Saturday, August 2, 2008
Observations from the Rams' scrimmage
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
MEQUON, Wis. -- The Rams made it through their scrimmage without serious injuries, coach Scott Linehan said, although linebacker Quinton Culberson "tweaked" an ankle. Culberson is competing with injured veteran Chris Draft to be the starting strong-side linebacker. The injury did not appear serious at all. I just saw Culberson walking without a limp near the locker room. With that, we visit the notebook:
- New kicker Josh Brown was perfect on five field-goal tries, hitting from 26, 38, 41, 48 and 53 yards. Fellow kicker Justin Medlock, who hopes to catch on elsewhere, hit from 25, 38, 41 and 53 yards. His 48-yard try bounced off the right upright and missed. Brown sent his kickoffs to the 7-yard-line and 1 yard deep in the end zone. Medlock's kickoffs went to the 8-yard-line and 1 yard deep. Brown wore an ice pack on his right hip after kicking, but said he was fine.
- Running back Brian Leonard welcomed rookie linebacker David Vobora to life on special teams, slamming him during a kick return.
- Orlando Pace appears to be in the best shape of his career from a conditioning standpoint, but he is still rounding into game form. Pace is at 320 pounds. He won most of his matchups with rookie Chris Long, but Long did beat him with an inside pass-rush move that would have resulted in a sack. Pace appeared out of sorts on the play. He might have moved early, and Long beat him with a quick first step and a dip of his outside shoulder as he ducked underneath and into the clear.
- Linehan appeared to chastise defensive coordinator Jim Haslett for riding the officials, but Haslett said it was all in good fun. Haslett was barking at official Steve Freeman. The two have quite a history. They played together in Buffalo for a decade and remain good friends. Freeman was telling stories about Haslett to the players.
- Running back Antonio Pittman couldn't control a short pass in the right flat against pressure. The pass from Marc Bulger was moving quickly, but this was a play Bulger clearly wanted to hit. Pittman bobbled another pass, allowing Tye Hill to hit him and break it up.
- Rookie linebacker Marc Magro broke up a deep pass over the middle from Bruce Gradkowski to tight end Nick Cleaver. Magro also dominated as a pass rusher against newly signed tackle Julius Wilson, formerly of the Dolphins. Wilson struggled. Defensive end Eric Moore beat him for what would have been a sack on Brock Berlin. Magro tossed Wilson to the outside and surged forward for what would have been a free shot on Berlin. Shortly thereafter, running back Lance Ball was gliding along for what should have been an easy touchdown, but a linebacker slammed him to the ground in front of Wilson as Ball crossed the goal line.
- Defensive end C.J. Ah You beat fullback Richard Owens in pass protection. Linebacker Chris Chamberlain flattened Ball, a rookie from Maryland. Tackling was prohibited when starters were on the field, but the backups beat up on each other.
- Drew Bennett got open and made catches without much trouble. The Rams have problems at safety, particularly with O.J. Atogwe resting an injury.
The Rams drew an estimated 2,000 fans to Concordia University for the scrimmage. I'll have more on the Rams as we continue to analyze rosters. Look for a "Camp Confidential" report in the coming week.
- The Rams used multiple combinations on the offensive line, making it tough to distinguish between second- and third-teamers. Brett Romberg worked at center with the starters.