– The Rams just wrapped up their Wednesday practice during this bye week and they’ll have one more practice tomorrow before the players get their CBA-mandated four days off over the weekend.
– These two practices go well beyond starting preparation for the 49ers. In fact, the Rams aren’t as focused on San Francisco as they are on doing the things needed to make themselves better.
“The staff’s work is done, the self-scout work is done so the staff has moved on to San Francisco,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “What we are trying to do is improve in areas out here on the field, the plus territory and third down. We may do some things from a 49ers standpoint but most of it is just about the Rams right now improving.”
– One way they’ve already improved is the return – even if on a limited basis – of WR Danny Amendola (shoulder) and LT Rodger Saffold (knee). Both did get some limited work though Amendola seems to be a tick ahead of Saffold, who was limited to individual drills.
– Still, it’s a positive for the Rams to get either or both back on the field in any capacity. Saffold told reporters that it’s premature to say whether he’ll be ready to for San Francisco next week but he does feel good and is doing more and more each day.
– No sign of C Scott Wells yet. Fisher said Tuesday that Wells is a little bit behind Saffold so it’s no surprise he’s not out there yet. We’ll see where he ends up when the team comes back to practice next week.
– Wednesday’s practice lasted for about an hour and a half plus a walk through before hand and Fisher was pleased with the results.
“We are working against ourselves so you can’t get too many reps,” Fisher said. “We have positions where right now we are not too deep. But we got some good work today. We got a good meeting session, the players got their first lift in of the week and we had a good practice today.”
– Asked whether his team was making the adjustment to being back in the states OK, Fisher said they weren’t quite there yet but he expected them to be quite soon.
“They are doing fine,” Fisher said. “I think I’ll have them officially back on Rams time tomorrow.”
– The Rams will practice a bit earlier tomorrow with continued focus on red zone and short yardage work on offense and on creating turnovers on defense.
– Thanks for reading.
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– Mentioned this in the “Wrapping Up” blog but wanted to bump it out on its own because of all the questions coming in on RB Steven Jackson and the trade rumors swirling around him.
– At his news conference today, Rams Coach Jeff Fisher addressed the rumors without provocation. Here’s what he had to say:
“The (RB) Steven Jackson rumors are rumors,” Fisher said. “He’s our running back. We’re not calling around nor are we getting calls, for that matter. So, I’ll put that to rest.”
– The trade deadline, originally scheduled for today, was pushed to Thursday because of Hurricane Sandy and its effect on the East Coast teams and NFL offices.
– Fisher was asked after Sunday’s game against New England whether Jackson was being “phased out” of the offense, a notion Fisher also shot down quickly.
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– A (semi) recovered and rested head coach Jeff Fisher just completed his postgame post-mortem, talking to the media about Sunday’s disappointing showing against the Patriots in London as well as what’s in store for his team this week as it looks to put that one behind them and begin focusing on San Francisco, a tough road game coming down the pipe in two weeks.
– For this week, the Rams must follow the guidelines of the CBA in terms of what they can and can’t do. It requires players to have a full four days off. Under normal circumstances, that usually means Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
– Since the Rams just got back from London and are working on recovering from jet lag and adjusting back to normal central standard time, it means they’ll have work on Wednesday and Thursday then get Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday off.
– The Rams had meetings and film work today, which is equivalent to what a normal Monday would look like. They’ll have light “practices” Wednesday and Thursday before they are excused for the weekend.
– On the injury front, Fisher said as expected S Matt Daniels has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. He was placed on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon.
– No corresponding roster move has been made yet but Fisher said they will take some time to weigh the options during the bye week.
– As for guys returning from injury, Fisher said he expects LT Rodger Saffold to have a chance to be on the field for the two practices this week in some capacity. If that happens, things would look good for a potential return next week.
– Same for WR Danny Amendola, who has already done work in practice last week.
– Asked about C Scott Wells, Fisher said he’s “a little bit behind.”
– Fisher was also asked about how the O line would look when Saffold and Wells return and he indicated that they’d have many options but said Saffold moving to guard is not one of them.
– Fisher also quickly addressed the rumors of a trade of RB Steven Jackson. He said Jackson is “still our running back” and that they aren’t calling anyone to deal him nor are other teams calling about him. It really doesn’t appear Jackson is going anywhere despite the rumors that are out there. Trade deadline is coming before the week is out.
– As for the game, not much changed in terms of what Fisher saw from his team. It was a complete letdown across the board.
– The lack of pass rush, which was glaring after the game showed up again. In the coaches review, the Rams combined for 17 quarterback pressures and three quarterback hits with no sacks. The unofficial pressbox statistics had them with no quarterback hits so at least someone got a hand on New England QB Tom Brady but still obviously not enough to force him to be uncomfortable at any point in the game. Fisher did say that footing issues were a part of those struggles.
– LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar led the charge with 11 total tackles and S Craig Dahl finished with 10.
– As a whole, the defense had just four tackles for loss.
– When Fisher watched the replays, he said that all three pass interference calls on CB Bradley Fletcher were legitimate.
– But he also made it a point to say he’d like to see the officials protect QB Sam Bradford better. He noted three potential roughing the passer penalties that went uncalled.
– As for where his team stands right now, Fisher boiled it down to these two things, one on each side of the ball: not scoring touchdowns on offense and not getting takeaways on defense. Those are pretty big problem areas that Fisher said will be the focus of the bye week and into next week.
– The other thing that is alarming for Fisher is the continued penalties, especially on offense.
– Fisher addressed WR Brian Quick’s status and said he’s “just behind” and “some guys take a little longer.” Fisher was not pleased with Quick not going to challenge for the ball that was intercepted in the red zone. He also added that he believes Quick is going to be “very good.”
– The Rams now have the challenge of refocusing for the rest of this week and then preparing for San Francisco. Fisher’s message to his team was a simple analogy: there are 16 plays and they just had a bad play. They now have eight more, what are they going to do with them?
– The answer is up to them.
– Thanks for reading. We’ll have coverage of the next two days as we head into the bye.
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– Well, after a game like that where you lose 45-7, there simply isn’t much to say. The Rams, quite simply, were beaten in every phase of the game as the Patriots rolled to a 45-7 win.
– It was the first time under Jeff Fisher that the Rams weren’t really even competitive in a game. After a hot start and a quick 7-0 lead, it was all Patriots, all the time.
– On defense, the Rams couldn’t get to New England QB Tom Brady at all. There was no pressure. The run defense took a step back and the Rams couldn’t get off the field on third down. They were hurt by some iffy pass interference penalties but that’s a bit beside the point considering the breakdowns across the whole defense. As MLB James Laurinaitis said, they had too many miscommunications and poor reads.
– On offense, it was a lack of execution but more than that it was TOO.MANY.PENALTIES. It’s been an issue all year and it continues to be one. In fact, after a nearly flawless first drive, the Rams offense had at least one penalty on each of their next five possessions with seven penalties in total. That’s a good way to keep from putting points on the board.
– Even the special teams made a mistake as long snapper Jake McQuaide misfired on a snap that P Johnny Hekker couldn’t handle. He was dropped for a 9-yard loss and instead of a field goal and a 21-10 deficit, it quickly became 28-7.
– More on the game in a minute, though not much more.
– On the injury front, it appears the Rams have one serious injury, according to coach Jeff Fisher. He said S Matt Daniels has a likely significant ACL injury that will probably end his season. That will be examined further on return to St. Louis but it doesn’t look good.
– T Barry Richardson (head), WR Chris Givens (toe) and Joe Barksdale were also shaken up. They all returned to the game, though and should be fine coming out of the bye.
– Speaking of the bye, here’s a small silver lining: not only can those guys heal up but it looks good for possible returns for LT Rodger Saffold and WR Danny Amendola after the off week as well.
– Back to the game, not much positive to say but a tip of the cap for the rookie WR from Wake Forest, Mr. Givens. He made another huge play on a 50-yard TD grab to start the game. In the process, he set the rookie record for consecutive weeks with a 50-plus yard catch. He’s at five now and counting.
– Rodney McLeod did a nice job in punt coverage, as per usual. He was all over the place though he had a penalty as well.
– It was hard to see the penalty calls from our pressbox vantage point on CB Bradley Fletcher but I’m sure Rams fans wouldn’t have minded a game called that tightly in the receivers’ favor back in a certain game against these Patriots in 2001.
– Two weeks, two Hall of Fame QBs: Tom Brady was outstanding.
– Say what you want about TE Rob Gronkowski and maybe his off field shenanigans but the guy has a lot of fun playing football and he’s really good at it. He’s a nightmare for opponents.
– Rams S Quintin Mikell put blame on himself for having “bad eyes” against Gronkowski and the Patriots passing attack. In other words, he didn’t hit hit keys and make the right reads. That left him giving up some big plays. In fact, the Rams safeties and LBs had a very rough week in that regard.
– It’s difficult to get a good pass rush on Brady because he’s so good at spotting blitzes and throwing to the vacated spot but to have no sacks and no quarterback hits (in unofficial pressbox stats), well, I don’t think you have much of a chance against him if those are goose eggs.
– Some nice, positive plays in garbage time for RB Isaiah Pead and WR Brian Quick. Quick, in particular, needed one after a rough pair of moments earlier in the game. He’s still got a ways to go to be the player the Rams coaching staff thinks he can be.
– Some more nice flashes for RB Daryl Richardson though he still has work to do in pass protection.
– All told, the game was a dud for the Rams and to a man, they all acknowledged that. They now have a bye to lick the wounds further and see how they bounce back. Fisher is eager to see his team’s response.
– But I know this: there’s not much time to sit around sulking on this one. While they do have a bye, they have a trip to San Francisco waiting for them in two weeks. It never gets any easier around the NFL and the Rams will be tested further in the next two weeks than they have at any point this season.
– Thanks for reading and following all week with our coverage from London. Talk to you all when we get back stateside Monday or Tuesday.
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– Rams drive ends from their 37 as Bradford is sacked again for a loss of 8 by Ninkovich.
– Patriots take over at their 45.
– Another drive, another TD for Pats. Brady to Gronkowski for 14 yards and a score. It’s 45-7 with 11:20 to go.
– Rams get it at their 27.
– After moving into NE territory on strength of RIchardson’s legs, Bradford was intercepted by CB Alfonzo Dennard. Pats take over at their 18.
– Ryan Mallett in at QB for Pats.
– Defense gets a stop.
– Kellen Clemens in for Bradford at QB.
– Rams take over at their 10.
– Nice run by RB Isaiah Pead gains 19.
– Quick goes up and makes a nice catch for a gain of 38 to New England’s 24.
– Another nice gain by Pead for a gain of 8.
– Clemens intercepted by Tavon Wilson.
– That will do it for this one.
– Patriots win it 45-7. Very disappointing showing for the Rams in all phases. They fall to 3-5 heading into the bye week.
– Pats start at the 20.
– Moving it with ease, still as two plays net 47 yards.
– Four plays later, Brady hits Lloyd for another score, this time from 9 yards out. Pats lead 35-7.
– Rams defense being shredded by Brady and Co.
– Rams start first drive of second half from their 20.
– Three and out after another costly penalty on second down when Bradford crossed line of scrimmage before throwing.
– New England starts again at its 34.
– It’s the Stevan Ridley show on this drive: three runs for 60 yards. First down at Rams 6.
– Patriots finally do something other than score a TD, settle for a Stephen Gostkowski 26-yard field goal. Pats lead 38-7 with 6:55 to go in the third.
– Rams get a first down by penalty but penalties of their own and a third down sack ended any hopes of a drive. New England has it at its 45.
– The Rams offense hasn’t gone an entire possession without a penalty since the opening drive.
– Defense gets a three and out. First punt of the day for New England comes with 2:36 to go in the third quarter.
– It’s a touchback. Rams take over at their 20.
– Rams moving with some nice grabs from Gibson.
– Rams have it third and 6 at the Patriots 37 at the end of three quarters.
– The Rams held their ground twice before Shane Vereen pounded it in from 1 yard out. New England leads 14-7 with 14:12 to go in the half.
– Rams start their third possession at their 20.
– After an 8-yard completion to Richardson and a third down conversion on third and 2 to Kendricks for 6, the Rams went nowhere again.
– On third-and-15, a short completion to Steve Smith turned into a disaster as he fumbled and LB Rob Ninkovich recovered at the Rams’ 25.
– A review of the play called it incomplete. Rams to punt. Dodge a bullet there.
– Patriots get it back at their 21.
– Gronkowski and Brady continued their dominance, hooking up for gains of 17 and 32 to the Rams’ 9.
– On third and goal at the 7, Brady hit Gronkowski again for a touchdown. It’s 21-7 Patriots. Rams defense getting no pressure on Brady and he and Gronkowski are picking them apart.
– Rams start again at their 29.
– On second down, Bradford hit Givens for 9 and followed with an 8-yard strike to Gibson for a first down at the 38.
– After another first down got to New England’s 41, a holding penalty pushed the Rams back 10 yards.
– On first and 20 at the Rams’ 49, Bradford found Richardson for 3 yards but was hit on the play and remained down.
– Looks like he’ll be OK. Rams call timeout, Bradford won’t even miss a snap.
– Bradford finds Kendricks at Patriots 46.
– It’s third and 15 there.
– Bradford to Kendricks for 10 more sets up fourth and 5 at New England’s 36.
– Zuerlein on to try a 53-yard field goal.
– A high snap left Hekker unable to get the snap down and he was dropped for a 9-yard loss.
– New England took over at its 44 and quickly got 15 on a completion to Woodhead.
– On third and 4 at the Rams 35, Fletcher was flagged for pass interference again, this time for 15 yards and another first down at the 20.
– Brady got a first down on third and 1 with a 3-yard sneak.
– Yet another pass interference on Fletcher gave the Pats another third down conversion. First and goal at the 1 with 14 seconds to go.
– Ridley scores. It’s 28-7 and getting out of hand here at Wembley as we head to the half.
– The Patriots won the toss and elected to defer. The Rams started from their 20.
– After an offsides penalty, the Rams picked up 14 as Bradford dropped on off to RB Steven Jackson.
– Bradford hit Pettis for 5 and Jackson picked up 6 on two carries for a first down at the 50.
– There, Bradford threw a perfect play action strike to WR Chris Givens for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead.
– Tremendous start for the Rams.
– Givens’ catch was his fifth straight game with a 50-plus yard grab, a new NFL rookie record, passing Willie Gault.
– New England started at its 22 and got a first down on a pass interference for a 10-yard gain and a first at the 40.
– Three plays later, they converted again as Brady floated one to RB Danny Woodhead for a gain of 24 to the Rams’ 28.
– Three plays after that, Brady hit Brandon Lloyd for a 19-yard touchdown.
– The extra point ties it at 7 with 7:50 to go in the first. Lots of fireworks here early.
– Rams start again from their 17.
– Bradford hits Matthew Mulligan for 13 to the 30 and a first down.
– A 7-yard run by Jackson and 5 for Richardson picked up another first down.
– But the Rams drive died as Bradford was flagged for grounding on third and 6.
– New England starts again at its 17.
– Brady went back to work with two 25-yard completions to TE Rob Gronkowski.
– The Patriots have second and goal at the Rams 2 in a 7-7 game at the end of the first half.
– Greetings from Wembley Stadium where the Rams and the Patriots are warming up for today’s kickoff, which takes place at 5:00 p.m. London time and noon back in St. Louis.
– It’s a chilly, overcast day here in London or, pretty much, par for the course for October in London. But it’s expected that the rain will stay away.
– Not that anyone cares but the pressbox setup here is somewhat strange. The pressbox isn’t just open air, it’s open, period. It’s a section unto itself but it’s right next to general fan population and is really just regular seats with a table attached to the top.
– The Rams will be wearing the all blues here as has been their normal custom during home games. As hard as it is to remember at times, this is a home game for the Rams. The stadium is decked out in Rams logos as a reminder.
– The Rams inactives for today: DE Eugene Sims, QB Austin Davis, WR Danny Amendola, T Rodger Saffold, T Wayne Hunter, LB Mario Haggan and DT Matt Conrath.
– For the Patriots: TE Aaron Hernandez, G Logan Mankins, S Patrick Chung, S Steve Gregory, RB Brandon Bolden, LB Tracy White and DL Trevor Scott.
– For the Rams, Joe Barksdale will again start at LT in place of Hunter via Saffold.
– Keep an eye on WR Brian Quick today, he could have an expanded role.
– All four Rams RBs will be available so it’s possible Terrance Ganaway could get some chances.
– The Patriots have some major shuffling to do in the secondary without both starting safeties.
– New England is wearing white jerseys with blue pants.
– Stay tuned for updated throughout the game.
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– The Rams finished their week of practice with a cold, windy workout on a field at The Grove Hotel on Friday morning but a little taste of Hollywood made the day a bit more enjoyable. More on that in a moment but first let’s get to the football.
– Coach Jeff Fisher said he was pleased with how his team has responded in practice each day after some “groggy” mornings.
“They have improved each day and today was our best day,” Fisher said. “For the players after we got past the first meeting Wednesday morning it was normal. As you can imagine they were a little groggy in the morning but we followed a normal schedule Wednesday, yesterday and today. We are on a normal schedule right now and they’ve adjusted. We feel good.”
– Bolstering the spirits at practice was the sight of Hollywood A-lister Kevin Costner, who stopped by practice. Costner is in town filming the new “Jack Ryan” movie, which is a reboot of the popular Tom Clancy character once played by Harrison Ford in movies such as Patriot Games.
– Fisher said his favorite Costner movie is “Field of Dreams” and made note that Costner evoked some similarities to that movie with what he spent most of practice doing.
“He acted like that was his football Field of Dreams out there today,” Fisher said. “His arm must be sore, he must have thrown for about an hour out there today.”
– When asked if Costner had a good arm, Fisher replied “Yeah, at one time.”
– Fisher said the Patriots philosophy is different in terms of travel because they have to travel to the West Coast and the travel here isn’t much longer. He doesn’t view it as much of an advantage but did want his players well adjusted before playing Sunday.
– Asked what the key is to slowing down Tom Brady and Co., Fisher had a simple reply:
“Keeping them off the field,” Fisher said. “That’s about the best way to do it which means you have to win time of possession, you have to find a way to run the football against a good defense. It’s difficult to stop this offense. You have to manage it as much as you can.”
– Now the Rams will re-locate to a more central hotel in downtown and make another adjustment. The players will have some more free time and the entire organization will take part in a private event at the Tower of London tonight. Aside from that, the Rams will have a walk through at Wembley Stadium on Saturday morning with normal pre-game meetings interspersed in there.
– More updates at they come. Thanks for reading.
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– The Rams finished up their Thursday practice under an overcast sky and chilly temperatures. The wind was howling and the fields were a bit slippery at Arsenal practice facility Thursday but the team made it through the workout with no issues.
– Temperatures are expected to continue to dip in the next few days and end with a chilly Sunday evening game against the Patriots at Wembley Stadium.
– On the practice field, the Rams made it through another day and WR Danny Amendola was again a limited participant in practice.
– Amendola told reporters after that he was still going to push to play this week. It still seems like a long shot but coach Jeff Fisher did acknowledge that Amendola looked “better” in Thursday’s practice than he did on Wednesday.
– Here’s the full injury report for Thursday:
Did Not Participate: T Wayne Hunter (back), DE Eugene Sims (knee) and T Rodger Saffold (knee).
Limited Participants: Amendola, DT Matt Conrath (knee), TE Mike McNeill (knee) and LB Mario Haggan (thigh).
Full Participant: WR Brandon Gibson (illness)
– Gibson was actually the WR who was ill on Wednesday but an error on the injury report said it was Chris Givens. Givens hasn’t missed any time. Gibson didn’t practice Wednesday and returned to action Thursday in a full capacity.
– Haggan took part in his first practice since suffering the thigh injury a few weeks ago.
– Newly acquired OL Chris Williams has been working all over the place though LT has seemingly been his main position so far. He’s wearing No. 69. It remains to be seen how much of the offense he knows but it seems the Rams are working to get him up to speed sooner than later so he can chip in if needed.
– The Patriots are scheduled to leave for London tonight and arrive in the morning. It could be an advantage for the Rams having more time to get acclimated to the time change but New England coach Bell Belichick doesn’t believe it necessary to be here too soon.
“We had to make an adjustment to the time change, getting back into our routine and our schedule and all that,” Belichick said. “The fact that we’ve done it before gives us a little bit of a barometer as to what some of the needs are and maybe what some of the harder things were for us and what some of the easier things were in the last trip. Overall, I think that we’ve done a pretty good job of trying to understand the logistics and certainly we’ve had a lot of cooperation from the people on the London end and the people in our organization that have worked to make a smooth trip. I think it’ll be fine. It really worked out fine last time. There are some hurdles to get over, but everybody’s worked hard to bring it together and I think it should be a smooth operation.”
– Rumor has it that the Rams will have a special guest attending their Friday practice on the hotel grounds at The Grove. More on that tomorrow should the rumored visit actually occur.
– Be sure to check in at 12:30 for the chat. I know we usually do Tuesdays but it’s been impossible to get it with the time change and events going on around here. I’ll go over to the mailbag and knock it out in about an hour. Promise.
– Thanks for reading. I’ll have a story coming on the matchup with New England’s vaunted offense as well as a look at newly added Rams OL Williams in a little while.
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– Only a couple of hours ago, the Rams wrapped up their Wednesday practice little more than 24 hours after arrival in London.
– Considering the time change and the jet lag, Rams coach Jeff Fisher was pleased with how his team responded on Wednesday morning. They went through about a two-hour practice, mostly on adrenaline as they pushed through fatigue to begin preparation for the Patriots.
– Players were encouraged to spend as much time awake as possible on arrival in London. As such, players looked for ways to find things to do to stay awake. Some such as QB Sam Bradford did the simple things like stay up and watch film as he normally would on a Tuesday though he said he had trouble falling asleep when he did go to bed. Others, such as DE Robert Quinn, went to the movies to try to force themselves to stay awake. Quinn found himself nodding off during a viewing of Taken 2, which while it’s not an Academy Award waiting to happen is also an action movie that shouldn’t be forcing people to nod off. Obviously, it’s a tiring situation for all involved but they responded quickly.
– Fisher wants his team on as normal a schedule as possible this week and elected to bring the team over the pond early to help acclimate to that. They had a regular wake up call at 6:30 this morning and had meetings, a walk through and more meetings before practice. It was difficult to get up and going according to Quinn but once they did, they seemed to be OK.
– Make no mistake, the Rams are here on business. There will be time for some sightseeing and such later in the week when the team moves to a hotel in the city but this team is focused on getting an all important win before the bye week to get back to .500 and position itself to make a run.
– A quick note on the Arsenal facility: it’s absolutely stunning. It’s huge and can hold about 12 football fields, the grass is manicured to the point you could safely eat a meal off of it and the training center has every possible amenity you could want. To a man, every player was blown away by how the facility and practice fields were set up.
– One quirk of playing over here is dealing with a different type of media that doesn’t necessarily have a full grasp on American football. During Fisher’s news conference today, he was asked a series of strange questions about his team. The highlight? He was informed that lions, dragons and princes hold a place in London lore and was then asked to name who on his team would qualify as each. Fisher refused to name a prince, saying he hoped none of his guys fit that royal bill and then proceeded to say James Laurinaitis and Steven Jackson were his lions (note: we’d vote DE Chris Long as a lion in this corner of cyberspace as well, after all he has a giant lion head tattooed on his back). And Fisher said K Greg Zuerlein would be the dragon. Not really sure how he’s a dragon or even what that would mean but such is the situation when asked something so random.
– Bradford was asked the same question and said he thought it would be “a little weird” to call anyone a prince. He too, was counfounded by the dragon question.
– One British reporter challenged Chris Long to an eating and drinking contest after Sunday’s game. The playful Long agreed to the contest and Bradford was asked by the reporter if he had any advice on how to beat Long. Bradford told him he was in for a pretty big challenge.
– Back on the practice field, it was a pleasant surprise to see WR Danny Amendola do some running around in practice. Now, he’s not back to being ready to play this week by any means but Bradford said having Amendola on the field doing anything is a shot in the arm for the team.
– T Rodger Saffold, who is battling a knee injury, also appears to be progressing. He did some running on the side as well. With a bye week coming for the Rams after this week, there could be some major reinforcements on the way for the Rams in time to take on division rival San Francisco in week 10.
– The Rams are staying at a terrific hotel out in Watford area called “The Grove.” The set up is really quite impressive. The Rams support staff, specifically the training staff, the equipment staff, the video staff, the advance operations staff and the I.T. staff did an amazing job in working with the great crew at the hotel to set things up for the week. Anytime you can actually go so far as to set up a working locker room in a hotel meeting room, you’ve probably got your logistics down to a science.
– Rams players will have more meetings tonight and go through the usual work week with another practice at Arsenal tomorrow and one here at The Grove on Friday morning before moving to a hotel in the city.
– A group of Rams employees, myself included are headed to the Arsenal game tonight. The only football I really know is the one the Rams will play on Sunday but tonight figures to be a really cool experience and I plan to write about the whole thing tomorrow for anyone interested.
– In the meantime, thanks for reading and stay tuned for much more coverage on stlouisrams.com tonight.
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– Rams coach Jeff Fisher took time out of a hectic day to talk about yesterday’s game against the Packers and what the week will have in store for his team when it arrives in London. The Rams depart for jolly old England at 6:30 tonight.
– Before we get into some of that, let’s run down some matters of business.
– First, as reported here earlier today, the Rams made a roster move by releasing OL Quinn Ojinnaka and signing OL Chris Williams to replace him. Williams is the former 14th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft of Chicago and was released on Oct. 16. He will provide depth and versatility to the Rams line, according to Fisher.
“Chris was released last week and we talked to him,” Fisher said. “He made a visit in here and we’re really excited about the opportunity as he is. He’s flexible from the standpoint that he’s played all the positions. He can help us. He’s got a lot to learn but we think he has a future here with us.”
– Also, as expected, C Scott Wells, who is eligible to return to practice this week from the injured reserve/designated to return list, will not be participating in practice this week. His foot injury is not quite there and it’s more likely he’ll be able to return to work during the bye week or the week after.
“Not yet,” Fisher said. “I think you can assume if they don’t make the trip, they will be out this week.”
– As for the game, Fisher said about what you’d expect him to say considering the results. He lamented the third downs and lack of turnovers on Sunday but it all really came down to the dynamic performance of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers.
“Aaron was really good,” Fisher said. “He threw with great accuracy yesterday. He played really well. We gave him a lot of different looks…and he just made the plays.”
– Fisher was extremely pleased with the performance of his new look offensive line on the left side. He called out LG Shelley Smith and LT Joe Barksdale by name and said he felt the line “improved” this week and took a positive step in the right direction.
– Fisher was also pleased with QB Sam Bradford. He said Bradford, like his teammates didn’t play well enough to win but said he thought Bradford did a good job of feeling the pressure and evading it. He also made special note of Bradford’s ability to make adjustments at the line and get the Rams in and out of certain plays.
– Much as expected, Fisher was asked about eschewing the field goal try to go for it on fourth and 2 in the first half, a play that resulted in an incompletion and gave the ball back to the Packers. The explanation was simple and logical:
“You’re not going to beat Aaron Rodgers with field goals,” Fisher said. “We got points on the first drive, came back and we just needed more shots at the end zone. I wouldn’t second guess that. I’d do that again.”
– As for the onside kick the Rams could not recover, Fisher said the team was taken by surprise and gave credit to the Packers for executing it well.
– One thing that Fisher would like to see change is the turnovers. After getting them in bunches early in the season, the Rams have had a bit of a dry spell in that area and it must get turned around if the Rams are to knock off these tough opponents.
– That’ll do it for this week’s version of Wrapping Up. Have got a story to finish here before we head to London. I’ll be talking to you all then. Thanks for reading.
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– Before heading overseas, the Rams made another roster move Monday morning, again tweaking the mix they have on the offensive line.
– The Rams released OL Quinn Ojinnaka after he lost his starting job to Shelley Smith on Sunday. In his place, the Rams added another former high draft choice on the OL, the recently released Chris Williams, who was once the 14th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
– Ojinnaka, of course, had started all of the Rams’ preseason games but was released in the final round of cuts. He was brought back in week 3 after injuries to Rodger Saffold and Scott Wells. He plugged back in at left guard for the ensuing four games before Smith overtook him last week.
– Williams spent time at both tackle spots in Chicago before getting a look at left guard in recent opportunities. The Bears released him on Oct. 16.
– For now, it’s expected Williams will provide depth behind an offensive line that had a new look on the left side with Smith and Joe Barksdale (tackle) against Green Bay.
– Wells is eligible to return to practice this week from his injured reserve designation (though he wouldn’t count against the 53-man roster) but it’s not expected that he’s going to be ready to make that step just yet.
– Both Wells and Saffold seem to be on pace for a return sometime shortly after the bye depending on how they recover in the next couple of weeks.
– As it stands, here’s how the Rams offensive line depth looks:
Tackle: Barry Richardson, Wayne Hunter, Barksdale, Williams, (Saffold)
Guard: Harvey Dahl, Smith, Williams, Tim Barnes
Center: Robert Turner, Barnes, (Wells)
– Thanks for reading. Back with more after coach Jeff Fisher’s 1:30 news conference.
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