– The Rams just finished up a scorching hot Friday practice and once again Coach Jeff Fisher was pleased with the way his team handled the heat.
– After the practice, Fisher discussed what he calls the “end of phase one,” which culminates with tomorrow’s scrimmage at the Edward Jones Dome.
– The Rams went through their first open padded practice on Friday with plenty of heat to slow them down but made it through OK.
– Once again, tempers seemed to flare at the beginning of team drills. Many of the fracases seemed to carry over from Thursday though as the primary players involved included G Harvey Dahl, DEs Eugene Sims and Williams Hayes, among others.
– Once they settled in, the team got back to work and once again the defense seemed to be in control both up front and in the secondary in team drills.
– CB Cortland Finnegan continues to make his presence felt on the back end, but this time he did it with his coverage skills. He seemed to be around the ball a lot on Friday and made a number of plays on the ball.
– During one on one pass rush drills, it was a much better day for the offensive line. LT Rodger Saffold, in particular, made some strides against DE Robert Quinn today.
– Rookie OT Joe Long had a couple of nice moments and anchored well in his opportunities against fellow rookie Scott Smith.
– The biggest collision of the day came in a rookie on rookie crime. RB Isaiah Pead turned the left corner and found himself with an angle to take on CB Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins didn’t get low enough and Pead lowered the boom on him with a thunderous right shoulder. The collision drew oohs and aahs and earned Pead some kudos from his mentor, RB Steven Jackson.
– Not much change to report on the injury front but G Rokevious Watkins continues to work his way into the mix. Watkins looked pretty good during the team’s running game drills and you can see what the coaching staff means when it calls Watkins “heavy handed.” Once he gets those big mitts on you, it’s hard to get them off.
– LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar unabashedly admitted after practice that he’d been itching to get the pads on to go hit someone. He was a physical presence again in today’s practice and Fisher made it clear that Dunbar not only knows how to get through traffic but also can take on blockers and shed them to get to the ball. Of course we don’t know what type of year Dunbar is going to have yet but it’s safe to say he’s motivated to prove something.
– Jenkins recovered from the blow delivered by Pead a bit later when he stayed stride for stride with speedy rookie WR Chris Givens and picked off QB Sam Bradford on a deep ball.
– Don’t ever let it be said that backup QB Kellen Clemens isn’t tough as nails. During the fracas that started with nothing but big linemen, Clemens never hesitated to poke his head in and help pull his teammates out of the grinder.
– It should be mentioned in this space that C Robert Turner seems to be a nice find for this team. He was a bit of an unheralded signing but he seems to be holding up fairly well with the first unit in the absence of Scott Wells.
– I don’t know if it’s the return of the beard or not but G Harvey Dahl looks like he’s on a mission and he has a special appreciation for putting the pads on. Dahl really looks stout against DT Kendall Langford in one on ones, at one point putting Langford on the ground. Haven’t seen much of that against Langford in this short time.
– FB Ovie Mughelli looks like he’s rounding into shape. He was absolutely devastating at times during the running game drills. Mughelli looks to be back almost to full health and is going to get more and more work as the weeks go by.
– Is anyone else ready for some scrimmage action? Some live football?
– Well, tomorrow is the day. Doors at the Edward Jones Dome open at 10 a.m. for season ticket holders and it should be noted that if you aren’t a season ticket holder but know one, you can go with them and get early entrance to the stadium for the locker room tour and other fun activities.
– The doors open at noon for the rest of the public and admissions is absolutely free. GM Les Snead will address the crowd around 12:10 and then the business begins at 12:30.
– Fisher said after practice that tomorrow will be the first day the Rams are in full pads (leg pads included) and that the script will follow similar to what’s been done in the first set of practices. But after that, he wants to get in situational work which will include some “thud” tempo which means contact but not full on tackling.
– When all of that is done, the real fun begins as the youngsters will step on the field for a live period or two of full tackling. Don’t expect to see guys like Jackson and Bradford being tackled but it will be the first live football since January.
– After it’s all over, all players will stick around for 30 minutes for a special autograph session.
– Hope you all can make it to the Edward Jones Dome tomorrow! Thanks for reading.
Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »
– The Rams just wrapped up a two-plus hour Thursday evening session in nice, cool weather with overcast skies. The timing of the break in weather couldn’t have come at a better time as the team went to pads for the first time this training camp…sort of.
– The Rams did have full shoulder pads and uppers on but wore shorts on the bottom with no pads. It’s unlikely the leg pads and pants will come out until the team’s scrimmage on Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome.
– As expected, the addition of pads made things more physical and as such, created some intensity and a little bit of chippiness.
– Near the end of team drills in red zone work, LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar dropped TE Lance Kendricks and RB Steven Jackson (twice in his case) right at or after the whistle. After the first time Jackson went down, G Harvey Dahl came over to investigate but Jackson seemed unfazed by it so Dahl let it slide. The second time, Jackson again didn’t seem too upset but Dahl made a more emphatic point to Dunbar that his running back was going to be protected.
– Likewise, a small exchange took place between T Barry Richardson and DEs Eugene Sims and William Hayes that had to be broken up.
– Now, these exchanges never got out of hand and didn’t turn too physical but it was clear these guys were ready to get back to business after eight months without full contact. Coach Jeff Fisher said he was OK with the physical nature of practice so long as it never carried over to games. He wants his teams to be physical but he doesn’t want silly penalties. Still, he appreciated his guys protecting each other.
– On the injury front, the Rams have a number of guys on the verge of returning from soft tissue tightness (hamstrings, etc) that did individual drills but did not participate in the team portion of practice. That list includes WR Danario Alexander, CB Kendric Burney and CB Josh Gordy.
– S Darian Stewart did nothing as he too is dealing with hamstring tightness.
– CB Jerome Murphy also did not practice. Fisher said he was “sore” and indicated he’d be back sooner than later as well.
– C Scott Wells remains out of practice as he recovers from a knee injury.
– On the bright side, G Rokevious Watkins returned to action and got his first opportunity to participate in team drills. He worked with the third team at right guard.
– Got our first look at one on one pass rush drills. Nothing stood out in particular though DEs Chris Long and Robert Quinn continue to be a nightmare. That carried over to team drills as well.
– Bryan Mattison got his first work of camp at left guard as he and Quinn Ojinnaka took turns with the top unit. Mattison had some ups and downs as rookie DT Michael Brockers steamrollered him on one play.
– It’s not really a secret how the Rams offense intends to set the tone this year with the run game. The first three plays in team drills of the first padded practice were all run plays. And there were some big collisions. Jackson gave a nice blow to S Quintin Mikell on the second play.
– Later, Jackson introduced himself to rookie CB Janoris Jenkins with a stiff arm as he ran into the end zone. Jenkins played it off pretty well before adjusting his facemask and heading back to the huddle.
– Perhaps the crispest pass of the evening was from backup QB Kellen Clemens to WR Austin Pettis streaking down the seam. Clemens put it on the money and Pettis caught it in stride for what would have been a score.
– The Rams worked a lot of situational stuff as usual: red zone work, two minute drill, etc.
– With so many moving parts, it’s been hard for the offensive line to find a rhythm in the opening days of camp. That became more evident with the pads on as the Rams defensive line continues to get consistent pressure on the quarterback.
– RB Isaiah Pead continues to look good and looked especially sharp in the one on one passing drills matched up against linebackers. Those are the matchups the Rams will seek out for Pead a lot in his rookie season.
– S Craig Dahl took the reps with the first team at safety once again with Stewart out but Fisher made it clear that he’s going to try different combinations on the back end. Not only are Stewart and Dahl rotating but Fisher said they’ll look at their guys at different positions as well, inter changing between free and strong safety.
– CB Cortland Finnegan loves to hit.
– The Rams are back at it tomorrow with a 3:30 practice that is free and open to the public.
– And don’t forget, Saturday is the first ever Fan Fest at the Edward Jones Dome. GM Les Snead will address the crowd at about noon and the scrimmage will kick off at 12:30 and go for two hours before a post-scrimmage autograph session.
– As always, thanks for reading and we’ll be back with more tomorrow.
Posted in From the Sidelines | 5 Comments »