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Rams begin to virtually acclimate 2020 rookies

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  • Rams begin to virtually acclimate 2020 rookies

    Rams begin to virtually acclimate 2020 rookies
    Monday, May 11, 2020 11:36 AM
    Stu Jackson

    Today marks the start of each NFL team's rookie football development program, a seven-week event which assists league newcomers with their transition into professional football.

    In a normal offseason, the Rams' version would likely feature in-person classroom instruction at their facility and the chance to familiarize their rookies with the Los Angeles area. However, with meetings going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this offseason is anything but that.

    In figuring out how to best welcome and instruct this year's group of rookies amid the current circumstances, Rams Director of Player Engagement Jacques McClendon will lean on the format and structure of the last two weeks of the offseason program and incorporate a couple of his own ideas.

    "When it goes to making a plan for this, whether it's direct communication from the league on what we need to hit, how we need to hit it, I think I'm able to just plug and play, because obviously we've had to ramp it up with the technology piece during this time," McClendon said in a phone interview with last week. "But I feel like since we've already been using it, it hasn't really been a hard transition for us. We've just had to build upon the foundation, which we already started."

    For the most part, rookie assimilation won't look too much different aside from the absence of on-field minicamp instruction.

    According to ESPN's Kevin Seifert, the rookie transition program will incorporate up to an hour of instruction per day, up to five days a week, in addition to the maximum two hours each of classroom and virtual workout time per day for the virtual offseason program. Rams head coach Sean McVay currently has the team's virtual offseason program structured with 90-minute meetings four days a week, with players getting credit for virtual workouts by participating in virtual meetings with coaches.

    Similar to the virtual conversations that have taken place since April 27 – when the team's offseason program began – rookies were scheduled to be first introduced to the team with McVay speaking to them through video conferencing technology Saturday morning, on what was supposed to be the second day of Los Angeles' rookie minicamp.

    Information from the league and the collective bargaining required for clubs to present to rookies as part of the program's curriculum can still be done digitally and without in-person instruction.

    Being able to seamlessly adapt to a virtual rookie transition program is a credit to Rams leadership, according to McClendon.

    "Sean, (General Manager) Les (Snead), (Vice President, Football and Business Administration) Tony (Pastoors), (Senior Director, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie Scott, these guys have built these elite communication plans and we've all been in constant contact with each other," McClendon said.

    The biggest challenge for rookies in a virtual program, though, is being able to build a rapport within themselves due to the absence of the traditional in-person connections made. A couple of the pre-existing solutions that McClendon will use include, but likely won't be limited to, Bible studies and group text chats.

    "We're going to have to supplement it as best as we can and just keep it rolling," McClendon said.

    Circumstances being what they currently are, it won't be a deterrent for McClendon or the organization as they work to get the rookies as prepared as they possibly can be for the upcoming season.

    "We're definitely going to abide by the outlines from all these medical professionals to make sure we're safe and operate as optimally as we can," McClendon said. "I think that's one of the biggest advantages we are going to get out of this: not being in the same place is definitely not an excuse."

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  • ram3057
    Rams announce April 10 as start of offseason workouts
    by ram3057
    By Rich Hammond, [email protected],, @Hammond_OCR on Twitter

    POSTED: 04/03/17, 12:17 PM PDT |

    The Rams’ new coaching staff and players officially will get to work April 10, when the team’s offseason program begins at Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks.

    The optional program begins with two weeks of off-field conditioning work, and then players will get on the field May 1 for three weeks of individual-skills work, but no full-team practices.

    A third phase includes 10 full-team practices that will be staggered between May 23-June 8.

    The Rams also will hold a voluntary minicamp from April 25-27, a rookie minicamp in early May and a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15. New Coach Sean McVay exercised his right to have a mandatory minicamp, something previous coach Jeff Fisher did not require.

    The Rams again will hold the first part of their training camp at UC Irvine, with sessions expected to begin in late July....
    -04-03-2017, 03:11 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Begin next Phase
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams Begin Next Phase

    By Nick Wagoner

    With all of the benchmark offseason events – the NFL Draft, free agency, the schedule release – in the rearview mirror, the Rams are entering one of the most important phases of any offseason in terms of player development as they began Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on Tuesday.

    On the heels of last weekend’s rookie minicamp in which 38 players got their first taste of coach Jeff Fisher and what his staff requires, almost everybody was back in the building and on the practice field Tuesday.

    Although the rookies were in town for the minicamp and the veterans have been around for the offseason conditioning program, Tuesday marked the first time all parties were taking part in football activities together.

    Over the course of the next four weeks, the Rams will hold 10 such practices capped off by a full-squad minicamp from June 12-14. In between, the team can continue the offseason conditioning program on non-OTA days.

    The goal in that time is to get everyone on the same page and get one complete installation of the offense and defense in place.

    “As we told the varsity this past week, we’re going to start again from Day One with the installation, and by the time we’re done in mid-June, we will have installed absolutely everything,” Fisher said. “Then we’re going to do it again when training camp starts. So when they come and report to training camp, they’ll know exactly what to expect through camp. The only difference is we’re going to put some pads on at times.”

    Nearly every Ram appeared for Tuesday’s workout, including veterans such as running back Steven Jackson, quarterback Sam Bradford, linebacker James Laurinaitis and end Chris Long.

    There is, however, a trio of rookies who aren’t allowed to participate because of league rules. NFL rules state that a player whose class has yet to go through graduation cannot attend any offseason activities until that class has gone through the process.

    Schools that go on the quarter system instead of the semester system almost always fall into that category. A number of PAC-12 schools run on that system with a few others scattered throughout the country.

    Running back Isaiah Pead (Cincinnati), punter John Hekker (Oregon State) and tight end Cory Harkey (UCLA) did not attend Tuesday’s workout and won’t be able to return until June.

    Pead’s school finishes a week or so before the Rams’ final minicamp so he’ll be able to get in some late work but Hekker and Harkey don’t have graduation ceremonies until the weekend of the Rams’ final rookie minicamp.

    While those three players were fed quite a bit of information over the weekend, they will be behind upon their return.

    “You’re always very optimistic,” Fisher said. “There’s a lot of work that needs...
    -05-15-2012, 01:46 PM
  • Nick
    McVay Encouraged by First Rookie Minicamp Practice
    by Nick
    McVay Encouraged by First Rookie Minicamp Practice
    Posted 16 hours ago
    Myles Simmons
    Rams Insider

    After arriving to the Rams’ facility in waves over the course of Thursday afternoon, Los Angeles’ draftees, college free agents, and tryout players were on the field for the first of three rookie minicamp practices.

    Los Angeles has 50 individuals listed for its two-day camp, including 19 rookie and four veteran tryout players. They’ll all go through the process of meetings and workouts, getting acclimated to life in the NFL.

    Friday morning, the Rams were on the field form about 10:30 to noon, going through individual position drills and some 7-on-7 group work before wrapping up. They’ll be back on the field for a second practice on Friday before their final practice at about noon on Saturday.

    “For the first workout, very encouraged,” head coach Sean McVay said. “Love the effort, love the energy that we had. And we expect to see the same thing this afternoon.”

    McVay said the club is mainly evaluating movement and players’ ability to compete in this short camp. The coaches don’t want to give the players too much to digest from the playbook, because it would likely hinder them in displaying their talents.

    “We just want to see their ability to be able to say OK, I’m going to go out, compete, run routes, get into coverage positions, work some of the fundamentals and techniques,” McVay said. “That’s kind of the intent and the goal of this weekend, as far as our evaluation is concerned.”

    However, McVay said the players will likely do more from an Xs and Os standpoint in the following weekend sessions.

    “Right now, we’re in the very early stages of what they’ll do with our offensive and defensive schemes, just running a couple of plays on offense and running a couple coverages and fronts on defense,” McVay said. “We’ve got to be smart with some of our numbers that we have see how much team competition we can do this afternoon, we’ll be ready to adjust that. But it’s exclusive to really an hour and a half of meetings this morning with what they’ve been exposed to.”

    From a player perspective, tight end Gerald Everett and wide receiver Cooper Kupp said it’s sometimes difficult to set aside the mental aspects of the game and just compete — particularly when you’re making a first impression.

    “You don’t want to mess up. You want to move 100 miles an hour and do the right things every play,” Everett said. “But it happens, especially being in rookie minicamp and the first day out here. So I think I had a couple errors, but not too many for my first day. Tomorrow I’ll be better.”

    “For me, I want to know what’s the guy next to me got? What’s the back doing? Because that gives me a better idea of what I’m going to see defensively and be able to make my route adjustments off of that,” Kupp said....
    -05-13-2017, 06:21 AM
  • MauiRam
    Rookies learn to eat right ..
    by MauiRam
    Rookies Get Nutritious Lesson
    Friday, June 20, 2008

    By Brett Grassmuck
    Staff Writer

    An NFL players’ health is key to his success, so it’s vital that he knows what kinds of foods to eat and what to stay away from.

    As part of their NFL schooling, the Rams rookies convened at the Woods Mill Schnuck’s Market on Monday to meet with nutritionist Connie Diekman, who gave them tips on healthy food to look for at the grocery store.

    “The number one tip in terms of healthy eating is to make it easy and enjoyable,” Diekman said. “We walked through and looked at some of the fast things they could do, pasta with vegetables, chicken, looking at dairy foods because cheese is a great option for a fast meal too. So quick and enjoyable were key.”

    The rookie nutrition lessons are part of what’s known as rookie school, which takes place during the organized team activities during the offseason. The rookie class has meetings with various people to learn the dos and don’ts of life in the NFL.

    Monday’s session of rookie school took place at the local Schnucks, where Diekman helped the rookies get a sense of how important it is to make good choices when shopping for groceries.

    “Typically the grocery store isn’t the first place young guys want to be,” Diekman said. “But I think they realize how healthy they are is how well they perform.”

    The class began in the produce section with all 20 members of the Rams rookie class huddled around a section of pineapple. Diekman utilized the pineapple, cantaloupe and others to explain how to pick out the freshest fruits and vegetables.

    “I learned that there’s a lot more than just shopping and getting what tastes good when you come to the grocery store,” Rams second overall pick Chris Long said. “There’s stuff that you might think is healthy that’s not actually healthy, and there’s stuff that you didn’t know was healthy. We all just tried to absorb those tips, and it’s important for us to try and use them now. “

    The class continued on like that throughout the store, moving from produce, to the seafood section, to the meat section, with Diekman stopping each time to explain how to make the most nutritious choice at each different area.

    “For a lot of these guys, this might have been a first experience, so how do you shop?” Diekman said. “How do you judge fresh produce? How do you judge if meat is a healthy cut. So we looked at, we touched, we smelled those cantaloupes, really to look at is this going to be a good option for me. It was how do you fix the meal, but also how do you know what to buy.”

    The group learned to look at food labels, not just the nutritional facts, but the ingredients that go into each item, learning how to select healthier options of a variety of foods.

    “We all have personal weaknesses food-wise,” Long...
    -06-20-2008, 02:49 PM
  • Nick
    With Offseason Program Complete, Talib Excited About Secondary’s Progress
    by Nick
    With Offseason Program Complete, Talib Excited About Secondary’s Progress
    Posted 8 hours ago
    Kristen Lago
    Rams Writer/Reporter

    The Rams wrapped up their mandatory minicamp on Wednesday afternoon, and with it cornerback Aqib Talib completed the 11th offseason program of his career.

    This offseason, however, did represent the cornerback’s first in Los Angeles, having been traded to the club in March. But even after just a short time with the franchise, Talib is feeling at home.

    “It’s been good, everything’s been positive,” Talib said recently. “It’s been good getting to know everybody real well, so it’s regular.”

    But Talib’s definition of “regular” may be a bit different than most.

    This offseason, the Rams’ defense underwent several significant changes as the club looked to improve upon 2017, bringing in Pro Bowlers like Talib, cornerback Marcus Peters, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

    And with several high-profile additions, many outside of the building have speculated as to what could come given the unit’s mix of strong personalities. Specifically in the secondary, where chemistry is of increased importance, there have been questions about how Talib and Peters would fit in among the established players.

    But throughout OTAs and minicamp, Talib has put those rumors to rest — confident in the strong chemistry that has been building in the defensive backs room.

    “I think we’re gonna be great. It’s going to be great,” he said “We’re good in the meeting room, on the field, off the field, we’re good — so it’s going to be great. Progress has been great [too]. Like today we even was cleaning some stuff up.”

    “So, as long as Monday night comes and all our communication is black and white — no gray — we’re good,” Talib continued. “From where we were on Day 1 to now, it’s a lot of progress.”

    And it hasn’t just been the unit as a whole that has shown improvement. Even heading into his 11th season, Talib said cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant has aided the All-Pro’s skillset.

    “He’s a young, energetic guy. A straight-forward guy, and a blunt guy too, so it’s good,” Talib said. “He’s a technician, so you can’t ever have good enough technique. A lot in my technique — off coverage, staying square — is the biggest thing that he’s helping me on.”
    -06-15-2018, 06:59 PM