– The Rams were back on the field for a “morning” practice on Wednesday but the practice was limited to a special teams workout, which essentially gave the players a bit of a break from the regular practice schedule.
– In fact, today’s practice was built in the way it was in an effort to give the team a bit of a buffer zone before the full pads come on and the hitting begins in Thursday’s practice. Quick reminder: the next practice open to the public will be on Friday at 3:30 at ContinuityX Training Center. That practice is also ladies day where the first 200 women to RSVP will be given special admission to a VIP experience for the day. Check this site for more info.
– On the heels of today’s special teams practice, the players get about a three hour break before they must return for meetings to begin at 3 p.m. They’ll then have a walk through and a few more meetings this evening.
– Wednesday, though, was all about the special teams: specifically the punt and punt return units.
“Clearly special teams is a huge part of our game,” Coach Jeff Fisher said. “We start most every practice session with special teams people. This was dedicated strictly to special teams. We got on and off the field in about an hour, had a lot of good drills and a lot of good teachning. Of course, we introduced the pads in this practice. Those that were not in here were inside doing an intensive stretching routine in the indoor facility.”
– The day belonged mostly to punters John Hekker and Tom Malone, both of whom are competing for the team’s punting job. Fisher made mention of a “couple stray balls” but said he was not concerned because there would be a little growing pains for the punters as they get readjusted to camp.
– As for the punt return team, there is still some competition at that spot but right now the guy with the most experience who is the most consistent is incumbent Danny Amendola. He took the first opportunities with the returners followed by CB Janoris Jenkins, RB Isaiah Pead, RB Chase Reynolds and WR Nick Johnson. All signs point to Amendola handling that role in 2012.
“We know Danny can do it,” Fisher said. “Obviously we are looking for a couple backups, guys who we can trust to make those decision.”
– A special guest was in the house today as former Rams LB Pisa Tinoisamoa stopped by for a visit. He still lives in the area and plans to be at Saturday’s FanFest at the Edward Jones Dome.
– The Rams resume practice tomorrow with a full squad workout in full pads for the first time. We’ll have a full report then. In the meantime, stay tuned to the front page of the website for a few stories today, including one on RB Steven Jackson, a notebook chock full of information including a piece on G Quinn Ojinnaka and at some point today or tomorrow a sneak peak at the Rams’ new marketing campaign.
Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »
– Tuesday was the last day of July and for anyone in St. Louis, the end of the month couldn’t have come sooner. As temperatures reached 103 degrees on Tuesday afternoon and felt even hotter on the field, St. Louis wrapped up the hottest July record in the city’s history.
– And the Rams found themselves on the field for what was the hottest part of the day.
– Despite the scorching hot conditions, coach Jeff Fisher was pleased with the way his team battled through the heat and finished the practice with a solid performance.
“We are much more aware,” Fisher said. “We are an air conditioned society now…that was an outstanding effort today. That was not easy. We had one neutral zone violation on defense in this heat which is pretty impressive.”
– Fisher also gave his team a little help to make it through the workout. Fisher and staff have done their research on the types of injuries that happen in camp and how they can happen. He’s pulling the strings accordingly and gave his team a little break to stretch and hydrate, a break most thought was the end of practice but his team went back out and did some more after.
“Typically, over time we have come to realize that there is increased pull history,” Fisher said. “So we wanted to take a moment and get them stretched out so we didn’t have any fatigue issues or fatigue pulls.”
– Quick update on the injury front:
– RB Daryl Richardson and WR Danario Alexander, both of whom have battled leg injuries, did some running on the side on Tuesday. Fisher said they are “working” their way back.
– C Tim Barnes is dealing with a calf issue. He did not practice.
– Same for CBs Josh Gordy and Kendric Burney, who are battling some hamstring tightness. They did not participate Tuesday.
– DE Eugene Sims appeared to suffer some sort of injury during practice in the arm/shoulder area but it’s not yet known the extent of that injury. UPDATE: Sims just had some issues with the heat. He’s expected to be fine.
– G Rokevious Watkins continues to work his way back into shape and on to the field.
– As for the happenings on the field, the Rams pushed through the heat but certainly had some mental lapses along the way. Drops again seemed to plague the team across the board, be it tight ends or receivers. Things picked up a bit in team drills but even in individuals, there seemed to be more drops than normal.
– Perhaps the star of the day was K Greg Zuerlein. Now, I think it’s supposed to be easier to kick in the heat but what Zuerlein was doing isn’t easy to do under any circumstance. He kicked a 60-yard field goal right down central with plenty of room to spare. He followed it with a 64-yarder that had plenty of distance. It might have been wide right on normal goalposts but it was absolutely crushed. The kid has special leg talent but that has to be managed here in camp as well as the Rams work to ensure he’s not fatigued when the season arrives.
– Danny Amendola vs. Cortland Finnegan might be the most entertaining skill position battle to watch in practice. And maybe one of the more entertaining to watch in a long time. Both guys are fiesty and tough but extremely talented.
– Craig Dahl was back with the top unit at safety. It seems he and Darian Stewart are taking turns so far.
– Practices will be closed to the public the next two days as the Rams finally put on the pads. Tomorrow will be a special teams practice but the real fun begins Thursday as the full squad puts the pads on. I’ll have full reports from both.
– Fans are welcome back to the ContinuityX Training Center for Friday’s practice session, which is set for 3:30.
– That’s all for today. As always thanks for reading and remember if you have any questions to be sure to drop them in Nick’s Mailbag for responses on Tuesdays.
Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »