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Bears, Rams to play in exhibition opener

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  • Bears, Rams to play in exhibition opener


    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS - There could be no more fitting site for the first game of Lovie Smith's NFL head coaching career - in St. Louis against the team for whom Smith was defensive coordinator the last three years.

    "I was an assistant in the visitor's dressing room, I moved over to the other dressing room and now I'm coming back here," Smith said. "So I know quite a bit about that place and I'm just looking forward to bringing our team down to play."

    But it's even more than that. Even though it won't count and starters won't play a lot for both teams, it's a milestone to which Smith has aspired to his entire life.

    "Forty-six years to this spot, to say this is just another game for me personally, no, that's not the case," he said.

    Smith, of course, is very familiar with the Rams, whom he helped reach the Super Bowl in 2001. He would have known their personnel anyway after the teams held joint practices and a scrimmage over three days last week in Macomb, Ill., the Rams' training camp site.

    Only four days after the Saturday scrimmage, the teams will go at it again.

    "If we keep score, we're always going to want to win," Rams defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "We're going to get our adrenaline rushing."

    Still, neither team is likely to stay with the starters very long. The Bears and Rams also played were cautious in their scrimmage in Macomb, mostly allowing the reserves to battle it out.

    Bears quarterback Rex Grossman is scheduled to play one quarter, backup Jonathan Quinn will work the second quarter and the first series after halftime, and Craig Krenzel will finish.

    For the Rams, Marc Bulger also is expected to get limited playing time ahead of Chris Chandler and rookie sixth-round pick Jeff Smoker.

    Marshall Faulk, who sat out nearly all of last preseason, is unlikely to see much if any action. Instead, the Rams are likely to give heavy play to first-round pick Steven Jackson and Arlen Harris.

    Jackson is the heir apparent to Faulk and has shown off his natural ability despite coaches' talk that he has been playing catchup after missing the minicamp in May because his class had not graduated. He also skipped a rookie camp just before training camp because he had not signed a contract.

    "I don't want to brag, but I wasn't the first running back taken in the draft for no reason," Jackson said. "Once you get that ball in your hands, your natural ability just takes over and you just have to react to the defense.

    "Once I learn my reads and how the plays are supposed to work, a lot of good things for me will happen."

    Lamar Gordon, the backup tailback last year, underwent surgery on his left ankle Tuesday in St. Louis and is expected to be sidelined a month.

    The Rams might have a makeshift offensive line throughout the preseason. One offensive tackle, Orlando Pace, is a contract holdout. The other, Kyle Turley, has been visiting several specialists after reinjuring his surgically-repaired back last week

Related Topics


  • RamDez
    Rams, Bears scrimmage before preseason opener
    by RamDez
    Rams, Bears scrimmage before preseason opener

    Associated Press

    MACOMB, Ill. - After three days of joint practices, the St. Louis Rams outplayed the Chicago Bears during a scrimmage at Western Illinois University's Hanson Field Saturday.

    The Rams unofficially won the scrimmage 12-6, though no score was actually kept during the 90-minute workout.

    Both teams held out several starters. Quarterback Marc Bulger and running back Marshall Faulk did not see action for the Rams while linebacker Brian Urlacher, who is nursing a hamstring injury, and wide receiver Marty Booker and others sat out for the Bears.

    The scrimmage also provided a chance for new Chicago coach Lovie Smith to put his team up against the Rams, where he worked as defensive coordinator before taking the job with the Bears.

    Smith said after the scrimmage, "We know we have a long ways to go. We get a chance to play them again next week with hopes that we'll have a better team on the field playing against them."

    The Bears will visit the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis Thursday to take on the Rams in the preseason opener.

    The Rams went on offense first in the controlled scrimmage as former Bears quarterback Chris Chandler marched the Rams 70 yards in a drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by running back Arlen Harris.

    Bears starting quarterback Rex Grossman directed the first three series before backup Jonathan Quinn engineered the last two drives.

    Rams rookie quarterback Jeff Smoker hit Kevin Curtis for a 35-yard touchdown later in the scrimmage.

    Then Quinn guided the Bears to their only score when he connected with Gabe Reid on a 5-yard scoring toss.

    One of the biggest ovations of the morning came when former Western Illinois star Russ Michna took the field for a few plays with the Rams offense.

    Rams coach Mike Martz said Michna had two good passes. "Unfortunately, one of them was dropped. He's a good little player. He's not a camp arm. I'm excited that we have him."

    Michna is in the Rams camp as the fourth quarterback after signing with St. Louis as an undrafted free agent in June. Michna said after playing that he appreciated the crowd's response. "It's great to know that they still appreciate what you did for them."

    Martz said a scrimmage like the one against the Bears can provide a player an opportunity to show he deserves a spot on the roster. "We're not going to eliminate somebody because of what they've done in this scrimmage. What we can do is look a little harder at a guy," he said.

    Notes: Martz said the Rams will not practice Sunday to give his players a break. They will hold a workout Monday afternoon and a meeting Monday night in Macomb. Martz said, "We've had a terrific camp up here and they've worked...
    -08-08-2004, 12:55 AM
  • Nick
    PFT: Lovie's under the microscope
    by Nick

    Our Chitown mole tells us that Bears G.M. Jerry Angelo privately has voiced concerned that the team's rash of hamstring pulls is related directly to efforts by coach Lovie Smith to get players to lose weight over the offseason.

    Players who have fallen victim to hamstring injuries in the first week of camp include Brian Urlacher, Marty Booker, Jamin Elliott, Desmond Clark, Adrian Peterson, Mike Gandy and John Gilmore.

    Perhaps not coincidentally, Smith has canceled the team's Tuesday morning practice.

    Last week, Smith explained his strategy regarding the shrinkage of his team.

    "It's a different philosophy," he said. "We just think everyone should lose weight."

    We're also hearing that running back Anthony Thomas could miss up to six weeks with an abdominal strain. Thomas has been the subject of trade rumors, but it's now extremely unlikely that anything will happen until he's healthy again.
    -08-03-2004, 10:21 PM
  • Nick
    Bears LB Roquan Smith remains only unsigned 2018 NFL Draft pick
    by Nick
    Draft pick Smith's holdout among issues facing Bears
    GENE CHAMBERLAIN | Associated Press
    Monday, August 13, 2018 1:10 am

    BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – It has become a familiar refrain for Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy. He has often repeated the words “nothing new” over the past 31/2 weeks regarding contract talks with first-round draft pick Roquan Smith.

    Nagy's first training camp with the Bears concluded Sunday, and it remains uncertain when defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can plug the former Georgia linebacker into the lineup.

    That's not the Bears' only problem as they head into a week of practices in Denver before playing the Broncos on Saturday in their third preseason game.

    Asked Sunday if missing all of camp would limit Smith's ability to be defensive field general on opening day, Nagy did not mince words.

    “I think it does,” Nagy said. “You're playing at that position and there are a lot of calls that go on, very similar to a quarterback, there's a lot going on. But I have full confidence in Vic and his staff that when he does get here, they'll get him up to speed and whenever that is, we'll see.

    “But again, that's why we all get paid as coaches is to try to help our players out as much as possible and that's kind of where we're at.”

    Neither the Bears nor Smith's agents have openly discussed the reason for the standoff.

    The Chicago Tribune reported that the sticking point in talks is the Bears' refusal to give up the right to reclaim some of Smith's guaranteed bonus if he is suspended for an on-field rules violation outside the parameters of a football play.

    Smith is the only unsigned player in the 2018 NFL draft class. The Bears haven't had Smith around since their June minicamp.

    “I think he knows that he's to be in shape,” Nagy said. “I think he knows that.”

    The Bears have two veteran inside linebackers on the field: Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski.

    Players say they've avoided turning the holdout into a distraction.

    “It's pretty easy,” defensive end Akiem Hicks said. “I mean, we can't make him appear out of nowhere. You play with what you got and go forward.”

    Their other big problem revolves around the offense.

    Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky struggled in the new offense with interceptions in practice, then went 2 for 4 for 4 yards in his first effort against Cincinnati in a 30-27 loss Thursday night.

    “It's not rocket science to know that we need to be better in that,” Nagy said. “It's my job to make sure am I calling the right plays. It's their job to make sure they execute when they get those plays to come in.”

    Wide receiver Allen Robinson and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel did not play Thursday. Also absent was starting running back Jordan Howard.

    Robinson called camp a successful indoctrination to a complicated...
    -08-13-2018, 06:59 AM
  • RamDez
    Getting ready for the Rams
    by RamDez
    Getting ready for the Rams

    Eagle News Editor

    Fred Adair remembers the summer of 1996. That was the first year the St. Louis Rams held their training camp in Macomb. At the time, Adair – WIU's grounds maintenance foreman – wondered if it might be the last.

    After the Macomb Area Economic Development Corporation (MAEDCO) invested $250,000 for the construction of two practice fields and the Rams decided on Macomb as their summer home that year, WIU's grounds department was left with about a month and a half, according to Adair, to prepare for the team's use of the fields. In this the ninth year the Rams will call Macomb home for just under a month, and field preparation is a spring-long undertaking, with demands one would expect from an NFL team.

    "The first year they were here we didn't have grass on the sidelines and we had to haul mulch in and put it along the sidelines," Adair said. "There was water everywhere. The sidelines weren't done so we hauled mulch for a week. The day before they came it rained like two inches; we wondered why we ever got into this."

    The hard work – which, among many other duties, includes reseeding, fertilizing and aerating two practice fields once Western has finished using them in the spring – has proved fruitful. Since that first year, hundreds of thousands of Rams devotees have visited Macomb to catch glimpses of such star players as Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt.

    “It’s quite an extensive process in terms of the preparation," said Larry Mortier, Western's vice president of advancement and public services assistant. "We have a number of areas on the campus that are involved on a planning committee that has been in place going on nine years that the Rams have trained here."

    In addition to Western's grounds department, several other areas on campus – as well as within the city of Macomb – contribute to what Mortier calls a "joint venture."

    "That coordination is extremely important to make it all happen in a very positive way and create the most productive environment for the Rams," Mortier said, adding that MAEDCO's contribution was crucial to bringing St. Louis to Macomb. "We have received some very positive comments about our ability to do that, and that has led to their return each year.”

    “We just saw this as an opportunity that should not be missed," said MAEDCO Executive Director Kim Pierce of her organization's contribution toward the practice fields. "The partnership between the university, the city, the county and MAEDCO was great. We all pulled it together. You see what’s happened; this is our ninth year celebrating. It’s been a great, great venture for us."

    While in Macomb this year from July 28 through Aug. 20, the Rams will make use of 10 floors...
    -06-30-2004, 03:38 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Urlacher injures hamstring; draftees sign
    by DJRamFan
    July 28, 2004 wire reports

    BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears had been on the practice field for less than an hour Wednesday when new coach Lovie Smith saw four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher crumple to the ground.


    Urlacher stumbled out of a scrimmage drill and fell to the ground with an injury to his right hamstring. Trainers wrapped his leg with an ice pack and took him off the field on a golf cart.

    "He's got a pretty good pull," general manager Jerry Angelo said. "We'll know more tomorrow."

    Urlacher was scheduled to have an MRI Thursday morning, but Angelo and Smith weren't optimistic that he would be able to return soon.

    "Hamstrings, they need rest," Smith said after the 90-minute practice at the team's Olivet Nazarene University training base. "He'll have to sit out, which he won't like. It's going to be weeks, probably."

    The Bears were practicing in shorts and helmets Wednesday and the scrimmage was light contact only. Urlacher went down after colliding with another player.

    Second-year player Hunter Hillenmeyer and rookie Jeremy Cain will get plenty of work with Urlacher out, Smith said. If the injury persists deep into training camp, second-year linebacker Lance Briggs, who started 13 games and had 81 tackles as a rookie, could be shifted into Urlacher's middle linebacker role, the coach said.

    "We've talked about developing our depth at the linebacker position," Smith said. "We're going to have to do it a little quicker than we wanted to."

    Smith acknowledged he was nervous beginning his first training camp as an NFL head coach, but said he was reasonably happy with the first practice.

    "We kind of set a bar, that's what you want to do as much as anything, set the bar," he said. "Tomorrow morning, we'll be in pads and the intensity will pick up quite a bit."

    Quarterback Rex Grossman, expected to be the starter, was among those trying to work out early kinks. He threw several passes at his receivers' feet.

    Seeing Brian Urlacher carted off the field is not how the Bears wanted to start training camp.(AP)
    "It's going to take a little bit of time to get the rhythm of it," he said.

    Off the field, the Bears agreed to terms with their two remaining unsigned rookies, first-round draft pick Tommie Harris and third-round pick Bernard Berrian.

    Harris, who won the Lombardi Trophy at Oklahoma last year as the nation's top interior lineman, agreed to a five-year deal. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

    "He's our first-round pick, he's a big part of what we're going to do this year," Smith said. "We're very excited...
    -07-29-2004, 10:39 AM