The St. Louis Rams wrapped up this morning's practice without CB Tye Hill, who left the field with a swollen knee. It's in his right knee, the surgically repaired one. Coaches say he'll be fine, but it's something to keep an eye on. Hill's competing for his football future and any little thing that slows him down can be a serious speed bump. Here's ESPN's Mike Sando on what he saw from an obviously hurting Hill in drills today:
I watched receiver Nate Jones beat Hill for a touchdown despite relatively tight coverage. The Rams would like Hill to contest such plays more aggressively. "Compete!" was an order heard often in drills pitting cornerbacks against receivers. In this case, Hill was hurting.
Let's hope it's just the injury. This morning I mentioned that Chris Draft was still working as the starting SLB, but he sat it out today, thanks to a thumb to the throat, giving Larry Grant a chance to shine in work with the first team. He picked off Bulger and tackled Kenneth Darby to breakup a running play before Darby could gain any yardage. This is exciting news. If the Rams can start getting good play out of more linebackers than just the starting three, it will go along way toward erasing those painful memories of last year's linebacker play.
Grant wasn't the only linebacker making an impression on the visiting Sando today. Check out what he said about Witherspoon:
Linebacker Will Witherspoon was easily the most impressive linebacker. He caused problems rushing the passer and taking down running backs behind the line of scrimmage.
I think moving 'Spoon back to the weakside will breath new life into his game, after years being miscast in the middle. Remember how well he did in limited work on the weakside last year, when the Rams used him to bolster their struggling pass rush? He picked up seven sacks that season. This move might be almost like adding a new player to the roster.
An Alex Barron sighting! Sando reports Barron handling Chris Long in a pass rushing drill. Good news for Barron or bad news for Long?
The PD includes a note about Derek Stanley stepping up in practice today, answering the call in Avery's absence. That's good to hear, especially considering what the PD reported in today's piece about the receivers behind Avery on the depth chart. Here's what they said in the a.m. edition:
Derek Stanley is coming back from major knee surgery and hasn't made the kind of plays in practice so far in Rams camp that he did a year ago.
Now, is today a new trend or a blip on the radar for Stanley? Stay tuned.