Head Coach Scott Linehan

July 28, 2006

(On training camp thus far)

“Unfortunately we had to practice our emergency ‘go inside routine’, so we didn’t get to use the lights. They look nice, though. We’ll see if they work. Just a little wrap up: We talked yesterday after the first practice. We were a little flat, but we picked it up a great deal as far as our intensity and attention to detail. Our players certainly understand what we are asking and respond. Nobody’s backed down a bit. You could see the heat wear them down a bit today, but nobody ever really turned it in, which is what you’re looking for at this time of the year. I was relatively pleased the last two practices with where we’re headed.”

(On how players are dealing with the heat, in particular needing IVs)

“It’s not unusual. The heat index has been worse; it was worse last week. We checked it and knew it was safe to be out here. We script in a break, but we actually took two and got some wet towels. I think Jimmy (Kennedy) went in with some cramping. It’s not unusual for big guys. He’s doing an excellent job. He has his weight right where we asked him to be. He’s got a little ways to go before the start of the season. We haven’t had that many IVs; we’ll probably have few today, though. An afternoon practice in the heat usually gets them pretty good.”

(On the status of the number three spot on the depth chart at QB)

“It’s still early. Obviously, Ryan (Fitzpatrick) has an edge because he’s been here with the terminology we’re using and had reps with the centers. Dave (Ragone) has had a couple of quarterback exchange issues, but that happens when a guy hasn’t been taking snaps from somebody, especially competitive snaps. Some of those things will hamper Dave over Fitz. We were talking about it as coaches and that’s going to be a really interesting battle because both of them bring certain levels of talent that you really like. The intangible qualities of Fitz are great, plus he has the ability to move and run. My background with Dave, I know what kind of a competitor he is and his talent will continue to show more and more as he gets more comfortable with what we’re doing. There are a lot of similar things we did with him in college, but the terminology is quite different for him. So basically, he’s learning everything new until he gets that down. It’ll be a lot of fun watching those two guys compete.”

(On the effects of today’s practice on the TE battle)

“I think the two rookies (Dominique Byrd and Jim Klopfenstein) have made a lot of improvement from the first practice. Both last night and today, I’ve noticed them more. We’re still light years away in the run game and if you want to be able to run the football in this league, your tight ends have to block. If your tight ends don’t block, you’re going to have a difficult time running the football. They understand that and they’ve answered the challenge. They weren’t as good last night as they were today, but they won some battles and they certainly lost some. They have to go against some pretty good players. Having to block Leonard (Little) is no easy task for a ten year vet, let alone a rookie. But they don’t back down; they’re tough, they accept coaching and that’s all you can ask at this point.”

(On new S Corey Chavous’ reputation as a ball hawk)

“That’s Corey. I think people in St. Louis will start to appreciate that about him. He is a ball hawk because he has a lot of interceptions, but the guy was always the steadiest player in the back end for us in Minnesota. He very rarely missed a tackle and that’s what you need in a safety. This guy can get them down. Safeties don’t have to be big, huge guys to get the back down. They’ve just got to be smart enough and use good technique and that’s what Corey does and Corey’s wanted to make a little bit of a statement. He doesn’t want people to think he’s been brought here just to be the backend captain or the coach or whatever; he wants people to know he’s a heck of a football player and he loves contact. You’ve got to back him up. You’d rather back off than have to push him out there. I had to go visit with him today about a couple of the hits. I said ‘You know Corey, it’s bad enough that you’re hitting Steven (Jackson), but worse is that you’re going to end up not even ready for the games when we start playing in the regular season.’ But that’s actually a good quality.”

(On his comfort level with QB Marc Bulger)

“I haven’t really addressed this or been asked that question, but Marc’s a guy who’s shown me that he’s taken his game to a new level with embracing our system, which is the new Rams system. He’s played very well. He’s had two interceptions on bad luck tips, but other than that he’s up in the 75-80% range. I don’t know what it is about him, maybe because he’s not 6’5”, but that guy is the best kept secret in the NFL in my opinion. People don’t really talk about this guy. I think this guy is going to have a great year. Not just statistically, just as a guy who’s going to take his game to a new level, leader of the team and the offense and just playing winning football for us.”

(On whether or not Marc Bulger is the most accurate QB he’s been around)

“I don’t compare players, but I would say that Marc and Daunte Cullpepper are the two most accurate quarterbacks I’ve been around. If you compare their statistical numbers in terms of (completion) percentage, that will probably show true in the last five or six years. If you actually looked at percentages, and I’m not sure if I’m making an accurate statement, but I know what Marc’s completion percentage was over the last three or four years and I was pretty familiar with where Daunte was, those two guys have an uncanny knack for hitting guys in the right place. His accuracy is different. Daunte’s a bigger, strong arm guy. Marc’s certainly got a very good arm, but he just puts it in the right place and that has to be frustrating for the defense.”

(On LB Brandon Chillar)

“We talked about him as a staff this morning. Brandon’s just having a very solid camp. He’s one of those guys that doesn’t get a lot of accolades, but he’s always in the right position. He’s a coach’s dream because he does exactly what he’s coached to do. He can get himself in a mismatch and he’ll recognize that. He had one mistake I think down here in one of our red zone periods, but the great thing about Brandon is that he accepts responsibility and corrects it and very rarely makes the same mistake twice.”

(On CB Tye Hill)

“I’d like to tell you it’s looking better. I’m a positive thinker and I would think that something will be done by the weekend. I actually predicted, under my breath, that it actually could go into the weekend. I’m going to just think he’ll be here either by tomorrow or Sunday at the latest.”

(On recent draftee signings near Tye Hill’s draft position)

“That usually gives you some momentum. I don’t know how complicated it is because once you get it going you have an idea of where you’re going to be I think its just getting the details down , I’m certain we’ll do our best to get it done and I know Tye’s anxious to get here.”

(On possible frustration because of Hill’s holdout)

“No, like I said, I put all my time and energy on the players that are here. Sometimes things are out of your control. I think it’s great for the other guys, they’ve really enjoyed the opportunities their getting now to prove themselves. I’m not a message sender, but I certainly know that it’s going to be tough to catch up if you spend much more time out.”

(On Blaine Saipaia’s calf injury)

“He injured himself training about a week before. He thought it was just tight and it got worse. He came in the day before and we did a physical and we had to basically put him out of commission right now. Hopefully he’ll respond to treatment. He’s been aggressively treating it. It’s a calf and you get that. You get an injury like that and there’s a tear in there and swelling there’s nothing you can do other then rest it and treat it and try to stay in condition on the bike.

(On RB Marshall Faulk’s surgery)

“I haven’t heard anything. I know Friday was the day. I haven’t heard anything. We’ve been pretty preoccupied with what’s going on in this building right now.”

(On DE Claude Wroten’s impact)

“I think we’ve said it from the beginning that one of his biggest strength is the pass rush. He’ll be able to play in spots. We’re going to waive those D-Linemen. You have to play six or seven guys in a game to be effective, especially with the type of defense we play where we’re relying so much on people running the ball and you want them to be fresh. He certainly gives us a change of speed out there. I think we brought in a couple of good run stoppers. Guys that are going to be pretty stout against the run, obviously in Jason Fisk and Victor at the end. Here’s a guy who plays tackle and specializes in rushing the passer, but he can hold is own . He’s a playmaker, that’s one thing you notice about him. You put him in and you got a fresh guy like that. I‘d hate to be a guy that’s been in the game as an offensive guard trying to block a fresh, young guy like that in a passing down.”

(On WR Dane Looker’s offensive role)

“His roll is that he’ll help any where he can, I mean he’s a great holder, he understands what he is good at in special teams and does it consistently well all the time. He knows every position on offense in the receiver spots and can give a guy a spell, go in and play one of those four or five wide receiver positions where you’ve got to specialize and know you’re actually going in for the running back and you’ve got to know what the running back’s route is but you’ve got a receiver in there. He’s just a smart football player. I’ve known Dane for over 10 years now, he played for me at the University of Washington and really did the same thing for us there and it’s so funny to see how things work out. We’re certainly glad to have him.”

(On the type of addresses he’s giving the team)

“Well, what we’re doing is, we have team periods that are special situations where we’re obviously working in the red area or blitz or running play, we’re just specializing in a certain facet of the game. At the end of the practice when they’re tired we’re working on finishing at the end of the game. You know it’s a three-play series. Offense, you’ve got three plays to get a first down, defense, you’ve got to get off the field. So you turn up the competition when they’re tired but it’s one-on-ones, two-on-twos, three-on-threes, we’re getting the good-on-good and you’ve got to be on top of your game and execute. That’s when you win the game in this league, you’re going to have the blow out games very rarely, you’re going to have to play your best football in the fourth quarter, so we try to challenge them in those quick spurts there.”

(On talking to the team after practice)

“We’re just talking about how to think. I think it’s those general meetings. We’re all getting to know each other and expectations on what’s ahead. We don’t get too far ahead of ourselves, our expectation is how we get our meetings done tonight and how we eat our snack, and when we’re to bed check. That’s how detailed we are. We also talk about how we think as a team and how we’ve also got to help each other out. I’m very happy with the physical nature of our camp and probably gone over the top a couple of times and now we’re focusing on being smart with it. We certainly don’t want to get anybody hurt with using bad judgment, so they understand that. You just don’t want to cross that line as a competitor where you put your teammate in harm’s way.”

(On the other running backs battling for spots behind Steven Jackson)

“I think Fish has done a excellent job. Like I told you, he can be a number two back. The only concern I have is that he has such a big role, he’s such a core teams player, and I’m not donning him as special teams captain yet but he’s one of them, one of the best leaders we’ve got there. You know what, the guy does whatever we ask and he’s very good at it, played very well and very consistent at Green Bay. He’s exactly what we’re looking for as that third that could be a two if we had an injury but right now we have no choice but to have him there. The rest of the group, Paul Smith is working at ful back with Hedgecock, but the great thing about Paul is he’s a great special teams player but he can get you out of a game plan playing tailback position. So I think if we were playing a game tomorrow those would be the guys, Steven , Fish, and Paul would be the guys who would carry the majority of the load at tailback spot. Madison is certainly going to show more as we work the running game and short yardage and he’s an excellent special teams player so it’s a great battle. I think the young backs are working very hard but they’ve still got a ways to go.”

(On the two hurt corners who are coming back this year)

“I think they’re doing great. I mean they’re not hurt, so that’s a good start. I think they’ve been responding very well to their opportunity that’s in front of them. They’ve got a lot of very quality reps, three good practices in, I think the secondary has been one of the highlights so far this training camp. I think their consistent level of play and their willingness to accept the new defense has been, not a surprise, but brought a lot of positive thoughts to us in the coaching meeting room, I can tell you that.”

(On having a lot of depth)

“Yeah, we’ve got depth there. I know it sounds funny, I guess they didn’t play as well as they needed to play last year but there’s a lot of new faces over there too. You look there, that’s a different secondary than was here, and it’s the ’06 version, so they’re trying to make a statement right away.”