NFL Nation: Justin Cole

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Thoughts and observations after watching the St. Louis Rams' first training camp practice under new coach Jeff Fisher on Sunday at team headquarters:
  • Backfield shines: Quarterback Sam Bradford and running back Steven Jackson stood out right away. Bradford appears so much healthier than he was last season. He threw with accuracy and authority. Jackson's size always impresses, but his quickness was also apparent Sunday (Jackson says he's at 5.1 percent body fat, by the way). Jackson legged out runs to the end zone, hustling on every play. He's setting an example for the team's younger players (the Rams have the NFL's youngest roster on average following an offseason overhaul).
  • Secondary watch: It's far too early to make roster determinations based on a few reps here or there on the first day. I did notice Craig Dahl working with the No. 1 defense. Darian Stewart was the starter last season. Rookie second-round choice Janoris Jenkins worked with the starting defense opposite Cortland Finnegan, with rookie Trumaine Johnson next onto the field among corners. Finnegan might project as the best option in the slot, at least for now.
  • Line shuffle: Quinn Ojinnaka got the first-team work at left guard. Robert Turner was at center while Scott Wells continues to rehab from knee surgery.
  • Early feel at receiver: The team ran through several combinations at wide receiver. Second-round pick Brian Quick wasn't working with the starters initially. Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson got first-team work, as did Steve Smith and Greg Salas. Gibson made a few impressive catches. He's fared well in camp and the preseason previously, but it hasn't translated well to the regular season. Amendola is the safest bet to earn consistent playing time. The other receivers have more to prove. Hamstring trouble will sideline Danario Alexander for the time being. Alexander has fought hard to overcome injuries stemming from chronic knee trouble. It might be a losing battle.
  • Amendola's elbow: Amendola appears full strength after recovering from a dislocated left elbow and torn triceps. On one play, he reached back with his left arm toward a pass and landed a bit awkwardly, with no ramifications. That seemed like a clear indication Amendola feels comfortable playing without restriction.
  • Don't do that: That was second-year linebacker Justin Cole making contact with Jackson around the knees.
  • Little-known player to watch: Defensive end Eugene Sims figures to get more playing time in a reconfigured rotation. I'll be interested in watching him once the Rams put on full pads Wednesday.
  • The Long precedent: The Rams' four-year extension with Chris Long marks one of the very few times the team has re-signed one of its draft choices in recent seasons. Ron Bartell got a new deal previously. Oshiomogho Atogwe signed one, but it was a stopgap deal, not a legitimate extension. Other than that, the Rams have waved goodbye to a long list of draft choices. The trend is changing. Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, a second-round pick in 2009, figures to have a new deal in the near future. Fisher and staff say they place high value on middle linebackers. They love Laurinaitis.

These were a few first impressions. I'll be at Rams camp much of the week. There was enough left over from Sunday to produce additional items beginning Monday. Interviews with Chris Long, Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Jeff Fisher and others are helping provide a better feel for the team.

MNF inactives: Rams without Fred Robbins

December, 12, 2011
SEATTLE -- The St. Louis Rams' inactive list could favor the Seattle Seahawks' run defense.

The Rams will be without veteran defensive tackle Fred Robbins, who was questionable on the injury report and did not practice during the week. Robbins' absence means more playing time for Darell Scott and Gary Gibson.

Also inactive for the Rams: quarterback A.J. Feeley, quarterback Tom Brandstater, running back Quinn Porter, fullback Brit Miller, linebacker Justin Cole and guard Kevin Hughes. Kellen Clemens will serve as the backup quarterback to Sam Bradford.

For Seattle, linebacker David Hawthorne is active. The Seahawks' inactive list features quarterback Josh Portis, safety Jeron Johnson, cornerback Kennard Cox, linebacker Adrian Moten, guard Mike Gibson, guard Paul Fanaika and defensive tackle Pep Levingston.

Chiefs announce practice squad

September, 4, 2011
The Kansas City Chiefs have just announced their eight-player practice squad. Highlighting the list is seventh-round pick Shane Bannon (fullback), linebacker Justin Cole, defensive back Quinten Lawrence, receiver Jeremy Horne and massive offensive lineman David Mims. Below is the complete list:

Shane Bannon, FB

Justin Cole, LB

Darryl Harris, G

Jeremy Horne, WR

Quinten Lawrence, DB

Butch Lewis, OL

David Mims, OL

Anthony Toribio, DT
SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs will play Sunday without a couple of their top offensive threats.

Seattle receiver Mike Williams and Kansas City receiver Dexter McCluster worked out at Qwest Field, but their teams named them inactive. Williams has been Matt Hasselbeck's go-to target for most of the season. Seattle's offense changes quite a bit without him.

Ben Obomanu, Brandon Stokley, Deon Butler, Golden Tate and Ruvell Martin are active at receiver for Seattle. Obomanu and Stokley played particularly well against New Orleans last week. Tate played well against Oakland before suffering an ankle injury. This is his first game back.

Butler will start in Williams' place, the Seahawks said.

McCluster has missed the Chiefs' last four games.

Also inactive for Seattle: fullback Michael Robinson, guard Chester Pitts, defensive end Clifton Geathers, tackle Will Robinson, nose tackle Colin Cole and defensive tackle Amon Gordon. J.P. Losman is the third quarterback.

Also inactive for Kansas City: cornerback Brandon Flowers, safety Donald Washington, running back Tim Castille, safety Jon McGraw, linebacker Charlie Anderson, linebacker Justin Cole and defensive tackle Anthony Toribio.



Thursday, 11/20
Sunday, 11/23
Monday, 11/24