Saturday, August 8, 2009

St. Louis Rams Scrimmage Notes

It was a beautiful night for the St. Louis Rams scrimmage at Lindenwood University. As we turned into the campus we were a little shocked at the amount of cars in the parking lots. As you get closer you get a overlooking view of Harlen C Hunter Stadium which sits down below street level. The Stadium holds about 6000 and the estimated attendance was 7000, which
included many people standing up around the fence and many more up on the grassy hill between the field and seats.

After the team warm-up all of the players gathered at the south side of the field near midfield. The Rams offensive players would wear white and the defense was in blue. The four QB's on the roster Bulger, Boller, Berlin, and Null all wore red jerseys, as in "do not touch". The scrimmage was played at about 3/4 speed, and a lot of plays ended without an actual tackle.

The scrimmage started with the Rams first team offense against the second team defense. The offense gets to keep moving down the field if they get first downs, if not they move the ball to a new location at start over. On the second drive Marc Bulger was picked off by Quincy Butler. Marc was picked off again later in the scrimmage and also had another near pic. The scrimmage also included a set of referees. Alex Barron was called for a false start early which
caused the crowd to kind of throw out a laugh or two.

The Second Team offense then came out to try their luck against the Rams first string defense. Jason Smith was the right tackle with the second unit while Adam Goldberg was the right tackle on the first unit. Smith got some action in against Leonard Little during the scrimmage which was nice to see. I have yet to see anyone move Smith around. He seems like the real deal. Kyle Boller looked good in the amount of time he had on the field.

The rest of the evening was spent with the Rams changing offensive and defensive lineups. The defense dominated most of the night. Since Spagnuolo is a defensive coach it is nice that the D looked sharp. After several attempts to score the Rams then went to situational drills. They practice different 2nd, 3rd, and 4th down plays. The Rams also practice from the goal line and red zone areas.
Once the scrimmage concluded the players signed autographs for about 15 minutes. The offensive players went to the North side of the field and the defense went to the South side. Players were very nice as they signed, took pictures and talked to that fans. Most would also thank you for coming out to watch them. Overall the Rams put on a very nice night for the fans and I applaud and thank them.

St. Louis sports media coverage is always interesting. Frank Cusumano on News Channel 5 said "Bulger got off to a rocky start but he threw letter perfect lasers most of the night, I mean he looked like the Marc Bulger of three years ago". Really Frank? Marc was picked twice and anyone who has ever seen Marc in practice knows he is outstanding and accurate in that situation. Can he get back to playing this way when there are 11 men actually trying to kill
him on the field? Martin Kilcoyne on Fox 2 was much more accurate in his description of the scrimmage, and also says that Marc had two picks. Interesting that neither channel said anything about the play of Jason Smith the Rams first round draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

My overall thoughts on the scrimmage were, I was very impressed with the pace and organization of the scrimmage. Brock Berlin did not help his chances. With Spagnuolo drafting Keith Null it will be hard for Berlin to stick. He did not look good on this night. Jason Smith and James Laurinaitis both looked good. We have a ton of offensive lineman and I am looking forward to watching the starting unit progress. Adam Carriker and safety Eric Bassey left the field on crutches. We will try to find out more on their injuries.

Remember Fox 2 will broadcast the Rams preseason opener August 14 at the New York Jets.

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