The first game-like simulation takes place today with an intrasquad scrimmage - no hits allowed for the established guys - at 9:50 a.m. I generally like the idea of the Rams practicing in WI, but it sure was easier to catch a few practices or a scrimmage when they were a little closer to home. Oh well, it's not like most fans get to go the away games either...of course, those are on TV. Fortunately, there's plenty of camp coverage for us to digest and add our two cents to.
Linehan on Chris Long's rapid grasp of the game: “He just gets it. He understands what he has to do. His expectation is to improve daily. He’s hard on himself, but he understands if he works hard and keeps doing it the way he’s always done it, he’s just going to continue to improve. And he only has one speed, which is really good to see, especially in a rookie. Sometimes they start to shut it down when they’re thinking. But he doesn’t go there."
That's the stuff you want to hear about the second overall draft choice, and with Chris Long, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Remember, Long was the draft pick many experts felt was closest to being NFL ready, able to make the most impact of any other DE in the draft.
With a rejuvenated James Hall in the mix alongside Long and Little, the Rams have real, quality depth at DE. Worried about playing time for the three? Don't. Hall and Little are both over 30-years-old (Hall turned 31 this year), so having a young guy in the mix can save some reps on their legs and extend their impact, La'Roi Glover theory that we saw last season.
WR Derrick Stanley continues to turn in a big catch every day. Actually, he had three nice grabs Friday — but he also committed a bad drop when he was wide open on the sideline.
Whose not rooting for Stanley? He was impressive returning kicks last season, and could be a real asset in that role going forward, especially if the Rams end up making Dante Hall more of a 3rd WR than KR (and Donnie Avery needs to be ticketed for a WR role). Early camp reports are filled with WRs making impressive catches in the more limited camp drills. When the real contact starts - for Stanley that's today - the real test begins. Stanley, according to the Rams depth chart is 5'11", a not unusual height for a WR, but weighs in at just 179 lbs, which makes you wonder about his size. Donnie Avery, whose main knock was his size, came to the draft weighing 190 lbs to go with his 5'11" height.
The play of the day award went to Bulger and fullback Russ Weil. With fellow fullback Dan Kreider nursing a sore knee, Weil has been getting a long look in about every formation as a lead blocker. On this play, though, Weil floated a deep sideline pass to Bulger that was right on the money and drew oohs and aahs from the crowd and delighted cheers from the team.
How often do you remember the fullback being called on last year...or even the year before? Hell, the Rams cut Madison Hedgecock who wound up getting a long term deal with the Super Bowl champion Giants. So far, the Rams and new OC Al Saunders seem to be taking no page in the playbook for granted. After last season, we're more than happy to have all the competent blockers on the field we can get, scripting them into the offense looks even better as Saunders leaves no stone unturned in seeking out mismatches between his offense and opposing defenses.
Anxious to hear/see what the scrimmage has to offer.