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  • Jackson, 3 others stay home with illness

    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 that stuff helps with viruses. It doesn't — not at all. You need actual medicine."

    While he was recuperating over the past few days, Brown tried to drink a lot of fluids and eat as much as he could.

    "Right now, my body feels fresh," Brown said. "But going out there (for practice), I was winded very fast."

    Regardless of whether they practiced or not Friday, all eight players listed on the official injury report with "illness" were also listed as questionable for Houston. By NFL definition, that means they have a 50-50 chance of playing Sunday.

    So the Rams face the possibility of going into the Houston game with Keith Null and Mike Reilly as the only available quarterbacks; Gado (maybe), Darby and Chris Ogbonnaya at running back; and a wide receiver corps of Donnie Avery, Danny Amendola, Ruvell Martin and Jordan Kent.

    "This league, this game, is about mentally and physically tough people," Spagnuolo said. "Even the teams that are 14-0, 13-0, it's a mental and physical challenge. This is no different. We had some adversity this week. But we're expected to focus and get ready to play a game."

    Spagnuolo said those sentiments were part of his message to the team after a Friday practice that was held outdoors — a practice that wasn't noticeably longer than a normal session.

    "It was good to get outside," Spagnuolo said. "I think the air was good for the guys. I think the rest helped (Thursday), so that was a positive thing."

    With no practice Thursday, the Rams had extra ground to cover Friday in preparation for the Texans. "All we squeezed in extra was some third-down work that we missed (Thursday)," Spagnuolo said. "And then added a play or two to goal line-short yardage, and there were 10 extra minutes for special teams. ... So I think we got caught up."

    With one less day to practice the game plan on the field, Spagnuolo said the coaching staff decided Thursday to pull "a couple things out, but nothing major."

    But exactly who will be trying to execute those plays against Houston remains something of a mystery. As of Friday afternoon, it was virtually impossible to tell who would be available and who wouldn't because of the swine flu and the general illness affecting the team. Some players might feel better by Sunday; some might feel worse. And some players not listed on Friday's injury report might come down with symptoms before Sunday's noon kickoff.

    According to league policy, if a club has at least six players unable to participate as the result of confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu, it can receive roster exemptions and promote players from its practice squad to replace them for a game. A club can receive a maximum of eight exemptions and has until four hours before kickoff to do so.

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  • BM_Face
    No practice due to swine flu concerns
    by BM_Face
    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...
    -12-17-2009, 03:56 PM
  • 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, 07:53 PM
  • Nick
    Brown back kicking with Rams
    by Nick
    Brown back kicking with Rams
    Posted: Friday, August 20, 2010 5:30 am

    For the first time in nearly two weeks, kicker Josh Brown sent a ball sailing through the uprights at Rams Park on Thursday.

    "Felt pretty good," he said.

    Brown hadn't kicked since injuring his hip flexor before the Rams' scrimmage at Lindenwood University on Aug. 7. He said he had been nursing a minor sore groin before warm-ups, when he felt "a deep, stabbing pain. Bam. It got progressively worse in the warm-up to the point where I couldn't move, so I just stopped."

    To pass the time at practice, he and his teammates amused themselves as several of the Rams took a shot at Brown's craft. He said wide receiver Jordan Kent earned the highest marks.

    "I think everybody enjoyed it with the humor that's behind it," Brown said, "But the real situation is that if something were to happen, somebody's got to go in. Jordan toward the end got to be more consistent and was trying to figure things out. I think a lot of the guys would never put themselves in that situation if they had the choice."

    Brown was a fish out of water Saturday, when Shaun Suisham took his place on the field, and he sat with the injured players in one of the upper level boxes. The game was the first that Brown had missed in his eight-year career, preseason or otherwise.

    "I kind of felt like a reporter," he said. "It was definitely interesting to see the game. I never watched an NFL game from the stands. It was enjoyable. Pretty good product."

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo said he hoped to have Brown on the field Saturday, when the Rams face the Browns in Cleveland.

    "I can't say that for definite right now," Spagnuolo said. "What we don't want to do is go out there and set him back."

    Brown said he was ready, if needed. But his longest kick Thursday was from 35 yards, meaning that someone else could handle kickoffs.

    Starters return

    Spagnuolo said guard Jacob Bell would return to the starting lineup Saturday after suffering an abdominal strain two weeks ago. Bell's return means that all five members of the starting line will play together for the first time since the start of camp.

    Also expected to play together for the first time are starting cornerbacks Ron Bartel (ankle) and Bradley Fletcher, pending Fletcher's evaluation after practice Thursday.

    "You're talking about coming off a knee injury in less than a year," Spagnuolo said. "The speed out here is always different than the speed in games. We'll see how Bradley feels based on how he did today."

    Playing time

    Spagunolo said he expected the plan for quarterbacks A.J. Feeley and Sam Bradford to be similar to last...
    -08-20-2010, 09:40 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Spagnuolo Puts Blame On Himself
    by r8rh8rmike
    Spagnuolo puts blame on himself

    The score was 14-0, Atlanta, before most spectators had a chance to dig into their popcorn Friday at the Edward Jones Dome. For a Rams franchise intent on showing the fan base that things will be different this season, it was the last thing they wanted to happen.

    On Saturday, after reviewing game tape, coach Steve Spagnuolo blamed himself.

    "Personally, I think it's all on the head coach," Spagnuolo said. "The first quarter, I don't think I had the team ready to play. I'm going to take the onus on that. We need to start the game better, especially against a good football team."

    So what can Spagnuolo do differently to make sure his team gets out of the gate quicker?
    "I don't know," he said. "Just like we evaluate the players, I'm going to evaluate myself all the time. I'll sit back this week, and if I think there's something we can do differently in practice we'll do it.

    "If I think there's something we can say or approach (differently) the day before the game, we'll do that. But right now, if the team's not ready early like that, it's on the head coach. So we'll figure out a way."

    Besides being outscored 14-0, the Rams were outgained 147 yards to 56 by Atlanta in the opening quarter. Spagnuolo said it's impossible to gauge whether or not a team is ready to play based on pregame warm-up or really anything else leading up to the game.

    "I've stopped doing that in football," he said. "Sometimes you walk in there and say, 'This team's not ready to play.' And they go out and beat a team by 30 points. That's hard to assess."

    Granted it came once the starters were done for the night and the reserves had taken over, but Spagnuolo was pleased with the fact that the team chipped away at the early deficit and was in position to tie or win the game in the fourth quarter.


    The Rams' draft class of '09 took its first major injury hit, with Spagnuolo announcing Saturday that wide receiver Brooks Foster will be out six to eight weeks following ankle surgery.

    Foster suffered what originally was termed a sprained ankle in the Aug. 14 preseason opener against the New York Jets. But additional testing revealed additional problems, so Foster underwent surgery on Friday.

    The Rams must decide whether to place Foster on the injured reserve list. The fifth-round pick from North Carolina had some good moments on the practice field during training camp as well as in the scrimmage at Lindenwood University. But he had no catches in the Jets' game, and faced an uphill struggle on making the 53-man roster.


    As expected, Spagnuolo said wide receiver Donnie Avery (foot)...
    -08-23-2009, 03:52 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Jackson Gives Rams A Pep Talk
    by r8rh8rmike
    Jackson gives Rams a pep talk

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Occasionally, a head coach might stop things in the middle of practice to address the team. But a player?

    It was an odd sight, something you might not see in hundreds of practices at Rams Park. But about 20 minutes into Tuesday's bye week practice session, running back Steven Jackson called the entire offense together for what sounded like part lecture and part pep talk.

    It lasted maybe a couple of minutes, then practice resumed. With the Rams listing badly at 0-4, coach Steve Spagnuolo appreciates all the help he can get, particularly from one of his team captains.

    Jackson's message?

    "Just some determination," Spagnuolo said. "Some will to succeed, some drive for excellence. Just some key points and we appreciate that. I'm sure the guys on defense were doing the same thing. (Defensive captain) James Hall and I talked this morning. They get it. These guys are warriors. They've been through this and we've just got to fight our way out of it."

    Jackson declined to comment Tuesday about his talk to the team. But his message apparently resonated.

    "He just reaffirmed things that we had talked about as an offense and a team," guard/center Tony Wragge said. "And we are going to constantly do that. We're going to constantly talk about the positive things that we can do. We're going to talk about some of the negative things that we need to improve on. It's not something that we're going to brush aside. We're going to talk about how to improve on it.

    "And we're not going to stop. This is the NFL, anything can happen. It's awesome to hear Steven talk about that, and to hear some of the other guys in the huddle talk about it, too. Because leadership goes a long way in this league."

    Apparently, this wasn't the only time Jackson has addressed the offense. Left tackle Rodger Saffold likes the fact that Jackson talks to everyone and doesn't just single out one group.

    "Basically, it's the same message," Saffold said. "Go out there, do your work, and be efficient. We've been doing real well at having the emotion. About having the will. About wanting to go hard. About having a whole bunch of effort. But mentally, we've got to focus harder in the game. And being efficient has to be a top priority. So that's what he's saying."

    For the Rams, efficiency entails a minimum of mistakes, proper execution of assignments and taking advantage of opportunities. Anyone who has paid any attention to the Rams this season knows that none of that has taken place. But Spagnuolo has called upon his team leaders and his coaching staff to try to right the ship this week.

    "I had some great conversations with some of our team leaders today,"...
    -10-05-2011, 03:40 PM