Ram mini camp: Day 2
By Rams Nation's Howard Balzer
Day 2 of the St. Louis Rams minicamp is in the books, and this appears
to be a team on a mission.
"We're getting better every day and the intensity and focus is terrific,"
coach Mike Martz said after the morning session. "We're still a ways away
from being where we want to be, but I'm very pleased." Read it all, only
in the Gridiron Gateway.
There was more solid work in the afternoon, on a day in which there was the
feel of training camp, not only in work ethic, but also in the climate. Temperatures
soared near 90 degrees, and the humidity was strong.
Some thoughts and observations:
QB Chris Chandler looks like a quarterback that could fall
out of bed and look good throwing the ball. Chandler was accurate on all throws,
especially deep balls, where Marc Bulger continues to struggle.
Martz expressed little concern about Bulger often overthrowing receivers on
"It's just a matter of practicing it and spending time doing it,"
Martz said. "You can't just step in and throw them. You have to practice
it. We practiced it a lot more today and I believe he will get better at it."
Martz admitted he was surprised at how quickly Chandler has taken to the offense
and developed timing with his receivers.
DT Ryan Pickett missed the morning practice to be with his
wife Jennifer, who is pregnant with the couple's first child. It appeared she
was about to give birth, but it turned out to be the third or fourth false alarm
and Pickett was back on the field for the afternoon practice.
It's possible labor might be induced Sunday.
Pickett is sporting a new beard and some more heft, similar to defensive tackle
Jimmy Kennedy. But both moved around well, and the Rams this year will be comfortable
with both players being heavier as long as they are in shape.
Said Martz, "We will let them be a little heavier provided they are in
good cardiovascular shape and are in good condition. Once they start looking
sluggish, then they'll have to lose some weight."
Both players showed quickness and strength.
Kennedy said coaches wanted him at 305 last year, and he lost strength when
reducing his weight from the 335-pound level he was at in the spring.
Said Kennedy, "This year, they told they don't care if I'm 350 as long
as I can go out there and play. I won't be that heavy, but this way you can
concentrate on working instead of losing weight."
Kennedy said he's at 339 now, and expects to play at 320-325.
Martz said Kennedy is well ahead of where he was last year in terms of "knowing
what he's supposed to do. Those (defensive) tackles, it takes a little time.
But he's made tremendous strides from a physical standpoint. He's got a long
way to go, but he has a good grasp of what we're trying to do."
DE Anthony Hargrove continued displaying his freakish ability
until incurring the wrath of line coach Bill Kollar late in the afternoon practice.
On a pass play downfield, Hargrove didn't turn and run to the ball, prompting
Kollar to order Hargrove off the field.
"Get the hell out of there," Kollar said. "Give me another defensive
end. If you're not going to run after the ball, get out."
During his time watching, veterans Tyoka Jackson and Sean Moran came over and
talked to Hargrove. Several plays later, Kollar yelled, "Hargrove, your
ass is in the next play and it better be full (frickin') speed every play."
It was. For the final four plays of the day, Hargrove ran down the field full
speed after rushing the passer, and never let up.
For the record, Hargrove had officially been "Kollarized."
A significant amount of time has been spent on special teams throughout
the four practices, as coach Mike Stock has introduced new drills and more players
CB Jeramatrius Butler, who missed Friday afternoon's practice
after tweaking his groin in the morning, worked at both Saturday practices.
Players that flashed:
LB Jeremy Loyd (knows what he's doing and is faster than thought).
LB Tony Newson (linebackers coach Joe Vitt knows him from Kansas City, and Newson
shows some ability).
DE Erik Flowers (has added some upper body strength and is very quick off the
CB Kevin Garrett (is playing with a lot of confidence).
TE Brandon Manumaleuna (is playing more physical).
Day 2 of the St Louis Rams minicamp is in the books, and this appears to be a team on a mission.
"We're getting better every day and the intensity and focus is terrific," coach Mike Martz said after the morning session. "We're still a ways away from being where we want to be, but I'm very pleased."
Read it all, only in the Gridiron Gateway.