St. Louis Rams – Blog

Wrapping Up Indianapolis

Posted by nickwagoner on August 13, 2012 – 9:33 PM

- Welcome back to the first edition of “Wrapping Up” for the 2012 season as we take a final glance at the preseason opener against Indianapolis with the hindsight provided by Coach Jeff Fisher in his day after game new conference. Fisher, of course, has watched the game tape and offers more insight into what happened than he possibly could right after a game.

- Without any further adieu, let’s dig into it…

- First, as always, let’s start on the injury front. As Fisher indicated after yesterday’s game, the Rams came out of it injury free. In fact, Fisher had nothing but good things to report on the injury front saying that the team actually expects to enter week 2 of the preseason healthier than week one. That’s hardly ever the case.

- Fisher said CB Bradley Fletcher (ribs), S Darian Stewart (hamstring) and WR Brandon Gibson (hamstring) are expected to return to practice this week. Fletcher is the most questionable of the trio but Fisher was confident all would return in some capacity.

- DT Trevor Laws and C Scott Wells still have some work to do to make it back.

- WR Danario Alexander is a bit of a day to day situation. It’s possible he could return this week but that will be up in the air leading up to Saturday’s game.

- As for the game itself, let me give a little bit of analysis on how it seems Fisher views this and how he handles these Monday pressers.

- First, he went into some detail describing why it’s important for him not to get too high after a win or too low after a loss. His belief is that if he’s riding the rollercoaster, the team will too. The idea is to set a high standard and keep it even keel from there.

- And that’s how Fisher was in his Monday press conference. There’s no panic in his voice but he’s not gushing about anyone either. He was balanced in his criticisms of what went wrong in the opener and what he liked when he turned the tape on. That’s a good example to set for the team.

- As for the game itself, Fisher said his team will have no trouble moving on from it and again emphasized that there was a big difference in philosophical approach to the game. Fisher said his team was extremely vanilla while the Colts did quite a bit of scheming. That doesn’t mean there’s a right or wrong way to do but just different philosophies. Fisher said the Rams will steadily add more and more to the pregame schemes in each game though the final preseason contest will likely be fairly plain as well.

- Fisher’s biggest disappointments in this one?

1. Failure to put points on the board
2. Not finishing drives well (which goes hand in hand with 1)
3. Inability to get off the field on third down on defense and to stay on the field on third down on offense

- On the flip side, Fisher found plenty of good things he liked as well. Here’s a sample of those:

1. The run blocking by the first team offensive line
2. The accuracy of QB Sam Bradford
3. The special teams as a whole (with specific mentions of P Johnny Hekker and LB Aaron Brown)

- While I’m on the subject of special teams, it was a bonehead mistake on my part to forget to include him in my blog yesterday. He was really good and Fisher said Monday if there was going to be a game ball for that game, it would have gone to Hekker. The 67-yard punt he hit in the first half was absolutely perfect. It was inside the 20, the returner didn’t catch it and it rolled out of bounds at the 2. 67 yards of gross and 67 yards of net. Hekker finished with a two-punt average of 55.5 yards with a net of 52.5 and both punts were inside the 20. Nice debut, kid.

- Fisher also made mention of a player we didn’t forget in this space yesterday: WR Austin Pettis. He said Pettis has gotten better throughout camp and has been consistent about catching the ball. Expect his role to continue to grow.

- The competition will continue this week at right tackle between Jason Smith and Barry Richardson. Richardson got the start on Sunday but Fisher said both players did a solid job and will continue to battle it out in practice. For what it’s worth, on the sack Jerry Hughes got on Smith, he was clearly in the neutral zone and there was zero chance for Smith to get any sort of blocking angle on him. In my mind, the most blatant missed call of the game, that one.

- On the subject of some of the missed penalties, Fisher made it clear he does not want to point blame at any officials. To him, it’s up to the coaching staff to “coach penalties out of the scheme.” That won’t ever be a perfect task but his point is that the coaching staff has to find ways to get the players to play through any missed calls or things out of their control.

- The delay of game penalties were a function of some mixed communications between the staff and the quarterbacks, an area that will certainly need to be cleaned up.

- All told, Fisher is looking at the big picture and wants his team to do the same. From his point of view, the Rams did improve yesterday even if the score didn’t show it and ultimately that’s what he wants out of the preseason. He’s not throwing out wild plaudits or making excuses for the result but he believes in evaluating players in the preseason and trying to develop talent. Whether it results in wins or losses is secondary at best and that’s just how it’s going to be for Fisher and his team.

- As always, thanks for reading. Fisher and the Rams are back on the practice field tomorrow at 3:30. That practice is free and open to the public.


Posted in From the Sidelines | No Comments »

Rams Focus on First Tier Process, Will Forgo UK Home Games in 2013, 2014

Posted by nickwagoner on August 13, 2012 – 6:13 PM

- The Rams and the NFL announced today that the team has withdrawn its commitment to playing a home game in London in 2013 and 2014. The team will, obviously, still play New England in London on Oct. 28.

- Below is the full release from the team sent out moments ago:

ST. LOUIS, MO – In an effort to focus on the Edward Jones Dome First Tier Process with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, the St. Louis Rams are withdrawing their commitment to play a home game in London in each of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

The St. Louis Rams will play the New England Patriots on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at London’s historic Wembley Stadium as previously announced.
 
“We are looking forward to playing in London this season as the NFL’s international series offers a unique opportunity to grow the American football audience, expand the Rams’ brand to international fans and enhance St. Louis on the global stage,” said Kevin Demoff, Rams Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “However, moving forward, we believe our attention needs to be on the ongoing First Tier process. We have worked closely with the NFL in coming to this decision and remain key supporters of the international series and its’ objectives.”
 
The 2012 International Series contest marks the first time in team history that the Rams will play a regular season game outside of the United States. The Rams participated in the American Bowl during the preseason three times and won all three contests: a 1987 game against the Denver Broncos at Wembley Stadium; a 1989 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan; and a 1990 contest against the Kansas City Chiefs at Berlin, Germany’s Olympiastadion.

Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »

Much to Learn from Preseason Opener

Posted by nickwagoner on August 12, 2012 – 10:19 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Well, the first preseason game is in the books and of course the 38-3 loss to the Colts is not the result anyone wanted to see but it’s important to keep perspective. Preseason games have no bearing on the regular season and this one today doesn’t mean anymore for the Rams future than the 33-10 win they had last year at this time against these Colts.

- That isn’t to say that there can’t be some things taken from this game, both negative and positive.

- One thing that was very clear for the Rams on Sunday’s game is that they were extremely vanilla in how they approached the game. Coach Jeff Fisher said the team had just a couple coverages, fronts and pressures in on defense and similar approach on offense. The Colts had far more schemed up and it was evident in the result.

- The best news is it appears the Rams made it out of the game without any injuries of note. In the preseason, that might be the most important statistic of all.

- A nice start for RB Steven Jackson. He carried four times for 17 yards and had a catch for 6 yards. It wasn’t a lot of work but he looked good in the time he was in and drew praise from Fisher and QB Sam Bradford after the game.

- Speaking of Bradford, he too had a solid start, throwing good, accurate passes on the opening drive. By his own admission, one area to clean up is his awareness of the play clock. The delay of game penalty the Rams took on their opening drive killed the Rams chances of scoring on the opening drive.

- Speaking of that first drive, it was a nice mix of run and pass for the Rams and they seemed to have a quick rhythm. A shame the penalty ended the chance of that drive ending in points.

- The offensive line was simply not good enough and Fisher said that Bradford got hit more than they’d like. It’s clearly something that will have to improve as the preseason goes on. Although Bradford wasn’t sacked, he did take more hits than the Rams would like to see. For the record, Barry Richardson did get the start at RT with Robert Turner at C and Quinn Ojinnaka at LG.

- The first team defense also had its share of hiccups. Fisher referenced some blatant holds that went uncalled on the Colts’ 63-yard touchdown on their first play from scrimmage but said those “things happen.” Still not the way he or his defense wanted to start the day.

- The Colts offense seemed to scheme a lot of misdirection stuff early, including the screen that went for a touchdown. Many times, those misdirection plays went at DE Robert Quinn, who was getting pressure on the quarterback but wasn’t home for some of those plays.

- Massive DTs Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford looked stout in the middle of their first games as Rams. One play early in the game went for a 5-yard loss as Brockers and Langford just collapsed the middle of the line.

- Rookie RB Isaiah Pead looked nervous in his first game, understandably so. He put a fumble on the ground that the Colts recovered and seemed to struggle to keep traction when running. He did seem to get better as the game wore on but Fisher mentioned he’d like to see Pead running more north and south and he suspected there was a lot of east and west in his game Sunday.

- The Rams tried a few different looks with returners. CB Janoris Jenkins had the first look at punt returner but didn’t get an opportunity. Pead had the kick return duties to open the game. He had one nice 30-yard return early. Chase Reynolds (three returns for an average of 19.7 yards) and Chris Givens (one return for 28 yards) also got looks as kick returners.

- One positive that can definitely come from this one is the work of Givens. The Rams made no secret of the fact that Givens is their best deep threat. They took a number of deep shots to Givens. One resulted in a 54-yard defensive pass interference penalty. One was overthrown and another Givens should have hauled in. Either way, it’s nice to see a legitimate deep threat with the ability to stretch the defense and an offense willing to give him the opportunity to do it.

- Some nice work from WR Austin Pettis, who hauled in some tough catches to lead the Rams with three grabs for 25 yards.

- Good start for TE Lance Kendricks, also. He caught both passes thrown his way for 18 yards. Good time for him to rebuild confidence.

- Rookie QB Austin Davis had some ups and downs in his first game action but he also showed some moxie and escapability. He finished 12-of-18 for 84 yards with no touchdowns and an interception but there was probably more good than bad. He played the entire second half.

- DT Jermelle Cudjo continues to make a push for a roster spot. He recorded the team’s only sack of the day.

- Players who did not play because of injury issues Sunday: S Darian Stewart, WR Danario Alexander, WR Brandon Gibson, C Scott Wells, CB Bradley Fletcher and DT Trevor Laws.

- Players who did not play because of coach’s decision: QB Tom Brandstater, TE Jamie Childers, TE Brody Eldridge

- That’s going to do it for this one. As always, thanks for reading. Back tomorrow with a wrap up of Fisher’s day after game news conference and then it’s back to practice and on to taking on the Chiefs in preseason tilt No. 2.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »

Rams vs. Colts: Running Blog

Posted by nickwagoner on August 12, 2012 – 4:51 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

Fourth Quarter

- The Rams started from their 15.

- They couldn’t convert third and 5 and had to punt it away.

- Indy quickly drove the length of the field as rookie QB Chandler Harnish hit WR Jeremy Ross for a 33-yard touchdown to make it 35-3 Colts with 11:14 to go in the game.

- Pat McAfee tacked on a 31-yard field goal to make it 38-3 Colts with 4:44 to go.

- A late drive by the Rams ended on an interception thrown by Davis.

- That would do it and the Colts emerge with a 38-3 win.

- The Rams drop to 0-1 on the preseason. Indianapolis is 1-0.

Third Quarter

- Garrett Lindholm kicked off to start the second half as Indy starts from its 20.

- Backups in across the board for the Rams defense. Even rookies Brockers and Jenkins sitting.

- Indy picked up a couple of quick first downs but DT Jermelle Cudjo came up with a sack for a loss of 9 to the Colts’ 39.

- Stanton hit T.Y. Hilton for 9 yards to set up a third-and-10.

- A 5-yard offsides penalty on Matt Conrath made it third-and-5.

- A drop on third down got it back for the Rams, who took over at their 20.

- Rookie QB Austin Davis takes over at QB for Rams’ first possession of second half.

- Davis looked downright poised on his first play, connecting with Givens for a gain of 13 and a first down.

- RB Daryl Richardson picked up 3 yards on his first attempt and Davis dumped one off to him for a gain of 2 to make it third-and-5.

- Pettis made a nice reaching grab for a gain of 8 to move the chains.

- Davis just missed a connection with Givens on a deep ball down the middle to make it second and 10 at the Rams’ 46.

- A completion to Pettis went for 4 yards and a third down pass fell incomplete.

- Tom Malone’s first punt was fair caught at the 15, where the Colts take over.

- The Colts quickly marched down the field on the strength of a catch and run from Dominique Jones for a gain of 22 to the Rams’ 26.

- Darren Evans coughed up a fumble on third and 1 bu the Rams were unable to come up with it.

- Evans punched it in from 1 yard out to make it 28-3 Colts with 7 seconds to go in the third.

- At the end of three, Indianapolis leads the Rams 28-3.

Second Quarter

- Final line on QB Sam Bradford: he was seven of nine for 59 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a rating of 93.1.

- On the first play of the quarter, Clemens dumped it off to Pead, who coughed it up and the Colts recovered at their 47.

- Top defense still in for the Rams.

- The Colts moved the chains with a couple of third down conversions on third and shorts before Luck hit Austin Collie in the right corner of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 11:18 to go in the second quarter.

- WR Chris Givens got his first shot at returning a kick but it went for a touchback. Rams start at their 20.

- The Rams responded by giving Givens an opportunity on a deep ball on the first play of the drive. Clemens fired deep for Givens, who drew a pass interference call for a 54-yard gain and a first down at Indy’s 26.

- Pead picked up another first down, carrying twice for 12 yards.

- The drive died on a third down sack by Hughes and the Rams settled for a 37-yard field goal from K Greg Zuerlein. Indy leads 14-3 with 7:18 to go in the half.

- Indy picked up a first down as Delone Carter gained 3 yards on third and 1.

- Two incompletions set up third-and-10 at Indy’s 32.

- Luck hit Collie for 12 and a first down and followed with 12 more to LaVon Brazil.

- He hit Quan Cosby for a gain of 32 to set up first and goal at the Rams’ 1.

- Two plays later, Delone Carter punched it in for a 21-3 lead with 3:10 to go in the half.

- The Rams went three and out but Hekker booted a perfect 67-yard punt that went out of the bounds at the Colts’ 2. Nice start for Hekker in the preseason.

- The Colts got a first down as rookie RB Vick Ballard gave them some room to breathe with an 18-yard run to the 20.

- Indy ran the ball and the clock with Drew Stanton in at QB.

- At the half, the Colts lead it 21-3.

First Quarter

- The Rams won the toss and elected to receive.

- RB Isaiah Pead back to return the opening kick.

- A healthy dose of Jackson to start the game as three rushes nets 13 yards.

- Bradford hits Kendricks for 10 yards and another first down.

- A quick out to Steve Smith pick up 7 and Jackson moved the chains again with 4 more yards.

- A 6-yard completion to Amendola set up a second and four but an incompletion and a delay of game penalty pushed the Rams back to Indy’s 43.

- After a 6-yard completion to Jackson, Fisher opted to go for it on fourth-and-3. The pass for Amendola fell incomplete and the Colts take over at their 37.

- On Indianapolis’ first play from scrimmage, Luck dropped off a screen pass to RB Donald Brown who went 63 yards untouched for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

- The starting offense came back for a second drive, save for Jackson heading to the sideline. Pead in at running back. The drive starts from the 20.

- An 8-yard completion to Kendricks followed by a 2-yard run by FB Ovie Mughelli gave the Rams a first down at the Indy 31.

- Bradford hit Smith again for 7 yards on first down and a 1-yard gain by Pead set up a third and 2.

- Bradford hit Pettis for a gain of 13 and a first down into Indy territory.

- A false start and a botched hand off ended the drive as the Rams had to punt.

- Johnny Hekker booted his first NFL punt and the Colts took over at their 17.

- An incompletion followed by a rush for a loss of 5 yards after Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers collapsed the pocket set up a third and 15. Luck scrambled for 9 yards but the Colts punted it back to the Rams.

- St. Louis takes over at its 38.

- Jenkins was back to return the punt but it bounced out of bounds.

- Kellen Clemens in at QB.

- The rest of the second unit on offense: RB Pead, WRs Pettis and Quick, LT Jose Valdez, LG Bryan Mattison, C Tim Barnes, RG Rokevious Watkins, RT Jason Smith.

- Two Pead runs gained 9 and then Brian Quick made his first grab in a game, going for 9 yards and a first down to Indy’s 44.

- Clemens was sacked by Jerry Hughes for a loss of 6 to the 50 at the end of the first quarter.

- After one, Indianapolis leads 7-0.

Pregame Notes

- Greetings from Lucas Oil Stadium where the Rams and Colts are preparing to kick off the preseason with a 12:30 start.

- The weather is gorgeous and the roof is open for this one.

- Not much to report on the injury front but here’s a quick rundown of what we know and what we think we know:

- The Rams have listed only WR Danario Alexander and DT Trevor Laws as not playing today. They both are dealing with leg issues.

- It’s also probably safe to assume that C Scott Wells won’t be playing. Robert Turner should handle his job in the middle.

- Also not in uniform for the Rams today are S Darian Stewart, WR Brandon Gibson and CB Bradley Fletcher.

- Expect Jerome Murphy to work in Fletcher’s stead as the third corner in the nickel.

- With Gibson out, it’ll likely be Steve Smith and Greg Salas working on the outside with Danny Amendola in the slot. But Chris Givens and Brian Quick will get plenty of chances as well, same for Austin Pettis.

- The Colts list of inactives includes old friend WR Donnie Avery. He’s joined on the list by G Justin Anderson, NT Josh Chapman, OLB Tim Fugger and DE Cory Redding.

- As for playing time, expect RB Steven Jackson to get a handful of reps at most before calling it a day. It’s possible he might not get a carry.

- The starters on offense will rotate a lot, especially at WR and TE. QB Sam Bradford will probably play a series or two, depending on how his first drive goes.

- On the O line, look for Barry Richardson to get the go with the first team at right tackle. Rodger Saffold looks to be a go at left tackle but he might be monitored closely because of his soft tissue ailments.

- Coach Jeff Fisher has made it clear there will be a lot of substitutions, early and often. Look for the youngsters to get a lot of run today.

- Andrew Luck will indeed start at QB for the Colts today. Fans in this town excited to get a look at him in his debut.

- Stay tuned throughout the game for updates.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 11 Comments »

Rams Finish Prep for Indy

Posted by nickwagoner on August 11, 2012 – 12:59 AM

- The Rams wrapped up Friday’s practice in front of a solid crowd in attendance at ContinuityX Training Center for “Family Night.” And the families in attendance were treated to the coolest temperatures and nicest weather of the two weeks of this camp so far.

- As for the practice, the Rams essentially went through a workout tailored to the players that will see the most practice time in Sunday’s preseason opener at Indianapolis. The starters got some time early but most of the reps went to the backups such as QB Austin Davis.

- The offensive line had a similar look to what it’s been most of the week. Barry Richardson got more work at right tackle. It remains to be seen who will get the start in the game but expect to see both he and Jason Smith worked in.

- Coach Jeff Fisher said there will be a lot of rotating early in the game as he wants to get a look at a number of players on the so called first units.

- RB Steven Jackson probably will be the most limited as the Rams try to keep him fresh.

- As Fisher said yesterday, Bradford and the first offense will probably come in somewhere between 12 and 20 plays depending on how things go. With that said, if the offense punches it in on the first drive in, say, eight plays, don’t be shocked if they call it a day and build off of that.

- Fisher indicated Friday night the team is relatively healthy heading into the game. It’s unknown whether guys like LT Rodger Saffold or WR Brandon Gibson, both of whom are battling soft tissue injuries, will play. They’ll likely be evaluated up until Sunday and decisions will be made then.

- CB Kendric Burney had a nice interception to kill a two-minute drive late in practice.

- The rest of the work was focused mostly on red zone and resembled closely an in season Friday practice.

- That’s going to do it for today. The Rams and the Colts kick it off on Sunday at 12:30 from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The game is televised locally on KTVI-Channel 2 and can be seen most places nationally on NFL Network if you aren’t listed on our preseason television network. See the blog from last week for a full list of those affiliates. Thanks for reading.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »

Rams Will Go Young in Preseason Games

Posted by nickwagoner on August 9, 2012 – 11:16 PM

- The Rams just wrapped up their Thursday afternoon practice and are another day closer to the first preseason contest on Sunday at Indianapolis. After the workout, coach Jeff Fisher gave a little insight into his preseason approach. We’ll touch on that in a minute and have full details in a story tomorrow but first let’s run down today’s happenings.

- Today was a bit of a light practice, almost a walk through pace in the first hour or so as the Rams worked on some situational things.

- Then, the practice kicked in with a lot of running and more work than usual for the third groups. The idea, of course, is that those groups will play more in the preseason games, especially the first one and need some reps. That meant a lot of rookie QB Austin Davis and it will likely mean that on Sunday.

- Not participating because of the usual non-serious soft tissue injuries were WR Danario Alexander, WR Brandon Gibson, S Darian Stewart, CB Bradley Fletcher, RB Steven Jackson and LT Rodger Saffold.

- C Scott Wells (knee) and DT Trevor Laws (leg) also did not practice again. Wells continues to do more and more on the side, even doing some short sprints during today’s workout.

- Barry Richardson spent his second consecutive day at right tackle with the first team and appears to be making a push for the job. We’ll see who comes out with the first team on Sunday but don’t be shocked if both he and Jason Smith get opportunities there.

- With Saffold out, Kevin Hughes took the reps on the left side. As did Quinn Ojinnaka, who bumped outside with Bryan Mattison at LG for some of the reps.

- CB Jerome Murphy is also getting a look with the first team defense in nickel situations. Part of that is because of Fletcher’s absence but it should be noted that Murphy has done some work there in the past couple of days as well.

- This week has been about rookies hitting a little bit of a wall and then bouncing back from it. WR Brian Quick and RB Isaiah Pead, in particular, have had some rough moments in the first week or so of practice but both have come on strong, especially the past three days. Expect to see plenty of both on Sunday in Indy.

- DT Kendall Langford returned to practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday because of an illness.

- As for the preseason games, Fisher gave a little glimpse into his approach.

- First, the Rams starters will all get varying degrees of snaps. Fisher called Jackson by name, saying he’ll likely get less reps than others. That’s because his job is safe and secure. Meanwhile, positions where there are battles going on will see extended periods of play. That means outside linebackers will be running in and out, the aforementioned right tackle spot could see some rotating, safety with Stewart and Craig Dahl will likely be alternating.

- In a general sense, Fisher said to expect about two series or a quarter of play for the bulk of the starters. Some could be more, some could be less.

- But the overriding point is that the young players will get plenty of chances. Fisher said because of the new practice rules, there are less reps for the rookies and in some sense, the preseason games are a great chance to get those players valuable reps. That means you will see a lot of the rookies, both drafted and undrafted and young veterans such as Chase Reynolds, Kendric Burney, etc.

- That’s going to do it for today. The Rams are back on the practice field tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. And be sure to check out some of the great food trucks that will be out here if you come for practice. They’re lined up near the entrance to camp. Thanks for reading.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »

Rams Inch Closer to Preseason Opener

Posted by nickwagoner on August 9, 2012 – 1:16 AM

- The Rams had perhaps the nicest day of camp so far with a 5:30 practice providing cloud cover and some nice, cool temperatures. The Rams are now just a pair of practices away from their first preseason game. Coach Jeff Fisher and Co. can’t wait.  

- On the injury front, WR Danario Alexander sat out as Fisher said he wasn’t “quite” 100 percent yet so the Rams backed him down so he didn’t have a further setback.

- RB Steven Jackson got a day off to rest.

- CB Trumaine Johnson, WR Brandon Gibson and DE Eugene Sims also were held out to rest tight soft tissue areas.

- C Scott Wells continues to work toward recovery. Same for DT Trevor Laws.

- DT Kendall Langford was excused with an illness.

- Still, none of the injuries are serious and Fisher said his team is in good shape heading toward the preseason opener.

- The Rams and Fisher continue to cultivate an environment of competition and nobody is immune to that. On Wednesday evening, Barry Richardson got his first run with the top offense at right tackle with Jason Smith working with the twos. Remember, the Rams have been mixing and matching everywhere but Fisher acknowledged that he wants everyone to step their game up.

“The more familiar he becomes with our system, the better he is,” Fisher said. “So obviously there is a lot of competition all over the roster and Barry is creating some competition at right tackle.”

- With Langford out ill and Laws still recovering from injury, the Rams used a heavy rotation at defensive tackle in his stead. Jermelle Cudjo and Matt Conrath continue to get the first opportunities though Darell Scott worked into the mix as well. Cudjo has had some nice moments in camp and continues to make progress.

- As for the happenings on the field, it was a sharp day for the offense, particularly in the red zone.

- In one sequence during team drills in the red zone, QB Sam Bradford threw two consecutive well places balls in the corner of the end zone to Austin Pettis, who brought both down while covered for touchdowns. With Gibson and Alexander on the sidelines, there are even more opportunities to be had.

- I’m sure that fresh legs make him jump out even more so grains of salt will be appropriate but RB Daryl Richardson contininues to look good in his second day back. The fresh legs make him “pop” a little bit according to OC Brian Schottenheimer.

- WR Brian Quick got tangled with CB Josh Gordy at one point and limped off a little bit. But he bounced back and finished the practice.

- Quietly, RG Harvey Dahl has strung together a long run of solid practices. Having Paul Boudreau, who coached him in Atlanta, back in the lead certainly should bode well for Dahl. That and the fact that his beard is back.

- Another good day for rookie RB Isaiah Pead. He’s shown some resiliency the past two days.

- That’s going to do it for today. Back at it at 3:30 tomorrow. Then a 5:30 practice on Friday before heading to Indianapolis for the preseason opener. As always, thanks for reading.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »

Faulk, Siciliano Back in Broadcast Booth

Posted by nickwagoner on August 8, 2012 – 4:40 PM

- The Rams announced this morning the setup for their four preseason telecasts with Marshall Faulk and Andrew Siciliano returning to the booth for the second consecutive year. Below is the release from the team.

FAULK, SICILIANO RETURN TO BOOTH

FOR RAMS 2012 PRESEASON BROADCASTS
 
Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk and veteran sportscaster Andrew Siciliano are set to lead the Rams’ preseason television broadcasts for a second consecutive season.
 
Faulk will serve as the color commentator for the broadcasts and will be joined in the booth by Siciliano, who will handle play-by-play duties. Former NFL lineman Ross Tucker will join Siciliano and Faulk in the booth for the final three preseason contests, and veteran St. Louis broadcaster Maurice Drummond will work as the crew’s sideline reporter throughout the preseason.
 
“The Rams Broadcast Network has established itself as a leader in sports television programming and we’re thrilled that Rams fans throughout the Midwest will have an opportunity to watch Rams preseason games across the Rams Television Network of affiliates,” said Bob Reif, Rams Executive Vice President of Marketing & Sales/Chief Revenue Officer.
 
For the fourth-consecutive year, KTVI-TV Channel 2 St. Louis will serve as the flagship station of the Rams’ preseason broadcasts. KTVI will air each of the Rams’ four preseason contests, beginning with the August 12 preseason opener versus the Indianapolis Colts, which will be available in high-definition.
 
“We are thrilled to continue a great association with the St. Louis Rams,” said Spencer Koch, President and General Manager for FOX 2 and KPLR 11. “As always, ‘The Home of the Rams’ will continue to provide the best coverage for the fans.”
 
In addition, the Rams Broadcast Network will broadcast the team’s preseason contests on 12 affiliate stations whose signal covers nine states. Fans in parts of Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Tennessee and Arkansas will have access to Rams preseason games this season.
 
Last August, Faulk became the first Ram who played the majority of his career in St. Louis to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2000 and won the league’s Offensive Player of the Year award in three consecutive seasons (1999-2001). Faulk was voted to seven Pro Bowls, was a first-team All-Pro three times and a three-time winner of the Daniel F. Reeves Memorial award, which is annually presented to the Rams’ team MVP. Since the conclusion of his playing career, Faulk has worked as a studio and game analyst for the NFL Network.
 
Siciliano serves as the host of “The Red Zone Channel,” a supplement to DirectTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket which cuts to NFL games to highlight key plays and moments. He also co-hosts “Total Access” on the NFL Network, a daily show that highlights news across the NFL. Siciliano has previously worked as the play-by-play voice for both the Las Vegas Gladiators and the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League, and Siciliano has hosted radio shows in Chicago and Los Angeles as well as national shows for Fox Sports Radio. In 1999, he hosted the pregame radio show on the Chicago Bears’ radio network.  
 
Tucker was part of the Rams’ 2011 preseason broadcast crew as he served as the color commentator for one game. He hosts podcasts for ESPN.com and writes for SportsUSAmedia.com. He also serves as the host of “The Morning Kickoff” and co-host of “The Opening Drive” on SIRIUS NFL radio, and he works as a game analyst for the Sports USA Radio Network. In addition, Tucker serves as a studio analyst for NBC Sports Talk and will work eight college games for NBC this fall. Previously, Tucker wrote on-line columns for Sports Illustrated and worked as a NFL game analyst for FOX.
 
A veteran of seven NFL seasons, Tucker appeared in 42 games with 24 starts from 2001-2007. He enjoyed stints with the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns. In 2007, he returned to Washington but suffered a career-ending neck injury. Prior to his NFL career, Tucker was an All-Ivy League performer at Princeton.
 
Drummond is a veteran in the world of television sports with over 20 years of experience, including stops at ESPN and the Golf Channel. He currently works as a sports anchor and reporter at KTVI-Fox 2 in St. Louis.
 
The preseason contests are being broadcast in conjunction with Altitude Sports & Entertainment. The Denver-based company is the official television network of the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche. In addition, through its partnership with ESPN Syndication and its own broadcast agreements with select conferences, Altitude airs Big 12, Big East, Big Sky, RMAC and WAC basketball, and Big Sky, Big East, WAC, and RMAC football games. Altitude carries local high school football games and regional college basketball games as well as minor league hockey, snow/extreme, and outdoor sports programming.
 
Below are the RBN affiliates that will air the Rams’ preseason games:
 
Missouri
KTVI-Fox 2 St. Louis
KRBK-Fox Springfield
KMIZ-KQFX Columbia
KFVS-FOX Cape Girardeau, Missouri/Paducah, Kentucky
KFJX-Fox 14 Joplin, Missouri/Pittsburgh, Kansas
KYOU-FOX Ottumwa, Iowa/Kirksville, Missouri
 
Illinois
WBUI-CW Springfield
WAOE Peoria/Bloomington
KHQA-ABC Quincy/Hannibal, Missouri/Keokuk,Iowa
 
Indiana
WTVW-ABC Evansville
 
Oklahoma
KOKH-Fox Oklahoma City
KWTV-CBS Oklahoma City
KTUL-ABC Tulsa

Posted in From the Sidelines | 4 Comments »

Rams Getting Healthy

Posted by nickwagoner on August 8, 2012 – 12:01 AM

- For the most part – knocking on wood – the Rams have been able to remain healthy so far in this camp with any injuries being of the soft tissue, day to day variety. Part of that is coach Jeff Fisher’s emphasis on taking care of his players and not pushing them to return too quickly when a hamstring grabs or a calf gets tight.

- And though there have been quite a few of those ailments early in camp, the Rams are already starting to take shape again in no small part because of that approach.

- After their DBs who had been battling injuries returned on Monday, the Rams got the services of LT Rodger Saffold and RB Daryl Richardson back in practice on Tuesday. Same for TE Lance Kendricks.

- Richardson had the most severe injury, suffering a hamstring pop in a workout away from St. Louis in the offseason. But he was back in action and Fisher is optimistic he can play this week in Indianapolis. For what it’s worth, Richardson looked quick and strong (that’s what fresh legs will do) in today’s practice.

- The only Rams missing from today’s practice were C Scott Wells (knee), DT Trevor Laws and WR Brandon Gibson. Wells did some light work on the side.

- Fisher did pull back the reins on RB Steven Jackson a bit just to make sure he stays fresh. He explained after the practice.

“We just kind of backed him down today,” Fisher said. “Jack worked hard the first part of practice and we backed Jack down after that.”

- With Jackson taking a breather, the Rams gave plenty of reps to backup Isaiah Pead (be sure to read about him further on the front page). Pead had been struggling the past couple of days but had a good day on Tuesday. Fisher said he took a step forward and Pead seemed to be in tune most of the day. On one run, he made a slick cutback and beat James Laurinaitis to the corner untouched for what would have been a big gainer.

- Likewise, rookie WR Brian Quick seems to be getting past any initial rookie struggles. He’s been solid two days in a row and made a really impressive grab as he skied for the ball and a touchdown in the back left corner of the end zone late in practice.

- WR Austin Pettis was shaken up late in practice but bounced back and finished.

- DE Robert Quinn continues to terrorize any offensive lineman put in front of him. Quinn has been so consistently dominant in practice that Fisher has been making an interesing analogy to a running back he had in Tennessee who was so dominant that Fisher couldn’t help but wonder if it would translate to games.

“He kind of reminds me a little bit of Chris Johnson in his rookie year and training camp where it was just ‘Gosh, if this was a game, do you think he’d score?’” Fisher said. “We are thinking if this was a game he should have a few sacks by the time the game is over.”

- Rookie DT Michael Brockers continues to just overwhelm blockers with brute strength. He’s not as raw as the previous sentence might make him sound but his first strike is so powerful, it’s hard to ignore.

- K Greg Zuerlein continues to boom kicks from long distances. He connected from 60 yards out on one field goal with plenty of room to spare and hit one 54-yarder that not only went in but hit about three quarters of the way up the video tower.

- LB Justin Cole got some reps with the first team at SLB today. The Rams continue to rotate different people at different positions.

- RT Jason Smith has seemingly improved every day, especially in one on ones.

- WR Danario Alexander made his presence felt Tuesday, making some nice catches over the middle including a one-handed grab with his left hand.

- That’ll do it for today. The Rams are back on the practice field at 5:30 tomorrow. That practice is free and open to the public.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 4 Comments »

Rams Get Back to Work

Posted by nickwagoner on August 6, 2012 – 11:31 PM

- The Rams returned to the practice field on Monday two days after their scrimmage and Fan Fest. Coach Jeff Fisher pumped the brakes a little, allowing his team to practice without full pads.

- The team also got a nice respite from the weather as temperatures hovered in the 90 degree range but not much more. Humidity was low as well.

- That opened the door for a practice coach Jeff Fisher was pleased with (of course, he usually is) and the team went through their paces for about two hours.

- On the injury front, the Rams are starting to get some players back though a few remained on the sideline.

- The good news for the defense was the return of DBs Darian Stewart, Josh Gordy and Jerome Murphy. Fisher said the Rams had to cut a period short last week because of a lack of DBs. That group is fine and all are expected to be ready for Sunday’s preseason opener, barring a setback of course.

- WR Danario Alexander also got back in the mix after missing the first week plus with a hamstring ailment.

- Alexander said he isn’t behind mentally and believes he can get caught up quickly. He didn’t get many balls thrown his way in practice though one deep ball from Kellen Clemens sailed too high for even Alexander.

- T Rodger Saffold did some work in individual but not in team drills.

- C Scott Wells is still a little ways away but Fisher said he’s making progress. Fisher expects Wells to be ready to go at some point for a game in this preseason.

- DT Trevor Laws did not participate as he continues to deal with a soft tissue injury. Same for RB Daryl Richardson.

- TE Lance Kendricks returned and got limited work.

- WR Brandon Gibson and CB Kendric Burney did some limited work in team drills but backed off a bit later on.

- Today was a day for a lot of mixing and matching. The Rams tried a number of different combinations, even with the first team. Rocky McIntosh and Josh Hull even got a shot with the first team defense at outside linebacker.

- Rookie WR Brian Quick also got some reps with the first team and came up with a nice catch on a contested ball deep down the right sideline over CB Bradley Fletcher.

- Wideout Steve Smith continues to find openings in the defense and came up with some nice catches, including on snatched whilst falling to the ground over his head.

- Barry Richardson took reps in Saffold’s place at left tackle.

- TE Michael Hoomanawanui also got some reps with the first team. He also had a nice day and continues to have a solid camp. That tight end battle is going to take a while to sort itself out but there’s quite a bit of talent to choose from. The coaches will not have any easy decisions, either, because this group has a lot of variety in terms of skill sets.

- Rookie RB Isaiah Pead had a busy day. I’ll have more about Pead and how he’s adjusting this week but he told me after practice that he keeps finding himself making a few mental mistakes every practice. I asked him if some of that comes from not being able to be here in the spring. Pead didn’t want to make excuses but he acknowledged that he thought it was possible because he’s repping a lot of things for the first time while others did them two or three times in the spring.

- Expect Pead to get a lot of work against the Colts on Sunday.

- That’s going to do it for today. As always, thanks for reading. Back tomorrow with more. And also, stay tuned this week for a special video feature I shot today with 101 ESPN football experts Steve Savard and Rick Venturi. Those two know their stuff and we had a lot of fun talking about all things Rams. We went for more than 30 minutes so expect it to roll out in pieces.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »