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Rams wrap-up OTA practices, head for summer break/PD

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RamBill, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. RamBill Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
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    Rams wrap-up OTA practices, head for summer break
    • By Jim Thomas


    The Rams closed their spring OTA experience with a "flourish," with the team's offensive and defensive linemen engaging in a punt-catching competition. Suffice it to say, Tavon Austin's return job is not in jeopardy. Even so, the big guys did better than expected.

    Five defensive linemen successfully caught punts from the JUGs machine, compared to only three offensive linemen. The penalty for the losing team _ the O-line _ was running one wind sprint.

    "I was pretty impressed," Fisher said. "Last year, I don't even think they touched a ball."

    Not everyone got to leave after Thursday's practice, however. Rookies have to stay Friday (and then head to the Cleveland area for the NFL's rookie symposium). In addition several injured players must stay for more rehab work. Otherwise, the team is done until the start of training camp in late July.

    Overall, Fisher was pleased with what he saw during the three-week period of practices.

    "We told the guys you're not going to compete for the division here over the next couple weeks," Fisher said. "The only thing you do is set yourself back. So it was a step-by-step process, we got everything in, and we came through it very, very healthy. We got the rooks caught up which was good."


    Not practicing Thursday were: WR Jamaine Sherman, S Christian Bryant, S Maurice Alexander (knee surgery), RB Chase Reynolds (sports hernia surgery), LB Ray Ray Armstrong, C Scott Wells, LT Jake Long (although he once again did individual drills), DT Michael Brockers (ankle), and DE William Hayes.

    CB Trumaine Johnson and DT Kendall Langford participated Thursday after sitting out Tuesday's practice. S Matt Daniels who has been working his way back from knee surgery, actually took part in some "team" drills. WR Kenny Britt, who limped off late in Tuesday's session, practiced Thursday.

    Of the group of players who have missed time, Fisher said only Bryant, and of course Long, may not be ready for the start of camp.


    For the first time during OTAs _ at least in a session open to the media _ Rodger Saffold worked at left tackle with the starting offense during 11-on-11 work. Davin Joseph worked at right guard with the starters.

    _ For the first time during the OTA practices, QB Sam Bradford worked in back-to-back practices and looked sharp Thursday.

    _ The catch of the day was made by Stedman Bailey, a leaping grab in the back of the end zone despite good coverage by T.J. McDonald, on a throw from Bradford during a 7-on-7 red zone session

    _ Undrafted rookie defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks tipped a pass and made an impressive interception. But he started running in the wrong direction with the INT before realizing the error of his ways.

    _ Jo-Lonn Dunbar celebrated his interception by punting the ball during his return.

    _ Once again, college referees took part in practice and threw a few flags during 11-on-11.
    LesBaker likes this.
  2. RamBill Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
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    Observations from Rams' final OTA
    By Nick Wagoner


    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams wrapped up organized team activities with their ninth and final practice Thursday. For those keeping score at home, yes, that's a day earlier than expected; coach Jeff Fisher canceled Friday's previously planned practice.

    As always, it should be noted that much of what happens in these OTAs should be taken with a grain of salt (especially for the linemen). The players are not in pads and contact must be extremely limited. It's best not to get too excited or too down on anything that happens.

    Back to back for Bradford: Quarterback Sam Bradford spent the bulk of OTAs on a strict plan for his involvement. Usually, that meant a couple of periods of seven-on-seven drills and a period of hurry-up in team drills. But Bradford did a little more than usual Thursday and did extensive work in back-to-back practices for the first time in the offseason. Bradford had gone two in a row earlier but was more limited in one of those practices.

    Bradford was also at his sharpest, at least relative to the other sessions open to the media. Now, for the first time since he suffered his knee injury in October, Bradford will get to spend quality time back home in Oklahoma. Bradford said he feels good and all signs point to him being ready to go when training camp opens.

    "I was really happy with everything that went on during the OTAs," Bradford said. "A big part of it for me was obviously physically getting back out on to the field, seeing how my knee reacted. It's been fantastic. We were actually able to do a little more than we anticipated so that's very positive.

    "Out there today, it felt probably the best its felt all OTAs and [I'm] just really looking to build on that."

    Line dancing: Working without the services of left tackle Jake Long and center Scott Wells, the Rams tweaked things on the offensive line a bit. Rodger Saffold kicked out to left tackle with Davin Joseph sliding in at right guard and Barrett Jones got work at center with the first team. Long did some work in individual drills.

    It doesn't mean much at this point since the Rams are anticipating Long and Wells returning to the fold soon enough, but it was a departure from the previous alignments in which Sean Hooey or Mike Person had rotated at left tackle. Tim Barnes has also taken reps at center in the days where Wells has been absent.

    Sitting it out: The Rams got some players back to practice but still had their share of missing pieces. Receiver Jamaine Sherman, safety Christian Bryant, safety Maurice Alexander, running back Chase Reynolds, linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong, Wells, Long, defensive tackle Michael Brockers and defensive end William Hayes did not participate.

    Cornerback Trumaine Johnson, defensive tackle Kendall Langford and safety Matt Daniels returned to work after not practicing Tuesday. Daniels had missed most of the workouts but was able to finish Thursday and had a couple of pass breakups in team drills.

    Receiver Kenny Britt and cornerback Darren Woodard, both of whom left Tuesday's practice early, were back and participated.

    Closing competition: Per custom, Fisher put his offensive and defensive lineman through a punt-catching drill to wrap up the final OTA. The drill asks the linemen to stand about 80 yards removed from the JUGS machine and catch a punt. The side that catches more doesn't have to run a final round of wind sprints.

    In an impressive showing, the defense came up with five grabs to win and force the offense to run.

    Final impressions: Receiver Stedman Bailey made a strong closing argument before training camp, coming up with a few impressive grabs, including a diving catch for a touchdown from Bradford during seven-on-seven.

    In what was one of the more impressive and humorous plays of the day, undrafted rookie defensive tackle Deantre Harlin broke up a pass by batting it into the air then showed concentration by snatching it for an interception. The enthusiastic cheers coming from his defensive teammates quickly turned to laughter as Harlin got turned around and began running the wrong way before course correcting.

    Looking ahead: With OTAs and the offseason now complete, the Rams will disappear for a little while. The rookies must stay through Friday but after that, it will be quiet around Rams Park until rookies report July 21. The veterans will join them July 24 with the first open practice set for July 25.

    Fisher has already given the team the annual talk about making good decisions in the offseason and noted Thursday that there weren't any issues last year. He hopes for a repeat of that this time around.

    When the Rams do return to St. Louis, Fisher said he expects most of the players who did not participate during OTAs to be ready to go. In addition to Long, Fisher said Bryant is the only other player who might not be fully ready to go at the start of camp.
    LesBaker likes this.
  3. Rams and Gators Well-Known Member

    Aug 15, 2013
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    The first open practice set for July 25

    DaveFan'51, BuffaloRam and CoachO like this.
  4. RamFan503 Grill and Brew Master Staff

    Jun 24, 2010
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    So was it Westbrook or Harlin that tipped the pass and then ran the wrong way? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Thanks again for posting these RamBill.
  5. Akrasian Active Member

    Jun 18, 2014
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    Why did Fisher cancel the last OTA? I wonder if he had used that chance as a motivational tool at the beginning of OTAs. You know, work extra hard and do extra playbook study at night and the last one won't be necessary.

    If so, apparently Fisher was impressed with the work they put in. Otherwise though - wouldn't the team especially the rooks benefit from an extra day of work?
  6. bwdenverram Well-Known Member

    Jul 25, 2010
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    I caught that also. Who knows? :0
  7. ZigZagRam Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2014
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    Shoot, we'll fix that.
    LesBaker and CGI_Ram like this.
  8. Rambition Member

    Jun 19, 2014
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    i guess we now know what westbrooks' nickname is going to be..."Hey, Wrong-Way Westbrooks!!" wait...maybe it's "Hey, Wrong-Way Harlin!!"
    DaveFan'51, LesBaker and MFaulk107 like this.
  9. Thordaddy Binding you with ancient logic

    Apr 5, 2012
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    A lot of teams did that,I think it was a reward for working hard and in such a way as to have completed the desired schedule.
  10. Boffo97 Still legal in 17 states!

    Feb 10, 2014
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    Sitting it out: The Rams got some players back to practice but still had their share of missing pieces. Receiver Jamaine Sherman, safety Christian Bryant, safety Maurice Alexander, running back Chase Reynolds, linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong, Wells, Long, defensive tackle Michael Brockers and defensive end William Hayes did not participate.

  11. RamBill Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2010
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    Final Rams OTA Recap
    By Jonathan Webb

    With outside expectations of his team elevated significantly from when he took over as head coach in 2012, Jeff Fisher was cautious against reading too far into the team’s OTA workouts. He did, however, leave the practice field Thursday pleased with his team’s showing over the past

    “We told the guys that you’re not going to compete for the division over the next couple weeks,” Fisher said. “The only thing you can do is set yourself back, so it was a step-by-step process. We got everything in, we were very healthy, we got the rookies caught up. Sam (Bradford) got on the field two consecutive days, Jake (Long) got some stuff done in individuals, so we’re in pretty good shape.”

    The level of caution was particularly acute with regard to the use of Bradford, who appeared in 11-on-11

    sessions for the first time Thursday. Bradford previously had been limited to 7-on-7 and individual drills during OTA practices.

    “I was really happy with everything that went on,” Bradford said. “A big part of it for me was physically getting back out on the field and seeing how my knee reacted. It’s been fantastic. We were able to do a little more than we anticipated, so that’s very positive. To get out there today was probably the best (the knee) has felt.”

    Bradford was certainly the headliner among key Rams to watch during OTAs, but others stood out, as well.

    Among the more notable players during OTAs was veteran wideout Kenny Britt, who estimated he hasn’t entered a season this healthy since the 2011 season. Plagued by injuries over the past two seasons, the Rams acquired Britt as a potential low-risk, high-reward pickup during the offseason, and his ability has shone through repeatedly over the past two weeks. The 6’3” Britt has created mismatches for Rams defenders during multiple OTAs, and could present a similar element for NFC West defensive backs.

    In addition to Britt and the competition among the team’s receiver group, the Rams have also added a bit of intrigue in the backfield in the weeks leading up to training camp, with ‘competition’ being the dominant word from offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

    While meeting with media following Tuesday’s practice, Schottenheimer encouraged competition among a running back group that includes Isaiah Pead, Bennie Cunningham and third-round draft choice Tre Mason behind second-year back Zac Stacy. While Stacy certainly will enter camp as the favorite to handle the bulk of the carries, it appears Schottenheimer envisions contributions from many others.

    “Right now, competition is for who’s the starter,” Schottenheimer said. “We’re just going to let them all roll and see what happens. You saw some guys that worked with the young guys today. Zac’s (Stacy) obviously a really, really good player, but we’re going to create competition for all the guys. That’s a long way off, but we know we have a good stable group of backs and they all have different skill sets, which we’ll try to use throughout the course of the year.”

    News and Notes

    -Among those not participating during Thursday’s workout were safeties Christian Bryant and Maurice Alexander, DT Michael Brockers, DE William Hayes, RB Chase Reynolds, LB Ray-Ray Armstrong, WR Jamaine Sherman, C Scott Wells and T Jake Long.

    With the possible exception of Bryant, Fisher anticipated each of the Rams rookies who missed time due to injury during OTAs would be available for the opening of training camp.

    -Wrapping up two weeks of work in 90-degree conditions, Fisher and the Rams brought OTAs to a close with a bit of humor. As is tradition, the Rams concluded their OTAs with offensive and defensive linemen catching (or in most cases, attempting to catch) punts launched from a JUGS machine.

    “We had a good group out there,” Fisher joked. “Last year, I don’t think they even touched a ball.”