Rams players expect physical training camp under Linehan
Thursday, July 27, 2006
ST. LOUIS -- New St. Louis Rams coach Scott Linehan has promised a physical training camp, and that seems to be just fine with players who checked into the team hotel and had their first team meeting Wednesday.
The first practice is today and players know it probably won't be long before they're in full pads.
"That's for guys like me," guard Richie Incognito said. "Guys on our offensive line who like to get down and dirty and get physical."
Linehan has borrowed much of his training camp philosophy from Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban, for whom he served as offensive coordinator last season. He believes that it's a lot safer to wear pads, not to mention resulting in more productive practice time.
"I think pads are put on for protection," Linehan said. "As soon as you start taking pads off, everybody starts taking it down a notch.
"If you don't learn to practice at full speed all the time, especially when you're a young team, you just can't turn the switch on and off."
So he plans on players wearing full gear a "good majority" of the time in training camp and near full gear, minus only knee pads, on some days.
"The one message I'm sure the team will hear loud and clear is we're going to be very physical in this camp," Linehan said. "And we're going to require a lot out of them."
Defensive end Brandon Green took the news in stride, noting that collisions will occur no matter what the players are wearing for protection.
"It seems like there's always contact," Green said. "You just kind of go with it. I don't think that really bothers guys too much."
The Rams, coming off a 6-10 season, will lessen all of that impact by alternating two-a-day workouts with single practice days. Plus, they'll have about eight hours to recover on the days they practice twice, with the second workout conducted under portable lights brought in for training camp.
"I think that's really going to help out with the bodies and the wear and tear, especially now that we're going to be in full pads a lot," running back Steven Jackson said.
Incognito needs the work most, considering his last time in a full-contact situation was the 2003 Alamo Bowl when he was at Nebraska. Disciplinary problems ended his college career after that and Incognito, a third-round pick last season, spent the 2005 season recuperating from a serious knee injury.
"I'm very anxious, very anxious," Incognito said. "You've got to ask me in a couple of days how big of a jump that is."
Jackson figures it'll be a grind leading up to the season opener Sept. 10 against the Denver Broncos.
"To be honest, I dread it, I truly do," Jackson said. "But it allows the coaching staff and the team to get to know each other, to go through kind of a bonding situation where you're all going through a tough process.
"And it allows one to know it is time to play football."