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Rams remain confident in Long's return/Wagoner

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RamBill, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. RamBill Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
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    Rams remain confident in Long's return
    By Nick Wagoner


    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- When it comes to the health of left tackle Jake Long, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher & Co. have consistently played the hits throughout the offseason.

    They've repeatedly insisted that Long's rehabilitation from offseason surgery on his right anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament is coming along just fine and reiterated their faith that Long will be ready to go in time for the regular-season opener Sept. 7.

    “Jake is coming along. He’s doing the individual stuff. Jake’s injury was a little bit later than Sam’s," Fisher said, referring to quarterback Sam Bradford. "We expect him back somewhere middle part of training camp.”

    If indeed Long is able to return to practice on that sort of timetable, there's reason to believe he can be ready to take his usual spot at left tackle against Minnesota in the opener. That would allow him a few weeks to round into shape and test his mobility, perhaps even get a series or two in one of the final two preseason games.

    In many cases when it comes to injuries like Long's, it's common for teams to offer the standard lines about being ahead of schedule or, at the least, on pace for a timely return. For what it's worth, Long had his surgery in late January, and though he isn't participating in OTAs, he is doing some work on the side.

    But in this case, the Rams are so far doing more than offering optimistic lip service when it comes to Long. The team is following through on its belief in his rehab with how it's handling his vacant spot during OTAs.

    With obvious left tackle fill-in options such as rookie Greg Robinson and Rodger Saffold available to take the reps in Long's place during practice, Fisher and the Rams have made it clear they prefer not to disrupt the stability of the line at the four other positions. Robinson and Saffold are projected to start at left and right guard, respectively, and neither has an extensive history of experience at those positions.

    So instead of moving Robinson and/or Saffold around, Fisher prefers to keep them in their current spots to prepare them for the spots they're expected to start the season.

    “We want to go through OTAs and most of camp with players playing the position they’ll play in the opener," Fisher said. "You assume Jake comes back so we’ll just plug someone else in out there.”

    So far, someone else has meant a rotation between younger, developmental tackles Mike Person and Sean Hooey. The Rams claimed Person from Seattle last season and thought enough of him to keep him on the roster throughout the season. Hooey was an undrafted free agent in 2013 but the Rams stashed him on the practice squad for the season. Like Person, Hooey is another player the team believes has some future potential.

    If worse comes to worse by the time the season begins, the Rams could simply slide Saffold over to left tackle, with someone like Davin Joseph or Barrett Jones ready to step in at guard. For now, their faith in Long's return persists.
  2. Boffo97 Still legal in 17 states!

    Feb 10, 2014
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    Let's see if Fisher gets so confident about it that he announces that "If anyone has doubts Jake Long will play Week 1, they don't know what they're talking about." ;)
  3. junkman No longer a grumpy old troll

    Jun 3, 2014
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    C'mon Nick Wagoner! There's artwork to include on this! HELLLOOOO!!!! ;)

    Yeah, that's right. This photo is linked here from stlouisrams.com in the OTA Day 3 photos. Big JL77 with SB8 behind him and GR79 to his right.

    MFaulk107 likes this.
  4. RamBill Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
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    Jake Long remains on course for opening-day start
    • By Jim Thomas


    This marks Jake Long’s 22nd week of rehab from knee surgery, roughly five months. Day by day, drill by drill, Long is getting closer to a return to the lineup.

    “Every week it’s getting stronger,” Long told reporters following Tuesday’s practice session at Rams Park. “I’m doing more and more on the field. I’m doing position-specific stuff.”

    What at first seemed like an optimistic assessment is looking more realistic with each passing day. Namely, being ready to go on opening day of the 2014 season.

    “Yeah, Week 1’s the goal, and that’s what we’re looking at right now,” Long said in his first conversation with reporters since surgery in January.

    Long said that goal was talked about ever since he had surgery for the injury, which occurred early in Game 15 of last season, a Dec. 22 home contest with Tampa Bay.

    It was kind of a fluke play in the sense that it came on a non-contact play. Long was setting up to pass-block on the Rams’ third offensive play of the Tampa Bay contest, when his right knee buckled.

    “I took a long step and the foot stuck in the ground,” Long said. “My body kept going, and my knee didn’t. Sometimes that’s how it happens.”

    Besides a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Long also suffered a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL). MCL injuries heal on their own — in about a month or so — and don’t require surgery. But ACL injuries not only require surgery but involve a long, grueling rehabilitation process.

    Long, one of the prizes along of the Rams’ 2013 free-agent class along with tight end Jared Cook, has had plenty of rehabs during his NFL season, but never an ACL rehab.

    “It’s definitely the toughest (rehab),” said Long, a four-time Pro Bowler who missed a total of six games in the 2011 and 2012 seasons with Miami because of a torn biceps (2011) and torn triceps (2012).

    “I know the routine of what it takes to get back (from surgery), and the rehab process and all that stuff,” Long continued. “I’m used to it probably a little too much. You’re gonna have the ups and downs.

    “An ACL is not a joke. And one of the longest to come back from. I’ve just put my head down and put my nose to the grindstone and really wanted to work hard and get back.”

    In the early going of Tuesday’s practice, Long could be seen working on the side doing footwork drills by stepping through a grid made of rope. In another drill, he ran forward a few steps with a pair elastic ropes attached to him, dragging a member of the training staff attached behind him.

    And in one drill he had an elastic band around his legs and moved laterally, back and forth, back and forth, throwing a medicine ball along the way.

    All in all, he moved well. Very well, in fact, providing a tease that maybe being ready for opening day in three months is a realistic goal after all.

    “He’s doing some individual stuff, a lot of stuff inside (the facility) that you don’t see, and then he’s able to participate in the walk-through,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “So, he’s still getting the football, the assignment things. He’s having the ability to line up (with) Greg (Robinson) and communicate in walk-through. He’ll be ready to go, I’m sure.”

    Fisher said last week that the plan is to have Long full-go by the middle of training camp. That would have Long going by mid-August, which would give him two or three weeks to get his football legs under him before the Sept. 7 opener against Minnesota.

    “Every single week, we try to introduce something more, and I just get more strength,” Long said. “I get smoother at my pass sets and coming off the ball. I’m really excited and happy with how I’m progressing.”

    Except for a 10-day trip to Europe — Paris and Barcelona, specifically — Long stayed in St. Louis through the winter and early spring before the start of the team’s formal offseason conditioning program. In a sense, quarterback Sam Bradford was his rehab partner, also working his way back from ACL surgery.

    “He was a couple months ahead of me, so I could see what I had in store for me,” Long said. “We were here for five, six hours a day, every day, working hard. And pushing each other. It was kinda nice having another guy there with you.”

    Since the draft, Long has tried to help No. 2 overall draft pick Robinson — who will start at left guard this season — whenever he can. Long and Robinson will form the left side of the Rams’ offensive line this season, and chemistry is always important up front.

    “Any pointers I can give him,” Long said. “Helping him out with plays. Just (encouraging him), and being there for whatever questions he has. I’ve tried to be there for him. And I think we’ve gotten along well.

    “I tell you what, I’m excited to have him on our team. He’s young, he’s athletic. He can move guys. And when he gets locked up with them, they’re shut down.”

    The addition of Robinson, the re-signing of Rodger Saffold to play right guard, and the return of center Scott Wells and right tackle Joe Barksdale could make for a strong offensive line.

    “If we stay healthy, and we progress, we can do some good things,” Long said.
  5. Boffo97 Still legal in 17 states!

    Feb 10, 2014
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    To me, the biggest clue that the Rams are 100% confident in this is the fact that they're letting Hooeys and Persons man the LT position for right now, rather than give Saffold or Robinson reps there. You would think if there was doubt, they'd want to be more prepared for one of the definitely starting quality guys to be there.
    RhodyRams and BigRamFan like this.
  6. BigRamFan Super Bowl XXXVI was rigged!

    May 23, 2012
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    Great point @Boffo97 . Until recently I have had my doubts he'd be back for week 1 but I'm starting to believe!
  7. tahoe Concerned Rams Fan

    May 19, 2014
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    Ive never doubted that Long would be back in time. With the way rehab is done now you can come back within 7 months after surgery which gives Long plenty of time. If this line stays healthy it will be very good.
  8. RamBill Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
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    Jake Long Expects to be Ready by Week One
    By Tony Softli


    Rams quarterback Sam Bradford made his presence felt late last week by participating in the team’s first round of OTAs. Yesterday, it was his rehab partner and blindside protector who turned heads.

    Left tackle Jake Long, who tore his right ACL and MCL in St. Louis’ second-to-last game of 2013, went to work with the training staff in Earth City. The four-time Pro Bowler’s individual plan consisted of lateral movement, plus stance-and-slide exercises with large resistance bands that stretched around both ankles and helped build strength. Long also worked on short-area running and backpedaling to complete his package of controlled-movement exercises.

    “The rehab has been going great, since we are a little more than five months out and I’ve been here every single day working,” he said. “Every week it’s getting stronger. I’m doing more and more on the field, doing some position-specific stuff. Week 1 is the goal, and that’s what we’re looking at right now.”

    Though Long has yet to get involved with the Rams’ live work, head coach Jeff Fisher is pleased with the progress being made by the cornerstone of the squad’s offensive line.

    “He’s doing some individual stuff, a lot of stuff inside (the facility) that you don’t see and then he’s able to participate in the walkthrough,” Fisher said. “So, he’s still getting the football, the assignment, and things. He’s having the opportunity to line up against Greg (Robinson) and communicate in walkthrough. He’ll be ready to go, I’m sure.”

    Currently in his 22nd week of rehab, Long is well ahead of schedule. His dedication – and the benefits of modern medicine – makes it possible that he could be in the starting lineup in time for the Sept. 7 regular-season opener vs. the Minnesota Vikings.

    “Every single week we try to introduce something more and more, I get more strength and smoother in my pass sets coming off the ball,” Long said, “and I’m really excited on how I’m progressing.”

    News and Notes:

    According to Fisher, new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has wasted little time in asserting himself around Rams Park.

    “Yeah, there’s no doubt,” Fisher said. “He’s the main voice in the room. He can coach every single position. You can see the change. You can see the energy. I’ve had to back him down just a little bit.”

    On Wednesday morning, the Rams will hold their 6th Annual Playground Build at Marygrove in Florissant. Front-office staff and players will work together to install a Rams-branded playground structure. Along with the St. Louis personnel, volunteers will repaint the interior of multiple cottages, craft a new mural and beautify the surrounding landscape. Several of the players are expected to be involved in PLAY 60 activities, too, in an effort to encourage active and healthy lifestyles for area youths.
  9. RamBill Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
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    Jake Long pleased with progress of knee
    By Nick Wagoner


    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- This week, we covered the St. Louis Rams' confidence in the pending return of left tackle Jake Long. The team has believed Long capable of being ready for the regular-season opener for most of the offseason.

    That confidence has been largely based on what the team has seen from Long in the offseason. Rams coach Jeff Fisher even went so far as to say Long could return to practice in the middle of training camp. And the team has backed that belief in Long by keeping potential temporary replacements Greg Robinson and Rodger Saffold at their projected guard spots.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Long offered his take on where his recovery from a torn MCL and ACL is in his first comments to reporters since his January surgery.

    Jake Long
    The Rams are hopeful left tackle Jake Long will be in the lineup for Week 1 of the regular season.
    "I'm pretty happy," Long said. "Every single week we try to introduce something more and more, and I just get more strength, I get smoother at my pass sets and coming off the ball. I'm really excited and happy with how I'm progressing."

    On Tuesday, Long worked on the side with athletic trainer James Lomax, going through a variety of lateral movement drills and appeared to have more bounce in his step than one would expect from a player who had his surgery about five months ago. Long is also participating in team walk-through drills, ensuring he's a part of installation sessions and working on communication with the rookie Robinson, who is expected to line up next to him on the left side.

    Fisher indicated Tuesday that Long has been doing a lot more work behind the scenes, but Long also put some of his progress on display in front of the assembled media during Tuesday's organized team activity. As for Fisher's mid-training camp estimate and the return for the season opener, Long sees both as realistic.

    "That's the goal," Long said. "As long as I keep progressing and don't have any setbacks.

    "That's what we've talked about ever since we had the surgery. We sat down and looked at the schedule and talked through the rehab session and said if it's going well and we're doing good then that could be our goal. I think we're on pace for that, so that's what we're shooting for."

    For Long, who has been bit by the injury bug on a regular basis in recent seasons, an extensive rehabilitation plan is nothing new. He suffered a torn biceps in 2011 and torn triceps in 2012, with those ailments costing him six games.

    But Long openly acknowledges that this one is the most difficult.

    "It's definitely one of the toughest," Long said. "An ACL is not a joke, and one of the longest to come back from. I've just put my head down and put my nose to the grindstone and really wanted to work hard and get back."

    It remains to be seen when Long will be back at full strength and cleared to resume practice, but so far the Rams' initial projection looks to be more realistic than it once appeared.