prone cornerback that struggles isn't much. Fisher's good start needs to continue.
- Linebacker Will Witherspoon returned from his fundraiser Sunday morning and continued to look impressive. There aren't going to be many middle linebackers in the league that can run like Witherspoon can. Between he and Pisa Tinoisamoa, there is plenty of speed to burn in the linebacking corps.
- The other speed is going to be an open competition. As it stands, Brandon Chillar and Raonall Smith are likely to compete for the SAM backer position. Linehan says he likes what Smith brings to the table when he is in "bubble" situations. In other words, he likes Smith away from the line of scrimmage. Smith showed pretty good range and coverage skills in the workouts, but Linehan says he needs to work on his ability to get off blocks and get to the quarterback. Chillar is still recovering from injury, but Linehan speaks highly of him as well. Of course, it won't be a surprise to anyone if the Rams come out of the first day or even the first round with another linebacker.
- The Rams are now fully turning their attention to the draft. Linehan said Sunday that the interest in a quarterback is very real. He even went as far as to say it isn't a smokescreen. Of course, that could be the perfect indication that it IS a smokescreen. But, while I have my doubts about the interest in Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler, I do believe the interest in Vince Young and Matt Leinart would be real. Young, for one, is a clear favorite of Linehan's because of his game breaking ability and unique skill set. For me, I would prefer that defense or a tight end is the choice, but I wouldn't argue with taking Young should he slip. He's just too darn intriguing. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson and quarterback coach Doug Nussmeier will be traveling to Houston today to meet with Young. Linehan is not a part of the traveling party as the team stacks its board over the next couple of days. The meeting with Young will be a dinner and getting to know you session, there is no workout.
- From a few conversations this weekend, the Rams' interest in Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway is greater than what was once thought. Some believe Greenway is more than capable of playing the strong side and would be a nice fit into Haslett's scheme because of his ability to run well.
- If Michael Huff is on the board when the Rams come up, it'd be a surprise if they took longer than two minutes to turn their card in. He's rising on many boards.
- To again answer the question that keeps popping up in my email about the possibility of A.J. Hawk falling to the Rams at No. 11, here goes. Yes, if Hawk was there, there is no question whatsoever he would be the guy. No, I don't believe it's possible that he will be there when the Rams come up. For that to happen, a couple of teams will have to throw curveballs (perhaps Buffalo taking Winston Justice instead of a Vernon Davis, Huff or Brodrick Bunkley) and all three quarterbacks will have to be gone in the top 10. It's a possibility, but it's a tiny one.
- That's all for this weekend, but the draft previews will continue this week culminating in the mock draft Friday afternoon. I'd like to make this week's mailbag all draft questions, so send those queries in.
Re: Sunday Afternoon [Nick Wagoner]- From a few conversations this weekend, the Rams' interest in Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway is greater than what was once thought. Some believe Greenway is more than capable of playing the strong side and would be a nice fit into Haslett's scheme because of his ability to run well.RamsFan16