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Jeff Fisher Opens Up About Case Keenum, an Encore from Aaron Donald, and the key for the O-Line

St. Louis Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher stuck around after practice on Sunday to answer a few questions from the media. What does Case Keenum bring to the table, and what’s the key for an inexperienced offensive line?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Fisher – Post-Practice – August 9, 2015

(On today’s weather being a ‘toasty’ one)
"Yeah, actually it was and they pushed right through it, which is impressive. Didn’t have to mention a thing, they pushed themselves through it and I was really impressed. They knew we had to get through today and tomorrow; big days for us because then we can start to taper off as we get closer to the preseason."

(On former Rams WR Isaac Bruce being at practice and the open door to past players)
"His career speaks for itself. When we came in and the respect factor that we have for the former players, whether they played a year or played 10 years or potential Hall of Famers, we just want to make sure they’re welcome here. So, you’ve seen a number of them over the years. Isaac, I didn’t get to see him, pretty busy, but my understanding is that he came with Jackie Joyner-Kearse, so that’s cool. (General Manager) Les (Snead) got to talk to them, but I didn’t get to. Door is open to everybody. Any former player that wants to come out to practice or go in and say hi, we welcome."

(On trading for QB Case Keenum in the offseason and what he can bring as a backup quarterback)
"Well, Houston (Texans) got into a set of circumstances that were problematic last year and so it made sense for them to sign Case off of our practice squad. At that point, we didn’t have the luxury of signing him to the active roster, particularly because of our needs and the uncertainty at the position. So, Case went in there and played and did some good things and won a couple of games for them. We wanted to have Case back and didn’t know what their situation was going to be, so we just thought the best way to get Case back was to offer them a future pick."

(On what he’s seeing out of Keenum so far)
"He’s productive. He understands the offense. His second year in our offense. He’s further ahead than where he was last year. He can make all of the throws and he’s got that enthusiasm and the ‘it’ factor in the huddle. We thought it would be a good deal for us, so it worked out."

(On ease dropping in the huddle and what he’s looking for)
"I want to hear what’s going on. It’s the quarterback’s huddle and there’s more to operate in a huddle than just calling the play. So all of our guys are doing a great job right now with the subtle things - the situations, the down and distance, the reminders and things like that. They can all do it. Case was like that when he came in, so that’s one of the reasons we brought him back."

(On Offensive Coordinator Frank Cignetti saying the game doesn’t seem too big for Keenum)
"When Case started practicing and he had to go do some stuff, he went out and did it. He ran two-minute against the defense and ran the cards against the defense and just made plays, so it’s not too big for him. He did that in high school, he did it in college and he did it with the Texans when he got his opportunity."

(On what DT Aaron Donald can do for an encore from last year’s performance)
"He’s worked very, very hard the entire offseason. All of the things he accomplished last year, he started this offseason on a mission. He’s in great shape. He has a good feel. He knows every snap he has a chance to win and he’s motivated by that. That’s going to be good for us and very hard to block this year."

(On getting a better gauge on the offensive linemen with a few days of padded practice)
"Yeah, I think they’re doing a nice job. ‘JB’ (G Jamon Brown) and (T) Rob (Havenstein) are coming on, (T) Andrew’s (Donnal) coming on. I’d like to get (G) Cody (Wichmann) back out there. (C) Demetrius (Rhaney) missed a lot of time last year with the injury, so it’s been great for him too. I think we’ll be alright. We will wait and see how we fare against the Raiders and the Cowboys in practice, but there’s no reason for me to think that they can’t line up and play."

(On the biggest concern with the offensive line once they get into the regular season)
"Well, it’s communication. It’s actually the lack of reps and the lack of experience. Because if there’s a communication issue upfront and you cut somebody loose, that’s a free run on your quarterback, so we’ve got to make sure that, that doesn’t happen. Up to this point, they are getting their reps."

(On T Greg Robinson with a year and an offseason under his belt)
"Greg, because of the injury, stayed here and rehabbed, so he spent a lot of time with (offensive line) coach ‘Bou’ (Paul F. Boudreau) and (assistant offensive line) coach (Andy) Dickerson in the offseason. I’m just going back and looking at some things from last year, so he’s much further along. Obviously, last year we started him at guard and we lost (T) Jake (Long) and moved him to tackle, so he’s much more comfortable. This far, he and (G) Rodger (Saffold), Rodger rehabbed as well, so the two of them spent the offseason together and that’s a benefit for us considering they’re going to be playing next to each other."