Yesterday's post-practice press conference fit nicely in the annals of relatively pointless press conferences.
We got assurances that Sam Bradford (likely) and Jake Long (assuredly) won't play on Friday. We learned that he's eager to get game reps for a lot of the rookies who aren't getting a ton of front-loaded time in practice. And we learned about the Rams' gameplan for Friday...which happens to be no plan at all.
Honestly, I like the idea. Most teams have some formally structured stuff for at least a couple of drives to implement something early on in the course of a football game. Establish the run, get your QB going, take early advantage of a specific WR/CB matchup -- whatever it is, that's what the offensive braintrust has going into your average NFL game.
On Friday, it's Rams Football Improv open mic night, and that's pretty cool. It gives the coaches the flexibility to adjust to things early on on the fly. It opens up the playbook to maybe throw a random formation or personnel group in the game early especially while the starters or key backups are in the game. And most importantly, it's the first preseason game without the starting QB or LT on the field, so why not play it fast and loose and see what you learn from it? I don't know that anyone at TST is all that excited to see Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's early packages anyway, so maybe this ups the entertainment factor to a slight degree.
In any case, here's the transcript from yesterday's presser.
(On how important preseason games are to his philosophy)
"Well, we don’t go to the ground out here basically, and I think that’s the case with most teams. So, you have four opportunities over the next month to do so. Young guys have to tackle, you have to do everything that is required of you to special teams, so games are important. Typically, what we do is we keep things somewhat basic the first couple and just let them play. You don’t try to out scheme people. You understand that, hey we’re going to run and tackle and block and cover and do those kind of things."
(On the plan for QB Sam Bradford during the preseason games)
"He’s done everything we needed to see right now at practice. So he’s going to play in the preseason unlikely that he’s going to play this week. But he’ll get plenty of snaps with the starters because he needs to, he needs to get out there and work with (C) Scott (Wells) and the rest of the guys. But it’s not because he can’t it’s because it’s our choice, as I have said before I’m really pleased with where he is and what he’s doing. You see every day at practice he’s doing something, that you just go, ‘That’s Sam’, that’s what we expect from him."
(On if Bradford’s first hit after an injury will matter or if getting that out of the way is overstated)
"No. If it’s a low hit or something like that coming of a knee I think it’s concerning but he’s going to be braced and he’ll be fine. The knee is very, very stable and strong. Obviously, we’ll try to keep him upright in the preseason like everybody’s going to try to do with their quarterbacks."
(On if it’s difficult to evaluate the younger guys with the shortened allotment of practices)
"Well, that’s where the game comes into play. A lot of the college free agents on the roster that aren’t getting a lot of reps in practice are going to get game reps. As we all know we build reps with the starters and the back-ups and you’re not playing three quarters worth of ball each week. These guys are going to get game reps, probably going to get more game reps than they did practice, so we’ll find out if they’re paying attention."
(On WR Kenny Britt being the starter on the unofficial depth-chart)
"Well, I mean you got to put somebody’s name down there. So, they’re all going to play. I see both Kenny and (WR) Tavon (Austin) just rotating probably through the first quarter getting them plenty of reps. Kenny’s obviously has had a great camp. We expect him to make plays. We want to have him in there with Tavon, and (WR) Brian (Quick) and the rest of the guys when Sam’s in the game. So, we’ll give him an opportunity."
(On T Joe Barksdale)
"Joe’s done a great job. Joe’s stepped in a played. He’s played both sides for us, settled in on the right side. He’s reliable, dependable, everything you want at right tackle. It was great timing for us, great timing for Joe, when he was let go and we had an opportunity to bring him in and he’s done a great job."
(On if T Jake Long will play Friday)
"Jake will not play. Could play, but we’re not going to play him. I think we’ll probably hold Scott (Wells) as well."
(On the significance of reaching the first game)
"I think they’re starting to feel it now that we’re here. We’re not going to pad tomorrow or Thursday and shoot, we play Friday so now it’s kind of recharge, refresh, recover and get ready to play the Saints." (On what he wants to see out of this preseason game) "I think it’s the same thing year after year in the first preseason game. You want to play as many people as you can that are able to play. You don’t want to play your starters too much. You want to get them in a flow, but we’re not out there to outsmart anybody. We’re not game planning. We’re just going to do what we’ve done here. You want to give your backs, obviously in a perfect world each running back is going to get about six carries in this game if things go the way we expect them and then the return game, you just don’t know how that’s going to go. But it’s preseason game number one, everybody that’s capable of playing for the most part will play."
(On if there will be minimal game planning or any)
"Yes. We’re not. We’re not planning. We’re going to just do our stuff. I think that’s important in game one to be able to adjust, let the players adjust and they may take a look at some tape from last year on Friday but beyond that we’re just going to keep installing."
(On if he thinks this is a time in camp where players are ready to play other teams)
"Yeah this is the time. I think they’re looking forward to seeing someone else line up across from them. It’s always the case."