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Rams Rookies Get Back to Work-Alexander Practices/Latsch

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RamBill, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. RamBill Well-Known Member

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    Rams rookies get back to work
    Nate Latsch

    http://stl.scout.com/2/1423601.html

    ST. LOUIS — The Rams rookies and a few of their younger players took the field on Tuesday at Rams Park for the unofficial start of training camp.
    Rookie offensive lineman Greg Robinson, the No. 2 overall pick, said it was a positive feeling to have a jump start on camp.

    “I was kind of familiar with a lot of the plays that we went over today and it helped with the speed of the game,” Robinson said. “It helped me play a little faster.”

    If it felt like these Rams were just on the field at Rams Park for OTAs, it’s because they were basically only a month ago. Since then the rookies had the rookie symposium but then returned home or traveled while keeping up on their training.

    Robinson, the likely starter at left guard, said he traveled and visited with his family, but he also trained while in Florida, in Houston and when he was back home in Louisiana in his hometown of Thibodaux.

    But the big man was happy to be back at work on Tuesday afternoon.

    He said these first two practice sessions — they will go again Wednesday — before the official start of training camp will give him more opportunities to learn the plays and work on playing faster.

    ALEXANDER PRACTICES

    Rookie safety Maurice Alexander, the Rams’ fourth-round pick, was on the field after missing most of the OTAs with a knee issue.

    The St. Louis native said he had his knee scoped after something was discovered following the draft and he’s been at Rams Park rehabbing since the procedure. The Utah State product said he was cleared to practice on Monday.

    FOUR NEW RAMS TAKE FIELD

    The Rams announced roster moves on Tuesday and all four new players — offensive linemen D.J. Morrell and R.J. Dill and linebackers Lawrence Wilson and Pat Schiller — took part in the practice session with their new teammates.

    BRODINE BACK AT DEFENSIVE END

    The Rams said shortly after the draft that Mason Brodine was switching from defensive end to tight end. But the 6-foot-7, 284-pounder was back working with the defensive players and working out as a defensive end on Tuesday.

    Brodine told reporters that he is practicing at both positions.
     
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  2. RamBill Well-Known Member

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    Rams notebook: Alexander is healthy and looking to contribute
    • By Joe Lyons

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/foot...cle_1e741dad-d8e5-5bd1-81a1-55423012569f.html

    On Monday, Eureka High product Maurice Alexander received some good news. On Tuesday, he returned to action in the first of two rookie workouts at Rams Park in Earth City.

    “I was cleared yesterday, so this really is a blessing,’’ said Alexander, a fourth-round draft choice from Utah State who missed all but one organized team activity practice in June after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. “I’ve been waiting to get back out here. I didn’t know if they were going to clear me or not.

    “I believe all things happen for a reason and I definitely feel a lot better now.’’

    Alexander, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound safety, said he had some knee discomfort during the team’s first OTA workout.

    “I noticed something wrong with my leg,” he recalled. “It wasn’t that bad — I could still run on it — but there was some swelling. When I mentioned it, they reacted pretty quickly. I got an X-ray and they noticed there was a tear in there.’’

    Not long after surgery, with the help of the Rams’ training staff headed by Reggie Scott, Alexander started rehabbing.

    “It was very stressful,’’ he said. “You just get here and you want to earn people’s trust.’’

    After OTAs, the rest of the Rams took a month off. But Alexander stuck close to home — and the Rams’ trainers.

    “I like vacations, but I was already home,’’ the 23-year-old South City native kidded. “I knew I had work to do and the training staff did a great job of getting me ready to get back on the field.’’

    Alexander, who played just one season at safety after starting his college career at linebacker, also used the down time to study his playbook.

    “You need to get those mental reps,’’ he said. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams “had made it pretty comfortable for us. It’s a large playbook, so I won’t say it’s easy to learn. It’s a little complicated, but it’s things I’ve done before.’’

    The team’s first full-squad workout is Friday.

    TWO-WAY WARRIOR

    After spending the last two seasons on the Rams’ practice squad, Mason Brodine worked during OTAs to make the transition to tight end from defensive end. Tuesday, the 6-foot-7, 284-pound Brodine was back in the defensive unit’s white jersey.

    “I’m switching around; the more you can do, you know?’’ he said. “I’m still playing offense as well. (The coaches) approached me about doing both and I was open to it. I had to knock a little of the rust off today, but I’m pretty comfortable doing what I need to do — anything I can do to help us win games.’’

    Brodine, from the University of Nebraska Kearney, knows of only one other player, San Francisco tight end/defensive tackle Demarcus Dobbs, who sees action on both sides of the ball.

    “He’s a blocking tight end who also plays on defense and on special teams,’’ Brodine said. “At this point, for me, offense is a lot more of a mental game than defense, but it just takes studying.’’

    ROSTER MOVES

    The Rams cut four players and added four to keep the roster at 90.

    Placed on no-recall waivers were linebackers Caleb McSurdy and Tavarius Wilson, tackle Abasi Salimu and wide receiver Diontae Spencer. Added to the squad are tackles R.J. Dill (Rutgers) and D.J. Morrell (Old Dominion) as well as linebackers Pat Schiller (Northern Illinois) and Lawrence Wilson (Connecticut).

    None of the released players have played in an NFL game.

    Morrell was cut earlier this month by the Detroit Lions; Dill spent some time on the New England Patriots’ practice squad last season; Schiller was previously with the Atlanta Falcons; Wilson, a sixth-round pick by Carolina in 2011, spent some time that season on the Panthers’ practice squad and was last with the Chicago Bears’ practice squad.

    Tavarius Wilson, Salimu and Spencer were signed as rookie free agents shortly after the NFL draft.

    McSurdy, selected in the seventh round of the 2012 draft by the Dallas Cowboys, was signed to the Rams’ practice squad in December.

    RAM-BLING

    Veteran defensive end Chris Long stopped by to catch a bit of Tuesday’s workout.

    The full squad won’t begin practicing until Friday, the first of 13 workouts at Rams Park that will be open to the public.
     
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  3. BuffaloRam Member

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    So freaking keen for Friday
     
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  4. DR RAM Rams Lifer

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    Alexander is McDonald's backup, which is awesome.
     
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  5. Oldgeek Jack Snow-Rams history to St Louis

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    I really like that the Rams keep churning the roster trying to find better players all the time. Seems there were times in the past that they went with whatever was on the roster after the draft unless there were injuries in camp.
     
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  6. CGI_Ram Hamburger Connoisseur

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    Me too.

    To find gold you need to sift through a lot of debris.

    I am also SO FRIGGIN HAPPY this coaching staff isn't afraid of youth.
     
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  7. LACHAMP46 Well-Known Member

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    I still got Mo Alexander beating out McLeod (thank goodness) for starting Safety....Pulling for Mo & Ray Ray...Add some speed & physicality to the back of the defense....
     
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  8. Zaphod Active Member

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    I expect Alexander to back up McDonald at strong safety. If he's going to beat someone out, that's his competition based on his actual skill set I think.
     
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  9. BigRamFan Living the life Jimmy Buffett only sang about.

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    I just love the fact that C Long is already in STL and checking in on the "kids".
     
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  10. LACHAMP46 Well-Known Member

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    Do you believe the safety positions are interchangeable? Do you believe Fisher when he says Mo has coverage ability? Do you think DC Williams can assist DB's improve their play? Do you think McLeod season was good enough to warrant anther year starting?

    I do see Mo in the box and TJ rotating to the deep middle when they're in together, but I also see Mo playing deep as well. Interchangeable. Just like Snisher says....
     
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  11. Zaphod Active Member

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    Interchangeable? Sure, with the right personnel. I don't think our current personnel has the experience to seriously attempt that.

    Does Mo have coverage ability? Sure, like a linebacker has coverage ability? He may improve, but I doubt he's ready today.

    Do I think Williams can improve our secondary's play? Absolutely. That includes McLeod, Daniels, Davis, McDonald and yes even Bryant. Some of them arguable have both more experience and a better skill set for the free safety position. McLeod and Davis should be the top candidates. If anyone usurps their play I would expect it to be Joyner.

    That rebuff the list of rhetorical questions adequately? Sheesh, I look forward to seeing him play, but I expect Williams to use his players to their strengths.
     
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  12. tahoe Obsessed Ramaholic

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    Very good news about Alexander! I think it will take him some time but I do see him playing out there on defense this season with starting on special teams right away.
     
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  13. LACHAMP46 Well-Known Member

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    Experience is really overrated to some extent....I'd take talent over experience all day...Sorry about my tone in the questions, just wanted to be clear. May the best man win, I'm sure you wanna use each player to their strengths. S
     
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  14. CoachO Well-Known Member

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    Experience is over rated? The thing about this level, all these players have "talent". It's having the ability to play up to that talent that separates the good players from the "under achievers". And EXPERIENCE is one of the things that allows talented players to play without thinking, and just playing.

    Experience is the thing that keeps players playing at a high level when those "talents" start to diminish. Take Aeneas Williams as an example. He is a HOF CB, who was moved to Safety BECAUSE his skills were diminishing. It was his EXPERIENCE that allowed him to make the transition and continue to play at a high level.

    All the talent in the world doesn't matter, if that player doesn't know what he is supposed to do on any given play. In Alexander's case, you have a raw "talented" player who is still not only learning a fairly new position, but now has the added challenge of missing the "on field" installation of the defense thru OTAs, and is relying on the "mental reps" of understanding an NFL playbook.

    All the talent in the world will not make up for the hurdles this kid has in front of him when it comes to competing for a starting job THIS YEAR.
     
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  15. LACHAMP46 Well-Known Member

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    I must agree with most of this, however talent is a complicated topic. Some players are more talented than others. I'd like to go on an point out super-talented individuals from different era's but I'll stick to the Rams. Isn't Sam Bradford much better off having played his first year, without the luxury of having experience, than having a more seasoned vet take the reins? Hasn't Ogletree, Brockers, JL55, Givens, JJ, or any number of players benefited from having played early, lacking experience, than sending out a seasoned vet who should perform at a much greater & efficient level? If G-Rob's talent is greater than D. Joseph, or even equal, who would really want him on the bench simply because he lacks experience? I get the experience matters argument. I just don't believe McLeod, with experience is better than a number of these rookies with equal or greater talent. Esp. Mo Alexander, since I'm sure he was drafted to replace McLeod after the season he just had.
     
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  16. CoachO Well-Known Member

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    I don't think its a simple as making an across the board statement, especially given the differences in positions, and what the responsibilities are. And you have to take into account, the overall development of the unit at that given time. What I mean by that is, when Jenkins, Brockers et al were put in the position to "play early", the defense as a group was still in an overall developmental phase. Last year we all saw what happens to the defense when you are forced to scale down the scheme to accommodate INEXPERIENCE if the secondary, specifically at Safety. Regardless of being less talented, both McLeod and Davis, having a year in the system should allow Williams to be much more aggressive in his schemes, rather than having to account for yet another rookie stepping in and learning on the job. They are already going to be dealing with at least one rookie (Joyner) playing a significant role as the Nickel CB (as most project), and you are suggesting they compound that by "starting" someone like Alexander (and Armstrong) without accounting for what that would mean to the overall scheme.

    To answer your question, no I don't think that Bradford benefited from the experience of being thrust into the starting role in his rookie year. It didn't seem to benefit him in year two, when Josh McDaniels was brought in and was a complete failure in his revamped offense. And Givens, was only put in that position because they were forced to, and unlike many in here, I still wonder about his development. Taking into account how his 2nd season panned out, I find it difficult to say he benefited at all from his rookie season.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
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  17. ZigZagRam Well-Known Member

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    This is probably going to be a redshirt season for Alexander. He can still make a positive impact on special teams.

    Maybe he'll get to lay the wood in some sub-package work.
     
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