As has become his custom over his many years in coaching, Fisher likes to finish his camps with a fun activity for his players. In the spring, he had a contest amongst the offensive and defensive lines to try to catch punts.
On Wednesday, as his first training camp in St. Louis wrapped up, it was a dizzy bat race, a rite of passage for all rookies and training camp interns.
“We’ve done it as long as I can remember to end camp,” Fisher said. “It’s probably better to put the shoulder pads on and do it rather than do it without. Every three or four years you get a separated shoulder. Usually it’s an equipment room intern or a training room intern but the players love it.”
The only people in on the secret are former Tennessee players
Fisher lined up all the rookies and all of the interns from the training room and the equipment room at the goal line. About 25 yards away sat a cone and each participant raced to the cone with a football, dropped it and raced to their designated circles.
Upon arriving at the circle, the player had to pick up a bat and spin 20 times before running back. But there was a twist, there’s always a twist.
Each circle is surrounded by a group of veterans. Those veterans take anything they can get their hands on and dump it on the participant: water, ice, Gatorade, etc. When they have completed their spins, they are supposed to gather themselves and run back.
Almost every contestant fell down at least once and rookie receiver
“We had fun with that dizzy bat deal at the end of practice,” end
After the races, the entire team went and signed autographs for the fans and went inside for dinner before heading back to the comfort of their own homes. For the better part of the past month, the majority of the Rams – save for a few veterans – were holed up in a local hotel with nothing to distract them from the rigors of camp.
Of course, there’s no good way to judge how well a camp went save for perhaps one important number: the amount of injuries, especially serious ones, a team suffered during the camp.
With two games and more than two weeks of practice remaining there is still plenty of time before the opener but so far, the returns on injuries have been overwhelmingly positive with no serious injuries of note to this point.
A year ago, the Rams hadn’t suffered but one serious injury to this point in camp, either and then were inundated by them in the preseason.
But the detailed Fisher has worked closely with head athletic trainer Reggie Scott and his staff to ensure that
“He knows when to turn it up and he’s definitely cognizant about when he needs to pull back and he doesn’t really pressure a lot of things with players who might be on the edge, to go,” safety
As for whether any of the rookies will leave the team to pursue a burgeoning dizzy bat racing career, Fisher gave the standard coach’s answer.
“We’ll have to look at the film,” Fisher said, a grin creeping across his face.
GHOLSTON SIGNED: With some injuries hitting the defensive end position, the Rams made a move to add another piece on Wednesday evening, signing Vernon Gholston to a one-year deal.
Gholston, of course, is the former first-round pick, No. 6 overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. Coming out of Ohio State, Gholston was considered to be one of that draft’s best athletes and a potential dynamic pass rusher.
But Gholston was unable to meet those expectations for the New York Jets and has yet to register a sack in his career. With
Coincidentally, Gholston was once a strong consideration of the Rams in that draft along with Long and defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. The Rams opted for Long and the rest is history.
The Rams also brought in veteran end Andre Carter for a visit Wednesday. No word yet on whether he’ll be signed also.
GORDY TRADED: Feeling comfortable with their depth at cornerback, the Rams made a move to help bolster their position in future drafts late Tuesday night.
With Cortland Finnegan,
Gordy stepped into a big role after the Rams signed him to early last season. After they were ravaged by injuries at the corner position, Gordy soon became a starter, playing in 14 games with nine starts.
In those appearances, Gordy led the team with three interceptions, adding 53 tackles.
FINNEGAN’S INFLUENCE: Speaking of the cornerback position, the one player who just goes about his business day after day but hasn’t drawn much attention this preseason is the player who was also this team’s biggest offseason addition.
Finnegan has come to St. Louis and immediately stabilized one corner position and in the process has been an extremely valuable leader. In many ways, because of Fisher’s familiarity with Finnegan and Finnegan’s previous knowledge of the defense, Finnegan is the most maintenance free player on the roster.
“(Cortland) knows what’s expected not only of his position, but all the other positions as far as dedication and work and preparation,” Fisher said. “He came in and he was ‘Cort’ when he got here – he just works hard. Of course, it was a new system for him so as he’s learned the system, he also understands the position very well, so he’s been able to spend quite a bit of time with the younger guys.”
Finnegan has been a perfect fit in St. Louis and is a bit of an extension of Fisher out on the field but that doesn’t mean he steps out of bounds or shirks his responsibilities.
“He knows how we do things, so I guess that’s a bonus for him,” Fisher said. “But he’s not one of those guys that says, ‘Hey, guess what? Coach may do this tomorrow,’ kind of thing. He rolls with the flow.”