Rams' first full-squad workout set for today

Sunday, July 29, 2012

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams rookies got a three-day head start at training camp. New coach Jeff Fisher hopes that'll help them adjust now that the veterans have arrived.

The first full-squad practice is scheduled for this afternoon, which gives Fisher two weeks to prepare for the first preseason game Aug. 12 at Indianapolis. The Rams and Colts tied for the worst record in the NFL at 2-14 last year.

Players were due to report Saturday morning for a team meeting followed by conditioning tests but no work on the field.

"I'm very excited. Everybody's excited," Fisher said. "Vets are inside watching practice through the window and coming in early and lifting."

After a year away from the NFL, Fisher is rebuilding a franchise that has averaged just three victories over the last five seasons. Expectations are measured outside of Rams Park, where Fisher constantly has downplayed the past, with Las Vegas oddsmakers setting the over-under at six victories.

The Rams have upgraded at wide receiver by drafting Brian Quick and Chris Givens and with Danny Amendola, who caught 85 passes in 2010, healthy again after missing virtually all of 2011 with an elbow injury.

They're stronger in the secondary, too, after signing cornerback Cortland Finnegan in free agency. They've tried to fill holes at center by signing Scott Wells, and on the defensive line by signing tackle Kendall Langford and drafting tackle Michael Brockers in the first round. Third-round pick Isaiah Pead is a potential quality backup for running back Steven Jackson.

Fisher was pleased with the rookies' retention level from organized team activities last month. The main drawback to the smaller group was the lack of complete offensive and defensive lines.

Even though the rookies got work in smaller groups and weren't overworked to avoid muscle pulls, Fisher is hoping that'll pay off when the roster swells.

Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, who is coming off knee surgery last November, was permitted to participate in the early practices. Fisher said Hoomanawanui, who has been dogged by injuries during his career, asked the team if he also could get an early start.

Hoomanawanui, who was limited to eight games in 2010 and last year, has extra motivation given the team has eight tight ends in camp.

"In his case, it's a really good idea to ease him back in to get the confidence in the knee, and he's really done a good job," Fisher said. "He's been running. He did great in the conditioning test.

"He's worked hard, and he appears to be back for good."

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