– 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.
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