Friday, August 26, 2016

Los Angeles Rams Weekly

Week 3 Spotlight Players include Jarad Goff: Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams - at Denver Broncos, Saturday, 9 p.m. ET - Click here to read the full evaluation.

Turnovers in both preseason games. Issues with the complicated verbiage of an NFL playbook. Not knowing where the sun rises and sets through me for a loop considering he went to Cal Berkeley for god sakes.

But then again, another player (William Hayes) on the team insists there were never any dinosaurs in world history and that there are indeed mermaids in the oceans off the coast of California.

Los Angeles Rams' mermaid truther gets a surprise at camp. Rams lineman William Hayes believes dinosaurs are a hoax, though.
It appears that the NFL or HBO or maybe someone from Disneyland decided to send a woman dressed as a mermaid to Rams camp on Monday to play to the imagination of Rams defensive lineman William Hayes.

Or maybe we're all wrong and this mermaid finally vindicates Hayes, who believes mermaids are totally real but dinosaurs are an archaeologist-perpetuated myth.
Here's Rams head coach Jeff Fisher discussing Hayes' beliefs on "Hard Knocks."

“Will Hayes absolutely believes and is totally convinced, that there are mermaids and they do exist." 
“Will Hayes absolutely believes and is totally convinced that there are mermaids and they do exist, OK," Fisher says. "As a matter of fact, I remember him getting really excited about the potential for moving out here because he knew he would be closer to mermaids here on the West Coast.”

Previously Hayes said of mermaids: "I believe there is more of a chance you will find a mermaid than you will a dinosaur because we find different species in the water all the time."

Well, it's important to believe in something. We'll finish here:are a hoax but ...
Cornerback E.J. Gaines pushes to join Los Angeles Rams' starting lineup.
 Gaines waited more than a year to get back onto the field in a game situation.

The Rams cornerback finally did that in last week’s exhibition against the Kansas City Chiefs and now he’s ready to make a push to become a starter opposite Trumaine Johnson.

Gaines is expected to play a large role and perhaps start Saturday night at Denver when the Rams play the Broncos, last season’s Super Bowl champions.

If he is physically sound, Gaines could fortify a secondary that has been among the Rams’ main concerns since the end of last season.

HAL for Medical use is not just an exoskeleton that provides temporary mobility to patients with lower limb disabilities - it has potential to reteach their bodies to walk so they can move on their own

Gaines would fill the spot left vacant by the departure of Janoris Jenkins, who signed a free-agent contract with the New York Giants.

The secondary struggled at times in the first two exhibitions. The Rams have given up three touchdown passes and have no interceptions.

Gaines was asked Monday how much better he thought the unit could perform.

“A million times better than we’ve shown in the preseason so far,” he said. “Coming out and starting fast is something we have to start doing and what we’re preaching in the secondary room.”

Gaines started 15 games as a rookie in 2014 but was sidelined all of last season because of a foot injury suffered during training camp. He sat out the Rams’ first exhibition against the Dallas Cowboys because of a hamstring issue.

He made four tackles against the Chiefs.

“I was just excited to get out there and compete,” he said.

Now he is ready to challenge Lamarcus Joyner and Coty Sensabaugh for a starting role in a defense that will probably utilize all three.

Gaines said he felt a bit rusty against the Chiefs — “the small things, the little fundamental things, techniques and stuff,” he said — but he has about three weeks to sharpen his skills before the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

“Getting the speed of the game,” he said. “You can’t really simulate that out here on the practice field but getting out there in the preseason will do me good.”

There also are several issues the secondary can address collectively, Gaines said.

“Just making more plays,” he said. “Getting our hands on more footballs and causing more turnovers.”

Impending cuts
The roster will be trimmed from 90 to 75 players after the third exhibition, making this week a final chance to impress for many players.

Coach Jeff Fisher said some might get the opportunity to become practice squad players and some might get opportunities with other teams.

“And then some of them,” he said, “will come to the realization that their childhood goal is over and I need to go on with my life.”

There is no special message required this week, he said.

“If they don’t realize there’s a cut down after the third preseason game, they’re probably not smart enough to play and help us play,” Fisher said. “We just want to try to give everybody an opportunity to play.”

NFL teams will trim rosters from 75 to 53 players after the final exhibition.

Kick start
Fisher said during the off-season that he wanted to create a competitive environment for kicker Greg Zuerlein, who made only 20 of 30 field-goal attempts last season.

The Rams brought in Taylor Bertolet, who played at Texas A&M.

Zuerlein has yet to attempt a field goal in an exhibition, but he has made all of his extra-point attempts. This is the second season that NFL extra points will be kicked from the 15-yard line, making it a 33-yard attempt.

“Hopefully, he’ll get some opportunities,” Fisher said, referring to the final two exhibitions. “He’s making his extra points, which a couple years ago was no big deal. Now it’s a big deal because it’s a distance involved in the kick.

“He’s kicking well out here. And Taylor can kick in the league too. Taylor has got a good leg, and very accurate.”

Quick hits
Tight end Tyler Higbee and linebacker Mark Barron returned to practice after sitting out against the Chiefs…. Hall of Fame receiver Andre Reed attended practice and addressed receivers early in the workout…. The Rams practice Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Defensive backs will sign autographs. This is the final week of open practices.

Hard Knocks recap, No. 3: New stage for familiar faces. Tuesday's episode of Hard Knocks serves as something of a public re-introduction of two of the most famous -- and, at times, infamous -- coaches in recent NFL history.

The first is Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, whose career was leveled after being fingered as a central figure in the Saints' Bountygate scandal in 2012. Williams' subsequent suspension lasted longer (from March 2012 to Aug. 2013) than anyone else attached to the scandal.

That Williams survived Bountygate at all is a credit to his ability to coach up a defense. You don't bring a guy with that type of baggage into your building unless he's worth it, and first the Titans, then the Rams, decided he was.

This curious tale of resilience doesn't come with a warm and fuzzy character in the lead. In scene after scene, Williams comes off as the real-life version of every mean SOB coach you ever saw in a football movie. Jon Voight should cough up some Varsity Blues back-end points out of respect.

So yes, Williams is about as far from a player's coach as one can get. This is on shining display during a verbal tongue-lashing of his defense that could also be seen as Williams' takedown of an entire generation of young Americans. Cover your eyes, millennials!

"All the colleges in the country and all your moms and dads, nobody's supposed to holler at you guys anymore," Williams says. "People that have enabled you your whole life, they're disabling you for your future."

Later in the episode, Williams lights up rookie linebacker Brandon Chubb for not making eye contact while Williams calls a play into his helmet transmitter.

"When I call your f------ name, you better acknowledge that I'm f------- talking to you!"

Williams' tough-love coaching style must sit just fine with Mike Singletary. The Hall of Fame linebacker is as old school as they come, even if his head-coaching tenure in San Francisco is remembered more for a blustery podium rant and a pants-dropping incident than anything that happened on the field.

Singletary fell off the league radar for the past two years but has now found a home on Jeff Fisher's staff as a defensive assistant. Hard Knocks cameras capture Singletary as a still-imposing figure who commands respect and loudly announces "Don't f--- with me" without having to say a word.

When wide receiver and team chatterbox Tavon Austin attempts to do just that during a practice, Austin is swiftly warned by another coach, "Don't f--- with Coach Singletary."

Last week I pondered if Fisher's laid-back coaching style could be problematic for the Rams. After seeing his key lieutenants in their element, it's obvious Fisher simply opts to be on the friendly side of the good cop/bad cop spectrum.

Odds & Ends
» With just two episodes to go, I think it's fair to say the 11th season of Hard Knocks has character development issues. We are lacking the type of compelling personalities -- both at the top and bottom of the roster -- that make a season memorable. Not much you can do about that short of airlifting Vince Wilfork and Bryan Cox in for the final weeks of camp.

» The episode starts on a heavy note, as rookie wide receiver Paul McRoberts meets with Fisher the day after the murder of McRoberts' stepbrother. "My teammates and my coaches let me know it's OK to cry," McRoberts says.

» Think the Rams plan to lean hard on Todd Gurley this season? Here's Fisher to his staff: "Just so everybody understands, defensively, that 30 doesn't need to f------ be hit in a 9-on-7 (drill). OK? I don't want 30 tackled. We need 30. ... We need to treat him like a frickin' quarterback."

» Where the hell is Les Snead? We've had virtually no access to the Rams' camera-ready general manager. Very odd.

» Big night for Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia, who makes a cameo on Hard Knocks on the same night he pitches a gem in Seattle. Other sideline guest stars include Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and NFL Media's own Maurice Jones-Drew.

» In the season finale of All or Nothing, we watched Cardinals running backs coach Stump Mitchell tell David Johnson that he had the potential to be one of the best ever. Singletary has a similar message for Rams middle linebacker Alec Ogletree -- with a caveat. Ogletree needs to work harder. "You can be one of the best to ever play the game," Singletary says in a private moment. "You have in you in this body and the ability to be an off-the-charts player. But you're not using it, and it pisses me off."

» Rams coaches are not happy when defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks is cut down on an illegal chop block by Chiefs tackle Jah Reid. But nobody is more angry than -- you guessed it -- lovably insane defensive line coach Mike Waufle. "You suck 75," Waufle bellows. "What the f--- is that 75, you ... f----- asshole. Shouldn't even be in the league!"

» Overheard in the WAG section at L.A. Coliseum: "Does two series mean two plays?"

» Only on football teams can colleagues openly talk about who's the ugliest person in the group. Imagine if this stuff went on at your office? The line of the night goes to William "Dino-Truther" Hayes on poor, undeserving Temarrick Hemingway.

"Hemingway looks like he was birthed out of a--holes."

Los Angeles Rams 21, Kansas City Chiefs 20: Preseason Game 2 Recap

Los Angeles Rams rookie QB Jared Goff threw his first NFL touchdown. Other stuff happened too!

The Los Angeles Rams moved to 2-0 in the 2016 preseason by beating the Kansas City Chiefs 21-20 tonight.

That’s the least important aspect of the entire affair.

The foremost aspect of importance was the performance of Rams rookie QB Jared Goff, a performance that in a word could be described as being...something. You had the early fumble. You had some misplaced throws. Heck, even the touchdown throw wasn’t on the money, requiring a pretty amazing one-hand bobblejob by RB Malcolm Brown.

Goff’s final line of 8/12, 82 yards and a touchdown isn’t overwhelming given that he played nearly three full quarters and was able to close out the game in favor of Sean “The Earth Human” Mannion who excelled against the Cowboys’ depth a week ago.

Ultimately, it’s just experience. Clearly, Goff needs it with the regular season opener just more than three weeks away. But the bottom line is that Goff isn’t blowing the lid off the Coliseum. Perhaps that’s the disappointment in itself.

Otherwise, there were various ups and downs on both sides of the ball.

Brian Quick struggled yet again. I find it somewhat unbelievable I’m still writing that sentence in August of 2016.

Malcolm Brown is making the case for regular season playing time. Obviously with Todd Gurley as your RB1, there’s not a ton to be had. Tre Mason had 75 carries in 2015, 59 of those coming after JTG took over the starting gig. Certainly Brown could take up a portion of those in 2016 if his preseason performances continue to meet the mark.

Less inspiring, the Rams’ first- and second-string defenses yet again looked vulnerable. Chiefs QB Alex Smith was 9/12 for 137 yards and a touchdown, helping the Chiefs out to 20 first half points. This a week after the Dak Prescott show...

Yes, it’s still preseason, and there’s no legitimacy to freaking out over one or two games. It is, though, a legitimate concern at this point when CBs Trumaine Johnson and Coty Sensabaugh are getting beaten.

So it is. Two games in the books. Two games to go until it matters.

The Rams have plenty to work on. It shows.

Jeff Fisher On Who Needs to Step Up in Preseason Week 3, Cuts to 75

Jeff Fisher – Post Training Camp Practice:

(Opening remarks)
"We had a good day. What happens often times is this is actually the last day where we’re going to be able to legitimately compete, offense and defense, with pads on. Particularly because this week, the week is short now. We’re traveling, coming back, we have a short week, then you are doing scout team work. We had some things we want to accomplish, and got the first period. The first drill was really good. And then we got into the second period, they got a little testy so we gave them a timeout. Go sit in the corner, go to your room, take a little time out. So we cooled off and we got a lot done. You don’t like to see this happen. I’m not concerned about this carrying over to the games. It was a good learning experience for us, they’re competing, 1s against 1s, we had some good work. At this point, we move on. Start to game plan, start focusing for the Broncos. Play time is going to be a little bit more than what it was last week. Some guys have played a lot more, some guys have played a little more. But we want to get, not necessarily going to go through halftime experience with them or anything like that. So, you can probably expect to see the starters play about a half, or something like that. We healed up. We got a couple guys back. ‘Grigs’ (LB Nicholas Grigsby) came back, Battle (T Isaiah Battle) came back, which is good. Overall health, the team is in good shape going into week three.

(On if he was surprised RB Todd Gurley was at the bottom of that pile, especially since he said no one was allowed to tackle him)
"It was his choice. We all need to be smarter than that. But, that was his choice. It shows you what kind of competitor he is."

(On an update of T Rob Havenstein)
"He’s still on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform), it counts against the roster. He’s making progress. We’re going to take him with us, going to give him a good workout, good pregame workout, things like that. We’ll see how he is; we’ll see how he does next week. That’s all I can say right now."

(On something he feels he needs to work on, or get more comfortable with going into the Denver game)
"Offensively, I want to find a way to keep running the football. And this defense is really good.Earlier, I watched them play the 49ers, and (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Philips) does such a great job with fundamentals, and technique against the run. It’ll be a good test for our early group in there. I’d like to see the defense get off the field...(inaudible)."

(On which wide receiver needs to step up during this third preseason game)
"We know what Kenny (Britt) can do, and Tavon (Austin), and obviously we’ve seen what ‘Coop’ (Pharoh Cooper) can do as well. It’s the guys that have been dropping the footballs. It’s the Brian Quick’s and some of the younger guys. We’ve got to be more consistent catching the football."

(On whether this is a make-or-break game for those receivers)
"Not necessarily. We’re looking at, now, through our eyes, it’s let’s get to 75, then to 53. But then I got to get to 46, kickoff, so which guys are going to be on the field playing for you that you trust them to make plays."

(On WR Duke Williams)
"Duke hasn’t missed a day, he’s making a lot of plays. He really showed us some things on special teams last week, for his first time."

(On TE Tyler Higbee’s blocking and receiving capabilities)
"At this stage, early in his career, he’s doing those things. He’s dropping his hips, he’s learning how to block, learning the techniques. It’s not easy at this level. Especially when you reach an outside linebacker, you got a one-on-one that you’ve got to win against a defensive end. But, he’s hanging in there right now. It’s just a matter of him playing. He missed last week. We expect him to play this week. He’s shown what he can do in the passing game. It’s just become a little more efficient and effective in the run game."

(On if the cut to a 75-man roster is easier or more difficult than the cut to the 53-man)
"Any time you release a player, or a number of players, it’s not easy. But that’s our business. One would think common sense says, it’s easier to get this roster to 75 than it is to 53. But still, you got guys who you want to try to still evaluate in the fourth game. Sometimes that’s impossible to do."

(On if there is a fine line between fighting in practice, and showing tenacity and competitiveness)

"We talked about it. There’s no place for it. But, as I said it earlier, this was the last day we’re going to compete in pads against each other. Both sides had something to prove. We got them settled down.

Los Angeles Rams Training Camp: Practice Recap

Just yesterday, we saw Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher get upset with his defense for taking RB Todd Gurley to the ground in 9-on-7 drills. Today, Gurley did his part by getting involved in one of many scrums during practice.


S Mark Barron was limited today and Havenstein did individual work. WR Bradley Marquez and Spruce remain hobbled but nothing serious. RB Aaron Green should be back for the game on Sunday on the road to face the Denver Broncos.


Lots of info in this video. Jared Goff reportedly had one of his best practices.


So much JTG grit. But Todd, you are the team’s hopes and dreams this year. Save it for the bad guys. As noted in the video above, another bad day for WR Brian Quick, and another pedestrian practice from the WRs.


Personally, I like Ogletree getting rough in practice. The first team defense has had its struggles the first two weeks and seems anxious to put forth a solid effort in Denver.

Another 48-hour setup period to preseason football...
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.