While they still won’t be hitting someone in a different uniform, the St. Louis Rams will take a break from a week of training camp with their annual team scrimmage Friday.
Formerly held at the Edward Jones Dome, the scrimmage is set for 5 p.m. Friday at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. The scrimmage is free and open to the public, a good opportunity for Rams fans to get their first look at players like new quarterback Nick Foles and a veteran defense that returns all 11 starters.
“Absolutely,” Rams tight end Jared Cook said. “It’s the one scrimmage that we have every year, so it’s a lot of fun. We used to do it down at the dome and now it’s at Lindenwood, it’s a little closer so everybody can come out and have a good time.”
Cook said there’s a different feeling around the Rams this season.
“I feel like that every year, but this has been the most excited that I have been before a season ever in my career,” he said. “I think we’re putting all the pieces in order to play a good game each and every Sunday, so I’m excited about that.”
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he toured the Lindenwood facilities Wednesday and came away impressed.
“It’s a great stadium. It’s intimate. It’s in great shape, so I think the guys will like it,” Fisher said. “Even though we’re starting at five o’clock, the lights will be on. You put the lights on Friday night, it’s a little different for them.
“Just like a little change of venue and a little more intimate place.”
Fisher plans to use the scrimmage as an expanded practice, with live plays mixed with drills.
“We’ve traditionally finished with a 10-12 play live rookie scrimmage,” Fisher said. “The biggest challenge in camp is to adjust from day to day, week to week based on numbers and things like that. But we’re going to get good, quality work. It’s going to be an important practice for us, for everybody.”
Althoff coach watching NFL counterparts
Althoff High coach Ken Turner brought several members of his coaching staff along to watching training camp practice Thursday as part of a Rams outreach program with regional high school programs.
“It’s a great experience because you get to pick up tips from how they practice,” said Turner, whose own team begins practice Monday with the rest of Illinois teams. “It’s such a physical game. You watch their thuds. When they just have on helmets and shoulder pads, it’s pretty much live.”
After playing at East St. Louis and coaching at Althoff, Turner has seen his share of fast football players. None compared to he saw Thursday.
“It’s a different level,” he said. “You look at your fast kids, but then you look at a Tavon Austin and your fast kid’s not fast.”
Thursday was an interesting night of practice as players on both sides of the ball got more physical and injured St. Louis Cardinals Matt Adams, Jon Jay and Jordan Walden took in camp from the sidelines.
There was even a small confrontation late in practice when tight end Jared Cook took exception to a heavy hit laid on running back Chase Reynolds by linebacker Alec Ogletree.
“It’s every day, how the defense does (it),” Cook said. “It is what it is, it’s football, right? You’re always supposed to stand up for your guys. Of course you’re going to protect them, they contibute as much as anybody else on this team.”
Fisher didn’t seem overly concerned with the rough stuff.
“Yeah, you just don’t want to make sure someone gets caught off guard,” he said. “They need to be able to protect each other. There were little things going on that they got worked out.”
Rams running back Tre Mason left practice early with what Fisher described as a tight hamstring, something the coach didn’t believe to be serious. Linebacker Korey Toomer was out on the practice field with his foot immobilized and the Rams are still without injured cornerbacks E.J. Gaines (foot) and Brandon McGee (foot).