Teams putting on the pads (all of them)


SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The St. Louis Rams are putting on the pads for their Saturday scrimmage in the Edward Jones Dome. This will be the second time during training camp the Rams have worn not only shoulder pads but also the hip, knee, thigh and tail pads mandated for games under a new NFL rule, a change coach Jeff Fisher called no big deal.

"We've had them on once and it was no big deal with anybody," Fisher said, "so we'll have them on [Saturday] and then we'll have them on the third time for the real deal -- the preseason game."

While putting on pads would seem like a logical move in a contact sport, some players are rolling their eyes. San Francisco 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin is one of them. I caught up with him at training camp recently and he said he's never worn leg pads in 10 NFL seasons.

"If guys want to wear pads, fine, but I don’t think it should be mandatory," Boldin said. "I think the NFL is doing it just to cover their butts. It is what it is."

An officiating crew led by umpire Garth DeFelice has been monitoring the 49ers' practices and providing tips on rules. However, game officials won't be the ones inspecting uniforms. They won't say anything if they see a player without pads. Instead, a league-hired inspector assigned to each stadium will monitor players and report violations to the officiating crew.

"Let's say the Rams come here to play," DeFelice said. "[The inspector] is going to look and say, 'No. 27 doesn't have knee pads. Make him put them in.' So, we're going to go to 27 and say, 'Get out, you have no knee pads.' That's all we're going to do."

If the player returns to the game without pads and the inspector informs officials of the violation, the crew will assess a 5-yard penalty. Another violation in the same game would lead to a player ejection.

Note: I'll be traveling home Saturday, processing interviews and working on the "Camp Confidential" file for the 49ers, currently set for Sunday. Have a great day.