St. Louis Rams - TeamReport
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NFL Team Report - St. Louis Rams - INSIDE SLANTIt's only been three days, but quarterback Sam Bradford reached something of a milestone when he participated in practice each day after the St. Louis Rams opened training camp July 25.Coming back from a torn ACL suffered in the seventh game of the 2013 season, Bradford worked in about half of the team's OTAs and never two days in a row."Sam's doing fine," coach Jeff Fisher said after Sunday's practice. "We don't anticipate any issues. The ball's coming off and spinning off his hands right now with some great throws. And at the other end of those throws were some good efforts and good catches."After the opening day, Bradford said, "I feel great. My knee feels really good. It feels better than when we finished OTAs. In talking to coach and (trainer) Reggie (Scott), they feel good about having no limits. If it starts to get a little sore and we feel like we need to pull back we can always do that. Out of the gate I'm going to try and do everything."Bradford also opened some eyes during the team's conditioning test. As Fisher said, "I won't mention the names of the people that crossed the line after him but he did well. He's worked really hard."Linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar also wouldn't reveal any names, but he acknowledged there were some teammates Bradford probably embarrassed.Said Dunbar, "He did. Guys that you would think would do a lot better (than him). I can't tell you specifics, but Sam ran well. He came out and he blew that conditioning test open. So to see him do that, and to see him out here throwing the ball and throwing some accurate balls - some good balls - it's just a relief to know that you've got the general on offense back."Optimism is high within the team, and while everyone understands how tough their division is, they don't dwell on it. Bradford also pays little attention to the persistent narrative that labels 2014 a "make-or-break season" for him after being the first overall choice in the 2010 draft.He said, "I think that question's probably been asked every year since I've been here. Every year is a 'make-it-or-break-it' year according to someone. I think everyone in our locker room feels really good about where we're at right now and where this football team is going. I think we have a great chance to be really good. We're just worried about coming out here right now at camp and getting better every day."Of course, being in a game will be the next test, and Bradford said, "It might be a little different the first time when we step on the field for a preseason game or a regular season game when bullets are live."But for now, he is simply concentrating on "just getting back into the rhythm that I was getting into at the end of last year before I got hurt. There's no doubt that there is still a little rust that needs to come off. I just haven't been out there. I haven't played a lot of football since the injury. Just tightening up all the small details with our guys. Just pushing the unit to get better as a whole every day."Fisher insisted he doesn't even worry or think about Bradford's knee."No, no I'm not watching his legs at all," Fisher said. "You watch the execution and you watch the decisions when you look at the quarterback, but footwork's good and right now the arm strength is outstanding. Honestly, if we have any concern with respect to Sam it would be the number of throws and that's the case anytime you get a quarterback that's going into their fifth year or sixth year, because you can tend to throw to much at camp, but we don't have any concern about the knees, which is a good thing."CAMP CALENDARRookies reported: July 21Veterans reported: July 24First practice: July 25-----------------------------------------------NFL Team Report - St. Louis Rams - NOTES, QUOTES--Linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar was on the practice field Friday less than one week after being arrested in Miami and charged with disorderly conduct. Originally, it had been reported that Dunbar was also charged with battery after an incident outside a nightclub that involved NBA player Donte Greene and Greene's brother Dmetrique.The police report indicated that Dunbar was involved in a fight with Dmetrique Greene when Donte hit Dunbar in the head and neck and had to be restrained by a taser. Donte Greene was charged with battery.Dunbar wouldn't get into specifics Friday, but said, "I spoke to coach (Jeff Fisher) and everyone else internally in the organization. I am hopeful of getting past it. ... It's a relief to be back."Fisher told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "We are gathering facts as we always do. I have spoken to Jo-Lonn. It appears that it was not what it was presented to be. At this point, I'm hoping that the investigation, the legal system, will prove that it was more of a self-defense issue than it was something where he was the aggressor."--With left tackle Jake Long (knee) and center Scott Wells not practicing, the Rams lined up with rookie Greg Robinson at left tackle, Rodger Saffold at left guard, Tim Barnes at center and Davin Joseph at right guard. Robinson had played mostly at left guard during OTAs with Saffold at right guard.Said coach Jeff Fisher, "We're going to move everybody around. The two rookie sessions that we had, we had Greg out their getting some work. Greg actually worked out there today; we're just going to move people around. Jake is doing well; we expect Jake barring any setbacks to be ready for the opener. That'll give some of the younger players opportunities to line up out there and play during the preseason.""I thought Greg did a great job," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "As a young guy it's tough. Today he played both tackle and guard and when you're trying to learn a system, you'd really prefer to have to learn one but we're asking him to learn two because we think he can handle it. I thought he did a great job playing both inside and outside today. I think he is really going to help us up front."Saffold said he gets a schedule of what positions he will play, and said, "One of these days I'll play tight end and I'll catch the ball."As for Robinson, he said, "Greg will get more experience learning different positions and he will be able to see the big picture."--When defensive end Michael Sam was drafted by the Rams, the man who hopes to become the first openly gay player in the NFL had to know he was going to take some flack.The first public shot came from former NFL player and coach and current analyst Tony Dungy, who stated he would not have drafted Sam because of the distractions that come with him.Sam took the high road Tuesday after his first practice with the Rams, saying: "Thank God he wasn't a St. Louis Rams coach. But I have great respect for Tony Dungy. Like everyone in America, everyone is entitled to their own opinions."On a more positive note, Sam is coming off a great moment at the ESPYs, winning the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage because of his choice to come out prior to the draft."It was a great award," he said. "I had a great time in L.A. with the Arthur Ashe Award, but that's over. I'm focusing on football now."On the football side, Sam is hoping the hoopla dies down."My focus is on making this team," he said. "I don't really care what people come up and tell me. My job is to make this team, that's my No. 1 one priority."--Running back Isaiah Pead has been almost a forgotten man since being drafted by the Rams in the second round of the 2012 draft.In that rookie season, he was beaten out by Daryl Richardson, who got most of the carries when Steven Jackson was injured or needed a breather. Last year, with Jackson gone to Atlanta, Richardson opened the season as the starter, but when he suffered a toe injury, it was Zac Stacy that took over the No. 1 role.Pead missed the first game of the season under league suspension, and then had virtually no role in the offense, as Benny Cunningham became the backup to Stacy. That's when Pead got tired of standing around and about halfway through the season approached special teams coordinator John Fassel about contributing on special teams."My mindset was simply wanting to get on the field," Pead said after this year's OTAs wrapped up. "I had no role. I was just standing on the sideline doing nothing. I'm a football player. I take it to heart when I have a role."Not only did Pead begin playing on special teams, but he embraced the opportunity.When asked about Pead, Fassel said, "I'm really glad you asked me that. When you think about him a lot and his development last year, how he really committed to special teams. Not only was he a contributor, he was a high-impact guy for us. I think a lot of people are going to see a lot of growth out of that guy, not only on teams, and I can't speak for offense, but I just imagine with his maturity, his work ethic, his ability I would imagine he's going to have a fantastic preseason and really been a good guy. I could speak on him a lot on how proud I am of him and his work ethic and his contributions last year, especially on special teams."Even with the selection of running back Tre Mason in this year's draft, Pead has been getting a chance on offense in OTAs. He has been solid in pass protection, and had a big play on a long pass reception in the Tuesday OTA this week.Said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, "He's doing good. He ran with the ones some today (Tuesday); did a nice job. Obviously again, took a big step up for coach Fassel on special teams. When a guy does that, he's obviously going to be dressed every day on game day, which is big thing for us because you don't get everybody dressed for game day. He's really getting better. I think getting comfort in the system helps. Terrific match-up problem for the defense coming out of the backfield and he's made some big plays for us. Had a nice touchdown down in the boundary today."Pead is fine helping on special teams, but his goal this year is to get himself back in the mix on offense."Last year was last year," he said. "This year, I'm focused on changing my role to being a running back."--This season is an important one for wide receiver Brian Quick, the first pick in the second round of the 2012 draft. Quick has struggled with consistency, and the Rams hope he will make a quantum leap in his third season.Schottenheimer believes this might be the year. He said, "Probably the most improved player I've seen is Brian Quick. He's doing a great job. Another guy that we're giving an opportunity to. He's competing for playing time. He's made the most of his opportunities. He started today (Tuesday). Again, just moving guys around, in and out of the lineup, trying to create competition and he's stepped up and made a lot of big plays for us."--Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is glad to be calling the shots again for an NFL defense and his passion for the game is evident."I'm excited," he said as OTAs came to a close. "I'm happiest on the field. I'm happiest out here. I'm happiest competing. In the meeting room, it's good too, when the players are around. In the offseason when the players aren't around and the coaches have to suffer through me ... they were so happy when the players got here because they got a break too because now I can start stressing the players instead of stressing the coaches."But it is fun. This is where I'm happiest. Again, in the state of Missouri, back in my home state, here in St. Louis, I can't tell you how happy I am. This is a good group of guys to be with."As for getting across what he wants, Williams said it's a two-way street. He said, "This has been a learning curve for them and really been a learning curve for me because I've got to try to learn each and every one of them - the veterans, too. It's a good group. They've responded well and I'm excited about taking the next step into training camp."One player that helps having around is linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who was with the Saints when Williams was the defensive coordinator there."I think it's good to have him going along behind the scenes, in the locker room and saying I'm not as crazy as everybody thinks I am," Williams said. "You know, it's funny because you take a look at the intern coaches that are here, two of the three intern coaches played for me in Mike Peterson (at Jacksonville) and Pierson Prioleau. Pierson Prioleau was that guy for me when I took him at Buffalo, I took him with the Redskins, I took him to Jacksonville and I took him to the Saints. His question was, 'How come it took you four teams to win a Super Bowl?' So all of the sudden finding the right spot. He was always around in that locker room to answer questions that really coaches hadn't come up with yet and really like, 'Is he serious? Is he really serious?' Jo-Lonn can do that. He does a great job with that, so it's important."-----------------------------------------------NFL Team Report - St. Louis Rams - STRATEGY AND PERSONNELPLAYER NOTES--S Christian Bryant did some running on the field after practice Friday and appeared to be close to being able to practice. The seventh-round pick injured his ankle last season at Ohio State, and is currently on the nin-football injury list.--T Jake Long did some work in individual drills as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered late last season. Long was not placed on the physically unable to perform list.--DE Williams Hayes, who had knee surgery in the offseason, was not placed on physically unable to perform. Hayes participated in some individual drills on the first day of practice.PERSONNEL TRACKERUNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)--S Matt Giordano (not tendered as UFA).--QB Brady Quinn (not tendered as UFA).--LB Will Witherspoon (not tendered as UFA).RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED--T/G Greg Robinson (1/2): 4 yrs, terms unknown.--DT Aaron Donald (1/13): 4 yrs, terms unknown.--CB Lamarcus Joyner (2/41): 4 yrs, terms unknown.--RB Tre Mason (3/75): 4 yrs, terms unknown.--S Maurice Alexander (4/110): 4 yrs, terms unknown.--CB E.J. Gaines (6/188): 4 yrs, terms unknown.--QB Garrett Gilbert (6/214): 4 yrs, terms unknown.--T Mitchell Van Dyk (7/226): 4 yrs, terms unknown.--S Christian Bryant (7/241): 4 yrs, terms unknown.--DE Michael Sam (7/249): 4 yrs, terms unknown.--C Demetrius Rhaney (7/250): 4 yrs, terms unknown.PLAYERS RE-SIGNED--C Tim Barnes: ERFA; $570,000/1 yr.--QB Austin Davis: ERFA; $570,000/1 yr.--LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar: UFA; $2.006M/2 yrs, $128,821 guaranteed.--G Rodger Saffold: UFA; $31.347M/5 yrs, $5M SB/$19.5M partially guaranteed/$11M fully guaranteed.--WR Justin Veltung: ERFA; $495,000/1 yr.PLAYERS ACQUIRED--WR Kenny Britt: UFA Titans; $1.4M/1 yr, $550,000 guaranteed.--DL Alex Carrington: UFA Bills; 1 yr, terms unknown.--QB Shaun Hill: UFA Lions; $1.75M/1 yr, $500,000 guaranteed.--G Davin Joseph: FA Buccaneers; terms unknown.PLAYERS LOST--QB Kellen Clemens: UFA Chargers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.--DT Jermelle Cudjo (released).--G Harvey Dahl (released).--CB Cortland Finnegan (released).--TE Mike McNeill: Not tendered as RFA/Panthers; $1.52M/2 yr, $100,000 SB.--CB Quinton Pointer: Not tendered as ERFA/Buccaneers; terms unknown.--RB Daryl Richardson (released).--G Shelley Smith: UFA Dolphins; $5.5M/2yrs, $500,000/SB/$1.5M guaranteed.--S Darian Stewart: UFA Ravens; 1 yr, terms unknown.--G Chris Williams: UFA Bills; $13.5M/4 yrs, $5.5M guaranteed.