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Team Report: Inside Slant

Inside Slant | Notes and Quotes | Strategy and Personnel
The status of running back Marshall Faulk remains in doubt.

Faulk has been absent for all of the team's offseason program while rehabilitating his knees in California. In February, Faulk had what was described as "clean-up" surgery on both knees.

During a chat with espn.com in April, Faulk said his knees were "doing pretty well," and added, "I haven't done a lot but am getting into rehab now, maybe a week or two away from the rigorous portion."

However, with the team's mandatory minicamp beginning Friday (June 9), Rams coach Scott Linehan was told the day before by agent Rocky Arceneaux that Faulk would not be participating in the minicamp.

Faulk was married on May 9 in Orlando and he will be busy with activities for his foundation during the weekend. He is introducing turkey and chicken sausage (low fat) at the Taste of the Central West End (in St. Louis) along with other events that culminate with his annual golf tournament Monday (June 12).

Linehan said he was told Faulk "is nursing some issues with the knees."

As for his absence from minicamp, Linehan said, "It's important that everybody's here. But some things are out of your control."

However, there have been reports that Faulk's absence isn't totally related to his health, that he is unhappy with Linehan and doesn't want to play for the Rams anymore.

Linehan denied those stories, saying, "There are no problems, no rifts or anything like that. I know this is difficult for him."

The coach said he met with Faulk two weeks ago, and at that time Faulk said one of his knees wasn't responding as well as he'd hoped. As for Faulk not even being present at minicamp, Linehan said, "He's dealing with something bigger than being at meetings. He's trying to figure out whether he wants to do this. As a competitor, it would be tough to stand out here and watch."

The developments came only a few days after an Internet report on cbssportlinse.com said Faulk was out of shape.

"He's once again a little pudgy. OK, chunky is more like it," the report said, while not mentioning he had offseason surgery.

Still, Linehan has to be wondering if Faulk will be available when training camp opens and how effective he'll be, although he has been supportive of Faulk throughout the off-season.

*After being hired in January, Linehan said, "My hope would be that whatever is best for Marshall is what we get. I would love for him to be here. I am the biggest fan of his that he doesn't know. I don't know if it's appropriate to call him Mr. Ram, but when you think of the Rams that is who you think of. I'm just excited to meet him.

"I have to be honest with you; my boys are more excited to meet him than anybody of any place I have ever gone. I'm looking forward to meeting with him and talking to him about his future, and I sure do hope he feels comfortable with his future here, because I think the world of the guy."

*At the league meetings in March, Linehan said he planned to talk to Faulk soon to get a commitment regarding Faulk's plans to play this season.

"He hasn't told me he isn't coming back," Linehan said. "I feel he wants to play and he wouldn't be as involved as he has been in what we're doing and plan to do with the offense if that wasn't his thinking. But I will talk to him soon. I don't want any surprises."

*In late April, after revealing that Faulk had undergone the surgeries, Linehan said, "I think he had some loose bodies that needed to be cleaned out. Nothing serious. The older you get, the more time it takes just to kind of get them back to 100 percent. You've got to manage them. You can't take every (practice) snap like you used to. And the off-season's different. It's like you've got to heal up first."

As for Faulk continuing to play, Linehan said, "I don't think it's changed. I know he's very positive about it. I still expect him back. I really do."

At that time, during the team's first minicamp, Linehan also said, "Marshall will probably be ready to go in June. He will be here for the OTAs and the next minicamp. I talked to him. Very good meeting the other day. He is not ready to practice. He had a conflict this weekend. He should be ready to go full-speed by the last minicamp. In fact his golf tournament is the day after, so he will be in tip-top shape ready to go.

"He was the most positive he's been with his approach. He says that he is more hungry now than he's been in a couple of years to come out and have a real productive year for us next year."

Team Report: Notes and Quotes

Inside Slant | Notes and Quotes | Strategy and Personnel
--With only seven weeks until the start of training camp, coach Scott Linehan wanted the players to think minicamp was almost like training camp. The Rams held their final minicamp June 9-11, the first time veterans and rookies have been together except for OTAs.

"Now that our roster is close to being complete, we want to go full throttle and incorporate everything," Linehan said. "We'll have all our systems installed so that when training camp starts, we can dive right into it. Not only are we implementing our systems, but we're conditioning our players, getting them into football shape."

With virtually all of the roster attending the off-season activities, Linehan has been pleased with the work that has been accomplished.

"We'll add some wrinkles," he said, "but the assumption is that we'll have installed everything already, and then we'll test the carry-over, see how much they're able to retain. We really have to turn it up a notch."

Wide receiver Dane Looker said the minicamp "will give us a little bit of a taste of what training camp will be like."

--Defensive coaches like what they've seen from first-round pick Tye Hill during OTAs. A cornerback, Hill settled in after the first post-draft minicamp.

"The game has slowed down for him," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "That's the key with a young player. He was thinking so much that he wasn't playing as fast as we knew he could. As he's got more comfortable, you can see he's playing much faster."

--Offensive lineman Richie Incognito has been all over the place this offseason. At the first mini-camp, he was at right guard with Adam Timmerman side lined after minor knee surgery.

At the post-draft rookie camp, he was at center. Now, with Timmerman practicing, Incognito worked exclusively at left guard as the mandatory minicamp opened Friday. In the first minicamp, Todd Steussie, normally a tackle, was at left guard.

Claude Terrell, who started 10 games at left guard last season, did not practice at the first minicamp because of a wrist injury, coupled with the fact he is out of shape. Terrell was at left guard with the third unit at Friday's first minicamp practice.

"I'm competing to win the job," said Incognito, who practiced one day last season after signing late because of a knee injury suffered at the scouting combine and hasn't played since the 2003 season at Nebraska. "It's just great to be on the field. But I can't wait to get the pads on."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "(This) gives us an opportunity to learn the systems faster, get more acclimated with our coaches and bond as a team faster. With so many new faces -- new players and the new coaching staff -- you get a chance to ... kind of get a feel for everybody." -- DE Anthony Hargrove on the extra minicamp the team was allowed with a new coach being hired.

Team Report: Strategy and Personnel

Inside Slant | Notes and Quotes | Strategy and Personnel
MEDICAL WATCH: Cornerback Jerametrius Butler, who missed the entire 2005 season because of a knee injury, has recovered from the knee problem, but missed the first day of minicamp because of a slight tear in his hamstring. Coach Scott Linehan said Butler could play if it were the regular season. ... Linebacker Trev Faulk is still recovering from off-season back surgery. Linehan revealed for the first time that Faulk had an operation. Previously, it was said only that his back was bothering him. It is expected he will be ready for training camp.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: P Bryan Barker; RB Aveion Cason; CB Terry Fair; OG Tom Nutten; TE Roland Williams.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: CB Dwight Anderson; DT Jeremy Calahan; S Dwaine Carpenter; TE Jerome Collins; LB Mike Goolsby.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: WR Isaac Bruce; WR Kevin Curtis; DE Brandon Green; CB DeJuan Groce; LS Chris Massey; WR Shaun McDonald; OG Blaine Saipaia; QB Jeff Smoker; LB Drew Wahlroos.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: CB Fakhir Brown; S Corey Chavous; RB Tony Fisher; DT Jason Fisk; QB Gus Frerotte; DT La'Roi Glover; WR Brad Pyatt; FB Paul Smith; LB Raonall Smith; OT Todd Steussie; P Matt Turk; LB Will Witherspoon.

PLAYERS LOST: S Adam Archuleta; LB Chris Claiborne; S Mike Furrey; RB Arlen Harris; CB Corey Ivy; DE Tyoka Jackson; CB Chris Johnson; DT Damione Lewis; LB Jeremy Loyd; TE Brandon Manumaleuna; QB Jamie Martin; OT Matt Morgan; NT Ryan Pickett; OL Rex Tucker.