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  • No practice due to swine flu concerns

    St. Louis Rams cancel practice due to confirmed cases of swine flu
    By R.B. Fallstrom (CP) – 1 hour ago

    ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Rams cancelled practice Thursday due to an undisclosed number of swine flu cases on the team, just three days before a home game against the Houston Texans.

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo would not say how many players had the illness but said five or six players had flulike symptoms, and added that other players had reported symptoms the last few weeks. He anticipated the Rams would return to practice on Friday with a workout that will incorporate some of the elements missed on Thursday.

    "It's really more of a precaution than anything," Spagnuolo said. "We're checking everybody, we're just being careful."

    Players were seen driving away from Rams Park shortly before noon after consulting with medical staff. Team spokesman Ted Crews said many players received medication before leaving.

    "If there was one (player), we'd have to be careful because these guys are around each other all the time," Spagnuolo said. "I think it was the right thing to do."

    Two players, quarterback Kyle Boller and centre Jason Brown, missed practice Wednesday and Spagnuolo said both players had flulike symptoms. Spagnuolo first reported Brown's illness on Monday, but Brown was back with the team Thursday and had been expected to practice before the team decided to send players home.

    Spagnuolo said he didn't know whether Boller had been at Rams Park on Thursday. He was short on specifics regarding other affected players, saying "all the names are running together."

    "I don't want to throw out a name and be wrong," Spagnuolo said. "The important thing is we don't want anybody else to get sick. The important thing is to handle it right, send everybody home."

    Coaches and staff had the option of leaving Rams Park, but the parking lot was filled with vehicles Thursday afternoon.

    Spagnuolo said the Rams became aware of the situation about 8:30 or 9 a.m., then held a team meeting after consulting with medical personnel and deciding on a course of action.

    "There was no panic here," Spagnuolo said. "We took our time."
    The Rams (1-12) host the Texans (6-7) this Sunday. Spagnuolo thought it a stretch that the game might be jeopardized.

    "Don't send me down that direction," he said. "I'm very hopeful that by tomorrow, even if there's a couple of guys that have to be away from it, that we've taken the right steps and we'll be OK."

    In early October, Texans rookie tight end Anthony Hill was hospitalized with swine flu in the first confirmed case in an NFL player this season. Other players around the league were also sidelined with flulike symptoms.
    The Texans were sympathetic to the Rams' plight.

    "That's something that has been going around," wide receiver Andre Johnson said. "I think we'll be fine because we've already had our fair share of it around here, so I'm not really worried about it."

    The United States' supply of swine flu vaccine is expected to reach 100 million doses this week, clearing the way for everyone to be protected, not just those considered at high risk. The 2009 H1N1 strain sickens younger people more frequently than the over-65 population who are seasonal flu's main victims.

    Through mid-November, about one in six Americans have caught the new H1N1 flu, and about 10,000 have died, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

    The new swine flu seems no more deadly than regular winter flu, which every year kills 36,000 Americans and hospitalizes 200,000.

    Earlier this year, the NHL's Calgary Flames were criticized when players and their families received the swine flu vaccine while thousands of other people waited in lines that stretched for hours. Two Alberta Health Services employees were later fired.

    British Columbia's provincial health officer also said last month that Vancouver Canucks also players jumped the line when they received vaccinations.
    A defeated look of consternation, dissappointment, or even pain. The name derives from the look one often gets when challenged by a large BM.

Related Topics


  • eldfan
    Jackson, 3 others stay home with illness
    by eldfan
    Jackson, 3 others stay home with illness
    BY JIM THOMAS [email protected] > 314-340-8197


    One day after canceling practice because of confirmed cases of swine flu, the Rams were back on the field Friday. But they were minus four players — including running back Steven Jackson — who were at home with what coach Steve Spagnuolo called illness or flu-like symptoms.

    Also missing Friday's practice were quarterback Kyle Boller, defensive tackle Darell Scott and wide receiver Brandon Gibson.

    Spagnuolo didn't provide any more details on the players' illnesses.

    "Some guys that are a little worse than others, you need to shut 'em down," Spagnuolo said. "There's coaches probably battling a cough and a sneeze, just like we all do. But whatever the doctors and trainers say, we just go that way."

    Scott and Gibson are starters. And with Marc Bulger still sidelined with a fractured shin bone, Boller was in line to start this Sunday against the Houston Texans.

    But Spagnuolo stopped short of saying the four had swine flu.

    "I'm not being the doctor — not at all," he said.

    Spagnuolo said he didn't know how many confirmed cases of swine flu the team had.

    "It's flu season," he said. "All the coaches are working, I can tell you that."

    Besides, he indicated that results for some players tested for swine flu might not be in yet.

    "To my knowledge, it takes three to four days," Spagnuolo said. "You don't go over and just draw blood and know."

    Besides the four players who missed practice entirely because of illness, four others were listed as limited participation Friday with illness: tight end Billy Bajema, center Jason Brown, tight end Daniel Fells and running back Samkon Gado.

    "They were just 'down' a little bit, the energy wasn't up there, so we didn't put them through the whole (practice)," Spagnuolo said.

    So far, Brown remains the team's only confirmed case of swine flu.

    "That's what the doctor labeled it: swine flu," Brown said Friday. "I had a cough on Saturday evening that makes me believe that I picked up something on the flight down to Tennessee."

    During the game against the Titans, Brown said, "I felt horrible. Like crap. I felt like passing out. It attacks you very hard and fast. But luckily there are antiviral medications that they have to help you get back on your feet very fast."

    Players were given Tamiflu, a prescription flu medicine, to help combat illness, including swine flu.

    "My mother, of course, she's calling up saying make sure you drink the teas and the soups and what-not," Brown said. "I'm sorry, but none of...
    -12-19-2009, 06:54 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Spagnuolo Applauds Rams' Practice Habits
    by r8rh8rmike
    12.02.2009 3:57 pm
    Spagnuolo applauds Rams’ practice habits
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Practice had wrapped up about 15 minutes earlier, but the indoor facility at Rams Park still was crowded with players.

    “Look at them,” St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I mean, practice is over and about half the team’s out there working. I think that says a lot. But I’ll tell you what, that’s typical of this group. They amaze me every week, going through what we’re going through, to come out and practice they way they do.”

    Despite their 1-10 record, dampened further by an dispiriting 27-17 loss to a flagging Seahawks outfit three days earlier at the Edward Jones Dome, Wednesday’s practice was uptempo and upbeat. “They came out with a little bit of energy and practiced pretty good,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s a good thing to start the week.” (There are no practices on Mondays and Tuesdays.)

    Notes & quotes:

    *These players sat out Wednesday: QB Marc Bulger (leg), FB Mike Karney (neck), T Jason Smith (concussion), C Jason Brown (knee) and RB Steven Jackson (back). Spagnuolo said he was optimistic that Brown and Jackson could return Thursday.

    *Smith, who took a blow to the head Nov. 22 vs. the Cardinals and didn’t play vs. the Seahawks, won’t take another follow-up neuro exam “until he feels like he’s completely fine,” Spagnuolo said. “Obviously, he’s still feeling effects of it, so they’re just going to wait.”

    *LB James Laurinaitis has two sore shoulders, but he was a full participant Wednesday. “That’s life as a middle linebacker in the NFL,” Spagnuolo said.

    *G Richie Incognito, who has missed four games with a foot sprain, worked with the first-team offense and said that barring a setback, he expects to play Sunday in Chicago.

    *This week’s captains are QB Kyle Boller (offense), DE Leonard Little (defense) and LB David Vobora (special teams).
    -12-02-2009, 08:53 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams minicamp with a plan
    by RamWraith
    BY Jim Thomas
    Thursday, Apr. 02 2009
    For Steve Spagnuolo, it's never too early to look for leaders. His first
    minicamp as Rams head coach is as good a time to start as any.

    "We'll try to identify those leaders on our team, and hopefully, they'll step
    to the forefront in those tough times that you know you're going to have — no
    matter what team — in a 16-game season," Spagnuolo said. "I remember vividly
    going through it in Philadelphia. And I remember Brian Dawkins and Jeremiah
    Trotter, Donovan McNabb at a certain point in the season deciding that, 'Hey
    guys.' ... They did little things with the other players. Very unseen things,
    but it made a big difference."

    There certainly is a leadership void to be filled with the 2009 Rams. Veterans
    Torry Holt, Orlando Pace, Corey Chavous and Trent Green have been released.
    Other veterans, such as La'Roi Glover and Dane Looker, are free agents who have
    not been re-signed by the club. (The Rams may revisit signing Looker after the

    "I believe that the underlying leaders surface once there's no leadership in
    front of them," Spagnuolo said. "Hopefully, there's some undiscovered secret
    leaders on this roster right now."

    Perhaps it's newly re-signed cornerback Ron Bartell. New center Jason Brown. Or
    safety Oshiomogho Atogwe.

    But over the course of five minicamp practices over the next three days at Rams
    Park, Spagnuolo will be looking for leaders. (The Rams practice twice today,
    twice Friday, and once Saturday.)

    "You'll look to see which guys jump in front (of the lines), which guys are
    encouraging other people," Spagnuolo said. "When I'm sitting in the back of the
    meetings, I'm going to be looking for who's taking notes — actually sitting and
    writing notes. The best players that I've worked with are great note-takers."

    During his decade of coaching in the NFL, Spagnuolo has observed that the
    players who are meticulous in their preparation are the ones who last the
    longest in the league.

    "Because they've figured it out — that it's as much from the chin to the
    hairline as it is anything that they do with their body," Spagnuolo said.

    In trying to foster an atmosphere of togetherness and teamwork, Spagnuolo said
    leadership has to come from several sources.

    "No matter what, it's never going to be about one person," Spagnuolo said.
    "It's always going to be about the makeup of the whole team. Sometimes I think
    we all make mistakes when we focus on one position. We know the glory position
    and the one that's out in the forefront is the quarterback position, but...
    -04-02-2009, 05:12 AM
  • HUbison
    After first practice, Spagnuolo says he now feels like coach of the St. Louis Rams
    by HUbison
    After first practice, Spagnuolo says he now feels like coach of the St. Louis Rams
    By Bill Coats
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Steve Spagnuolo adjourned his first practice — a 90-minute workout on the outdoor fields at Rams Park — Thursday afternoon and said that he finally felt like the head coach of the Rams. “I’d say that’s a pretty accurate statement, because this is what we do as coaches, this is what we enjoy doing,” Spagnuolo said. “So it was great to be out here and be with the players.”

    Spagnuolo reported that all 64 players on the roster were in attendance and that wide receiver Derek Stanley, who is coming off knee surgery, was the only one who couldn’t do at least some of the drills. The main purpose of the three-day minicamp is to “evaluate the talent, learn how to practice and go over the basic fundamentals,” Spagnuolo said.

    “What we’re trying to do is make our practices efficient, uptempo,” he explained. “We would like to not condition after practice; we would like to condition in the practice. I thought they did a really good job of that today for the first day, I really did.”

    Another practice was scheduled for this afternoon.

    All for now . . . more later.
    -04-02-2009, 01:30 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    A New Rams PLan
    by r8rh8rmike
    A new Rams plan

    By Jim Thomas

    One of the first things you notice on the practice field is the ever-present pencil. It's resting on Steve Spagnuolo's ear. Or in his hand.

    He'll squat like a catcher at home plate and start scribbling while a drill takes place 10 feet away at Rams Park.

    He's used the same kind of Papermate pencil for the last decade. You know, the plastic ones where you turn the end to get the lead out. Spagnuolo uses it on the football field to help his players get the lead out.

    What's he writing about?

    "I actually don't (know)," safety James Butler said. "But I know when he gets up to speak to the team, he has a list of notes. So I don't know if he's writing down in practice what's going on or what. But he's always writing down notes."

    And then there are the practice "props."

    — The long plastic strip that's placed at the line of scrimmage, with the letters T-G-C-G-T on it. (As in tackle, guard, center, etc.)

    — The red cones placed several yards behind the line of scrimmage. (Players not involved in the play must stay behind the cones.)

    — The footballs with the tips painted white. (It's to get defensive backs in the habit of catching the ball at the tips.)

    — The "beeper box," which goes off when the quarterback has held the ball too long during 7-on-7 passing drills. (It can be calibrated for 3-step, 5-step and 7-step drops.)

    You look at all this, and you wonder if Spagnuolo was the type of kid who took a lot of notes, kept his room clean, made his bed.

    "I probably would say yeah," Spagnuolo said, flashing a "you got me" look at the questioner. "I was actually one of those people that went to class. I can't sit here and say I didn't go. I did. And I always took notes. If I didn't take good notes, I wasn't going to do good. Because I had to study. I wasn't a natural learner."

    The bed making?

    "I don't know why I remember this," Spagnuolo said. "(Maybe) because my mother used to say it to people. I made my bed every day till I got to be like 15 or 16 — whatever that age is (for teenage rebellion). And then all of a sudden I became not quite as consistent."

    So yes, Spagnuolo always had a clean room.

    "I don't know, I operate a little bit better that way," he said.


    Now, at age 49, Spagnuolo is trying to make the Rams operate a lot better as a rookie NFL head coach. The task is daunting to say the least. This is a franchise that hasn't been in the playoffs since 2004, hasn't had a winning season since 2003, and has lost 27 of its last 32 games.

    As he tries to lay the foundation...
    -08-30-2009, 04:11 PM