Friday, August 5, 2016

This Week's Los Angeles Rams Weekly!

'Hard Knocks' provides glimpse at Rams life
The Rams have returned to Los Angeles and Hard Knocks is there to document the transition. The series doesn't premiere until Tuesday, but NFL Films gives us some behind-the-scene looks.
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Here’s what coach had to say during the Rams’ second practice of 2016 training camp.

Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(Opening Remarks)
“Alright, day two, day two with everybody. Update on (WR) Tavon (Austin), he’s fine, he got a little dehydrated. He was cramping a little bit, so he’ll be fine. He’s not going to miss any practice, won’t miss any time. Great lesson to be learned there, I heard that, for some reason he didn’t eat lunch. Go figure. So anyway, a good message for the rest of the team. He’s doing fine, he’s having a great camp, he’s in great shape. No worries there. We released (WR) Deon Long this morning. We’ll probably bring some receivers in; we’re just trying to upgrade the bottom part of our roster. (WR) Kenny Britt was excused from practice today; he’ll be back in the swing of things tonight in meetings and tomorrow.
“Beyond that, we had a good day, a good second day. We’re installing, getting a lot more in and I thought (QB) Jared (Goff) had a good day, made some really good throws. We’re eagerly awaiting that opportunity to put the shoulder pads on so the offense can show what they’ve got, because it’s obviously a practice scenario situation where the defense typically gets the advantage before the pads go on. So the offense is looking forward to it. Tomorrow, we’re having a special teams practice; it’ll be our first practice with the shoulder pads. Then we’ll come back the next day with shoulder pads and we’ll be rolling. Questions?”

(On if this seemed more like a typical practice after all the excitement from yesterday’s first day)
“Yeah, it was great. It’s kind of what we’re hoping to get out of training camp throughout the way. It’s been great. And unfortunately, we don’t have time to get every autograph signed because players have responsibilities inside and then meal and meetings. But they’re doing the best they can. I think the offensive line is up tonight (for autographs) and some of the defensive line stayed out. But it’s a good situation for us.”

(On Alec Ogletree’s transition to middle linebacker)
“It’s been seamless. He really has a great understanding of the defense – making all the calls; he’s taking that leadership role over. He’s off to a great start. I think one of the things that’s indicative of that is what a guy does during the time off – like we talked about yesterday. He went out and he worked and he came back and had the best overall time, from a defensive standpoint, in the conditioning test. What a difference a couple years makes. I’m just really proud of him. He’s our guy in the middle.”

(On if he saw the same qualities last year that made him think Ogletree could handle the move)
“Yeah, we did. Unfortunately, the season didn’t work out the way he, and all of us hoped, because of the injury. He stayed focused throughout the rehab. He held onto the hope that he could come back, perhaps for the last game, but it just didn’t work out. I think the fact that he was around, he was rehabbing, he was studying, he was a teammate – I think it really helped him to prepare.”

(QB Jared Goff saying that QB Case Keenum is one of the best teammates he’s ever had and if camp is about team bonding)
“Well I’d like to think that it’s top-to-bottom and that’s important. And it’s important around the league, but especially important here. They have grown closer together, they’re patient but focused. So I’d like to think that they all would talk about each other like that.”

(On how CB E.J. Gaines looks coming off an injury and what he could mean to the secondary going forward)
“Well he’s done fine. He got involved towards the end of the OTAs and was coming on, making progress, worked hard, came back and he hasn’t missed a snap. We’re not giving him the number of reps, for a week or so, that he ordinarily would get, but he gives us the opportunity to have him be in a position to win that job back and compete there. In addition to that, we know that he can come inside and play in the slot, because he proved that his rookie year.”

(On integrating young guys like WR Pharoh Cooper and TE Tyler Higbee into what the team does offensively)

“We just plug them in and go. If you watch practice, they’re lining up with the 1s. That should tell you something – they’re lining up and going. They have a good feel. We’re not going to put them in to fail, but they know what to do, they’re going to get their reps.”

Here’s what the Rams’ head coach had to say after the Rams’ first full-pads, full-team practice of 2016 training camp.

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

(Opening Remarks)
“First, really full day with the team in pads, we had about half the team yesterday working through some special teams drills in shoulder pads. But I thought, overall, today was really good, we got through it healthy and got a lot of work done. As you see, we added another phase, we moved into the red zone today and the offense made a lot of plays, a lot of good throws, a lot of good catches. So, I’m expecting the defense to answer a little bit tomorrow. The offense is probably going to need to strap it up a little bit tomorrow. It was a good day overall.”

(On WR Pharoh Cooper’s status)
“Yeah, we’re holding him out. He’s got a little thing going in his quad. You push through it, it may be two weeks, (but) if you back him off, it might be a couple days. That’s what we’ve got going there, he’ll be fine.”

(On if this was a typical first day in pads)
“Yeah, I thought it was good. Considering what we installed and the types of sessions that we had, I thought it was really good. We had a lot of good work in the special teams period and got a lot of work just throwing the ball into tight areas in the red zone, which is hard. I thought all of the quarterbacks did a nice job today.”

(On QB Jared Goff’s performance today)
“I thought he did well, he made some really good throws, a couple, the balls should have been caught. I thought he was making really good decisions. We had a little bit of noise the last period, so they had to focus in the huddle and I thought he took charge of it. He’s progressing well.”

(On DE Robert Quinn’s performance coming back from injury)
“Yeah, and that was not an easy thing that he went through last year. A lot of hard work during the offseason, step-by-step-by-step to where we are right now. He’s 100 percent, but it doesn’t make sense – when you have a racehorse like that, you have got to watch him. We’re going to watch him, his reps aren’t, probably aren’t up, to where he normally would be, but he’ll get there. It just makes sense just to protect him. He’s going to play in the preseason, do all those things. But he’s special.”

(On if he had to calm the team down before today’s practice like he did prior to Sunday’s practice)
“No, today was just ‘let’s go play.’ You’ve got pads on now, so it’s time to go play. What you saw, which is a little bit different, which we talked about, the defense clearly has an advantage without the pads. It’s hard for the offensive guys to anchor and pass protect and all that. Then all of the sudden, today the pads went on and the quarterback has a little more time, he steps up in the pocket and makes a big throw down the field. It was real football today. (When) we’ve got pads on, it’ll be real football.”

(On what the team installed during today’s practice)
“Well, I’ll give you some specifics. We installed the entire system – offense, defense and pretty much special teams through the offseason program. So we’re reinstalling again. So that’s where we’re at. Everybody, for the most part, has had an opportunity to go out and execute what we installed during the offseason program, so now we’re doing it again – that’s what everybody does. You start over and you just start your installation process over and you go. We’re maybe 20 percent into it right now, which is good. As you’ll see as we get into next week, we’ll do a lot more situational-type things, where we get into the two-minute, the four-minute, the last play – just all those things so there’s recall and comfortability with that.”

(On if he has seen a confidence difference from OTAs to what he’s seeing today)
“Yeah, completely different. Again, I think a lot had to do with the pads, but it’s completely different. It’s a huge step that we took, specifically today. You walk off the field, everybody feels good, the defense is (saying) ‘we gave up too many plays.’ Tomorrow the defense may make the plays and the offense may not, they’re competing. We’re allowing both sides to call what they want and compete. As we get further into it, we’ll back down getting into the situations. It’s just one day at a time.”

(On the rumors of Coach Fisher sleeping on an air mattress)
“I’ve been coaching for 20 years and I don’t go into my own personal stuff. But I’ll confirm that, yeah. Yeah, I’ve got an air mattress at home and a six-pack of Fiji Water.”

(On if any of the young guys stand out to him after seeing the film from yesterday’s special teams practice)
“They’re all getting better. I like the group of receivers, the young group of receivers. (Passing Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers) Coach (Mike) Groh’s doing a really good job with them. I think I said you can change the numbers and it’s true that they’re all tall, can make plays, elevate and make catches. I’d say, right now, it looks like the young group of receivers is going to be good for us. You’re going to get to know them, especially in the preseason games.”

(On if there’s anything in particular that has stood out to him from TE Tyler Higbee and WR Duke Williams)
“I just like what they’re doing right now. Duke came in, knew he had a once in a lifetime opportunity based on some of the things that happened in his history. We gave him that opportunity and he took advantage of it. Went off in the summer and came back, took a lot of weight off and he’s doing well. Tyler, on the other hand, is just getting better every day. He had a setback because of the knee but he pushed through that during the break. He’s making a lot of plays, like he’s played before.”

(On the kind of options DB Lamarcus Joyner gives them as they try to work around the pieces in the secondary)
“He’s getting reps, he’s taking reps outside at corner, he’s in that competition there. And then he’s able to go back inside, where he’s really comfortable and he’s productive for two years. His flexibility helps our defense. If he ends up getting the job done outside, that’s only going to make us better.”

(On if it’s hard to pencil Joyner into a cornerback spot with all of the different looks and formations opposing offenses present)
“Well, nothing’s hard. We have to make the right decisions and make sure he’s getting enough reps. A significant part of our defensive package involves more than four defensive backs – I’m taking (LB) Mark Barron out of that because he’s kind of in that linebacker spot. So it involves more than four, we play with five. He’s going to be on the field most of the time. He’s one of those guys you can trust, he’s very, very serious about his job, and very, very competitive. He’s learned to practice really well, he hit everything his first year here. Anything that was moving, he hit even if he didn’t have pads on. Now he’s learning how to settle down a little bit. The game’s slowing down for him.”

(On if he’s noticing anything going on after the whistle during the first few days of camp since the first few days sometimes are chippy)
“No, it’s clean, we’ve talked about it. There’s occasionally going to be a push and shove, you see it all around the league, it happens, it’s part of camp. We talk about it, there’s no place for it and it certainly can’t carry over to games, you don’t want to create a bad habit. You do want to finish and that’s really important on both sides of the ball and special teams. Finish through the whistle, through the echo of the whistle. That’s probably some of the things that you saw there.”

(On evaluating QB Case Keenum coming into his first year as the starter in camp and how he’s handling it)

“He’s handled it great. He has a great feel for it. Understands the offense, great in the huddle. He does all those little, extra, subtle things that you need to do as a quarterback. He’s had a great offseason. A little setback during OTAs, arm got sore, but he worked out real hard and he’s doing well.”

Here's how UC Irvine transformed into Los Angeles Rams training ground
Movers bring in some of the tackling dummies fro the Rams as the team starts to move into their new temporary home at UCI.

Parking: $10 for a day pass and $140 for a full training camp pass. Attendants will guide you to available parking.

Note: Gates open 90 minutes before each practice. Practices last about two hours. Hundreds of fans will be given tokens to get autographs from players. Players sign autographs in the designated tent immediately following practice. Autographs are for those 14 years old and younger. The bleachers have little shade, so be prepared to be in the sun.

Information: parking.uci.edu/rams or therams.com
IRVINE – The Anteaters may not have a football team of their own, but it sure feels like they do when you walk on campus now.

UC Irvine is gearing up to host the Los Angeles Rams’ first training camp after the NFL team’s return to Southern California.

With no dedicated football stadium, the school has converted its soccer fields into gridirons. The dining staff is tasked with feeding massive athletes who eat three to four times as much food as an average man.

The Rams held training camp at UCI from 1990 to 1992 and in 1994 when they played at Anaheim Stadium. But things are different this time around, said Ron Fleming, the university’s director of transportation and distribution services.

The campus used to be smaller, and only die-hard fans showed up at practices, Fleming said. This year, the Rams are opening their practices to the public for free throughout their stay in August (though parking costs $10).

Anticipation of Southern California residents is skyrocketing for a return of live NFL action.

“Everyone’s excited,” said Edgar Dormitorio, UCI’s chief of staff of student affairs. “I think we are pretty unanimous on that, though we know it’s going to be a lot of work.”

The training camp agreement runs for three years, with a renewal option. The Rams will pay for the expenses of the training camp, and no university or taxpayer funds will be used, UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon said.

The university has been working closely with the Rams since February to make the camp happen, Dormitorio said.

Rams rookies reported to UCI on Tuesday, and the remainder of the team will arrive Friday.

Here’s a look at what UCI has done to prepare for the arrival of 225 players, staff and coaches, most of whom will be living on campus.

ATHLETIC FACILITIES
The fact that UCI doesn’t have a football team hasn’t deterred university officials or the Rams from hosting the camp.

The university leveled the ground and installed 250,000 square feet of new Bermuda turf on Crawford Field, which is normally used by the men’s and women’s soccer teams and youth tournaments.

New bleachers that hold up to about 6,000 fans were also installed around the field, as well as tents for elected officials and the media, Lawhon said.

The university remodeled the men’s locker room at Crawford Hall and turned the women’s locker room into space for sport medicine, said Bob Olson, UCI’s associate athletic director of media relations.

During the Rams’ stay, some UCI sports teams will train at other venues, such as the Bren Events Center and the Anteater Recreation Center.

“Our programs will still have access to most of our athletic sites during the Rams training camp activities,” Olson said.

HOUSING
20-year-old brought back to life after collapsing at concert

Players and coaches will once again get to experience campus life – sort of.

They will stay at one of the on-campus apartment communities that usually house a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students. (The Rams requested the complex not be identified by name.)

None of the 8,000 students who are enrolled in summer courses will be living in the same complex, said Kim Burdett, who oversees the property. The fall quarter at UCI begins in mid-September.

The university didn’t have to make major upgrades to the housing facilities, Burdett said.

All the apartments are 738 square feet and consist of two bedrooms and one bathroom. Two players will share each apartment.

Staff put together two twin beds in each room to accommodate the king-size mattresses the Rams had shipped them, Burdett said. Each apartment is also equipped with a microwave, a refrigerator and WiFi connection.

Third-party cleaners will clean the apartments twice a week.

The complex also features a community center with a game room and snacks.

“Our job is to take care of living arrangements in the best way possible for them so that they can focus on what they need to do here,” Burdett said.

DINING
The Rams will eat their breakfast, lunch and dinner at BC’s Cavern Food Court, which some refer to as “Cavern on the Green,” at Aldrich Park at the center of campus.

The food court, as well as the adjacent Subway restaurant, will be closed to the public during the training camp.

The university’s dining staff worked closely with Rams trainers and nutritionists to remodel the facility and come up with menus that will change every day, said Sean Tedder, the general manager for hospitality and dining at UCI.

NFL players need 8,000 to 10,000 calories per day, compared with 2,500 for an average adult male, Tedder said.

Most days, the food court will serve anything from spaghetti, tacos and burgers to grilled pork chops, oatmeal and sauteed kale.

“We’ll try to mix it up, a lot of variety,” Tedder said.

There will be a waffle station and an action station, where chefs prepare fresh sushi, pizza, pasta or omelets, depending on the day. The salad bar has 27 toppings and six types of dressing.

But what amazed Tedder was the amount of food he has to order. For instance, the food court may prepare about 900 pounds of food for one dinner and serve 125 pounds of whole fruit per day.

“It’s a lot of food for the amount of people,” he said.

The Rams asked the university to replace small tables with round tables that can hold eight people. Each table will have 17 condiments, such as Dijon mustard, sweet relish and Tabasco and sriracha sauces. Newly installed chairs support up to 400 pounds.

In addition to regular meals, food trucks or snacks will be available at the team’s housing complex every night.

Tedder’s staff will also cater to VIP tents at the practice field and run a concession stand for fans.

The training camp has allowed the university to keep more employees during the summer, Tedder said.

PARKING
The university estimates that about 10,000 fans will show up each practice day, Dormitorio said.

But there should be enough parking for everyone as the campus has 12,500 parking spots, said Fleming, who oversees parking at UCI.

“We are lucky in one aspect that it’s summer,” he said.

He recommends fans arrive 90 minutes before the start of a practice, pay for parking online in advance and, if possible, carpool. At least 64 people will be working each day to direct fans to available parking spots.

Fleming said he’s worried about the increase in traffic around the campus. The university is working with the city to synchronize traffic signals to ease any problems, he said.

“For me, the challenge is making customers feel we are invisible so they don’t remember us so much,” he said.

TECHNOLOGY
One of the biggest differences between the Rams’ camp in the 1990s and today is technology, Dormitorio said.

Players and coaches are relying on laptops and tablets more than ever to learn and discuss strategies. In fact, the Rams expressed concerns about whether UCI has the internet capacity to withstand their heavy use, Dormitorio said.

The university assured them the existing infrastructure can accommodate the Rams’ needs because the university has 30,000 students during the regular school year. The Rams will be using classrooms for meetings, Dormitorio said.

With so much hype also comes a swarm of media.

About 35 media organizations will be stationed in Irvine during the training camp, Lawhon said. They include a crew for “Hard Knocks,” HBO’s documentary series that follows an NFL team’s preparation for the upcoming season. The new season, featuring the Rams, premieres Aug. 9.


No specifics were released, but in the comments of that tweet, Myles says that  Havenstein "didn't do much during OTAs either...was mainly on the bike" and that he "could be back in under a week." Those are both positives, but he seems to be careful not to give out too much information (which is his job mind you).

It's possible that Havenstein just suffered a minor injury during the offseason, but the lack of detail on the situation is unsettling. Big Rob had an outstanding rookie season and the Rams are counting on him to protect new Franchise QB Jared Goff.


Here's hoping it is something that won't have lasting consequences on the Rams 2016 season.

Former Rams QB Nick Foles signs contract with Chiefs. The Kansas City Chiefs have found some insurance at the quarterback position.

The Chiefs have signed former Rams quarterback Nick Foles, the team announced Friday. The Cowboys and the Vikings had also extended offers to the former Los Angeles Rams quarterback, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

Foles will practice with the team Friday.

Rapoport added Foles will receive $1.75 million this year, not including incentives, according to a source involved with the deal. The Chiefs have an option for 2017 and his salary -- from $6.75 million to $16 million -- is based on his 2016 performance.

It comes as no surprise that Chiefs coach Andy Reid was open to a reunion with a quarterback he selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. In fact, Garafolo reported in February of 2013 that Reid was interested in bringing Foles along to Kansas City if Philadelphia were open to a trade.

Reid viewed Foles as a future starter at the time and has long been a believer in his talent.

The Chiefs do have a pair of promising young arms in Tyler Bray and 2014 fifth-round pick Aaron Murray. When Chase Daniel followed offensive coordinator Doug Pederson to the Eagles, though, Reid was left without an experienced option behind starter Alex Smith. Neither Bray nor Murray has ever thrown a pass in an NFL regular-season contest.
A satirical look at more than 75 years of Football's Rams history, combined with discussions of American Exceptionalism and almost 50 years of personal experience in the life of a Rams Fan. The history parallels and intertwines life to form a humorous, yet serious look at American HistoryWorld History, an American Footballteam, and Political Science.