ST. LOUIS — As the St. Louis Rams broke from their pre-practice stretching Thursday afternoon, the fans at Rams Park let out with a loud cheer.
And, so training camp officially opened for the Rams.
"It just gives a little extra juice when you're out here and you have the crowd cheering,'' Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "Sometimes they cheer when it is a 3-yard completion, but that's to be expected sometimes with our sweet past.
"It's an exciting time right now, and I think the fans feel it, the team feels it, the community feels it. It feels great to be a part of something like that.''
Last year's 7-8-1 record in coach Jeff Fisher's first season at the helm has buoyed hopes among Rams fans as evidenced by the 1,755 of them that turned out for the first full-squad practice of training camp.
"It was great,'' Fisher said. "I looked out the window about an hour and a half before practice and they were already starting to come out. It was good to see them. Hopefully, that will remain the same over the next few days.''
With other NFL teams having already opened training camp, Laurinaitis said he's been anxiously waiting this week for the Rams' first practice.
"You are watching SportsCenter all day, and some of these teams have already started and see the crowds there and you are wondering what our crowd is going to be like,'' Laurinaitis said. "It was great. It's good to see them out here.''
'Better off cutting him loose'
Commenting for the first time on the release of offensive guard Rokevious Watkins for reporting to training camp overweight, Fisher said, "We had reporting requirements, as everybody does, and he didn't meet them. He had difficulty last year with them, he had difficulty this year with them, so we just felt it was better off cutting him loose.''
Watkins, a fifth-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, was held out of practice for about a week last year after reporting to training camp out of shape.
"Until he can get that stuff figured out and make a commitment, we are just better off without him,'' Fisher said. "It wouldn't surprise me if he gets another opportunity because he has some ability.''
Former Rams star Torry Holt will join his old teammate Marshall Faulk and sportscaster Andrew Siciliano in the broadcast booth for the team's preseason games.
KTVI Channel 2 sports anchor Martin Kilcoyne will serve as the sideline reporter for the telecasts.
Three of the Rams' four preseason contests will be carried on KTVI Channel 2. Their Week 3 contest against the Denver Broncos will be carried nationally on CBS.
Tight end Lance Kendricks (knee) and defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo (foot) began camp on the active physically unable to perform (PUP) list because of their injuries. They both count against the Rams' 90-man roster. Fisher said it'll be at least 10 days to two weeks before either player will be healthy enough to practice. ... Fisher is allowing any Rams player with four or more years of NFL experience to go home at night instead of checking into the team hotel during training camp. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford was thrilled to be one of the players who fits in that veteran category. "I can't tell you how excited I am that Coach Fisher has that policy,'' Bradford said. "I felt bad for the guys going to the hotel last night after we were done with meetings. It's not a huge deal. We're still going to be getting home at 9 or 9:30, but being able to spend that 20 minutes on the couch watching TV and then being able to go to bed in your own bed every night, it's definitely more comfortable.''
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.