Wednesday Coach Linehan Press Conference

Rams Head Coach Scott Linehan gave an injury update and talked about why they picked up Eddie Kennison. He also talked about the status of Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, what he wants out of Marc Bulger this weekend, and if Tye Hill will start.

Head Coach Scott Linehan
September 10, 2008

(Opening remarks)
"Just one schedule change and I will give it to Rick, exactly when we practice and when media availability is for the players, it is a little bit adjusted. I don't have it for you now but as soon as I have it I will give it to Rick and he will get it to you afterwards. Just to update you on any injuries we had, we did have a couple of guys that did not practice today, DE Leonard Little, OL Jacob Bell and also RB Travis Minor were the three guys other than the guys we said were out. We will get it to you guys as soon as we can but those are the guys that I can confirm did not practice. Some guys did some limited work but that's really it."

"From the last time I talked to you, we acquired and ex-Ram, WR Eddie Kennison, to give some depth to our receiving core with WR Drew (Bennett) being out for a significant amount of time. He has a background certainly here before but at Kansas City playing for coach (Al) Saunders as a receiver there and has a familiarity with the system we are now running so it gives us some depth. It does not eliminate are young players from the mix for sure. It is more insurance and hopefully it will give us depth for game day more than anything. With that, we moved LB David Vabora to our practice squad and which was the result of CB Darius Vinnett's release. So that is kind of where we are, up to date on our roster right now."

(On RB Travis Minor's injury)
"He has a groin strain. It has been bothering him enough to keep him out. Didn't really think it was to serious Monday or we would have talked about it. It is pretty tight at this point and we just held him out of practice pretty much today just to see if we can get him back."

(On why they picked up WR Eddie Kennison)
"Well we really only had one receiver that we tried out but what stood out was his background in this system. We were thinking about a couple (receivers) but we only brought in one. He has a really good familiarity with the Z position; we are a little light there especially as far as a veteran at that spot with Drew out. That's probably it, him being able to shorten the learning curve with the system because it is really hard. As you can see, if you guys just look around the league and you see roster acquisitions this time of year, you will see a lot of guys that have a lot of background with the offense that the teams running and that was really it."

(On what kind of shape WR Eddie Kennison is in)
"Well he is in good enough shape. He has been training as most of these guys do if you want to get another job. The realism of him playing, it would be a role somewhat similar to what a number three or four receiver would have. It is realistic that he would be available for this Sunday."

(On how Donnie Avery did in practice today)
"He did good, that is one that we are trying not to be overly impatient about. We don't want to push him out there too fast. He is the kind of guy that pushes himself hard enough anyway; you almost have to pull the reigns back on him, which is a good thing. He went out there and he should a lot more promise as far as what his potential he maybe, not only for this game but for sure the next game."

(On what he gets from WR Dane Looker and is WR Keenan Burton ready for a larger role)
"Dane's reliability and his knowledge of the offense and his flexibility, being able to do pretty much anything gives him an edge on some of the other guys as far as being able to go in there and handle everything you throw at him especially the verbiage and alignments and everything that we do. So that's where Dane can really help us. Keenan's biggest thing is just the playing the experience and having a limited background in the preseason and training camp. What I've seen so far is excellent. He gives you size and speed that we really need on the outside at this point. He brings that young element that we've been wanting around here for awhile. He showed it one of the preseason games and we'd like to have more of that to be honest with you."

(On how WR Keenan Burton did in last week's game)
"He did fine. I thought he played okay, it's hard to say. This is my pet peeve having to go back to Sunday, but I know that's part of the deal. But going back for him, my feeling is that he did okay. We didn't do very well as a team for a number of reasons, but it wasn't necessarily the effort of the guys or the young guys what they were doing. I think some things, he made a few mistakes that I know he won't make again, but that's part of the learning curve for these guys. I think he's going to be that much more ready for this game because he's got through his real first NFL experience. Those preseason games are a little bit different; he did good. He had one really good play on special teams when he played. The left flyer went down and got in on the play and beat a double press and that's hard to do and he showed a lot on that too. I think as special teams evolve it's going to be a lot more."

(On if the players flushed last Sunday's game out of their systems)
"Yeah, they did today. Again, the only thing you can really do to flush it out of your system is to go play good and win on Sunday; that's our focus. It was a very good practice and we're going to have to carry it over to Sunday."

(On with the NFL being a copycat league if he thinks the Giants will copy the Eagles approach)
"I would say they would look at the film and it'd be a big part of what they're doing. I think the Giant's got a pretty good idea of what they're doing anyway; defending world champs. They could have easily shut out their first opponent, so I think they're going to be pretty content doing things the way they do it, but the systems are basically the same. So they're going to get a lot of things to look for at that film and probably confirm some things they were going to do anyway. But yeah, for sure you'll get those kind of things any time you play an opponent that had success against the other team you're going to look at it pretty close."

(On after a performance like last week's if the home opener is even more pressured)
"No I have a feeling the home opener is going to be just what the doctor ordered. Get our fans there and create a hostile environment for the other team. There's no saying that you can't go out in this league each week and turn things completely around. I remember when the New England Patriots opened up the season with one of their worst games a few years back. I think it might have been 31-0 when they played Buffalo. I think Buffalo shut them out and then they turned around and had a really good year that year. I think the biggest thing is the improvement you make from Week 1 to Week 2. I've seen guys open up the season with great victories and not play well the second week and vice versa. Hopefully we can turn the tide there."

(On if he sees similarities between brothers Eli and Peyton Manning's style of quarterbacking)
"They're different and they're the same. It's a good question. I've never really had that asked. You can see they emulate, especially Eli emulates a lot of what Peyton has done. You can see he's added some things that Indianapolis does to their system, the run and pass stuff they do at the line and all the halfback stuff and fake audible stuff they do to set something up. Maybe early in the game they made a run check and the defense heard it, and they go out and set you up and call the same play at the line of scrimmage and run a play-action. I bet they play those kinds of war games at home when it comes to that kind of chess match stuff that quarterbacks do. You can see that they're addicted to the game and you can see they're very well versed in how to play the position. The thing that Eli did last year that young quarterbacks have to get through is he just fought off all of the scrutiny and the criticism that quarterbacks get and just kept playing and kept that demeanor and made plays. The bottom line is, you can say what you want, but they played great as a team last year and they really got after the quarterback and they have a great defense, however the key to their season turnaround is how consistent their quarterback got playing. He has not looked back since. He's been playing great since."

(On what he wants out of QB Marc Bulger this Sunday and what he is doing to get him there)
"He has to play at that elite level and its going to be two quarterbacks going head-to-head that can play at the highest level in this league, Pro Bowler type performance. You have to play your best when you're playing the best. To do that, we have to feed off of each other. We have to get our run game going. We can't put our quarterback or anybody else in situations that are hard to handle, long yardage being the one that really killed us last week. We all have to do our jobs that much better so that our quarterback can play at a level that can beat a team like this."

(On if the Giants have blitzed a lot in the past)
"We'll see some things that we got last Sunday, because of the other team's ability to get some pressure on our quarterback. He just does a great job of doing it with what he's got. He's arguably lost two of his best pass rushers from a year ago with (Michael) Strahan retiring and (Osi) Umenyiora getting hurt. They played great defense on opening night last Thursday. To me, that's the sign of an extremely well-coached football team. He just does it to people with pressure and can do it with a four-man rush. If you really look at the Super Bowl closely, most of the pressure they got on (Patriots QB Tom) Brady, was with four guys. That was pretty impressive that they were able to do that. They can still blitz you and will, but he'll mix it up pretty well."

(On his concerns of the Giants offense)
"They're old-fashioned, pro-style football. They go right at you with the run game. They have a (running) back that's probably as physical of a player as there is in this league. They get a lot of momentum and juice from guys ability to run downhill and move the pile. Their offensive line has been a real mainstay for them. They're playing consistent football. They stayed very healthy. I don't know that they've missed a start. I know they didn't miss one last year. It could probably date back to the year before and the year before that group has played together for a long time and as a group, they play very good football. Another example of great coaching, they lose a great tight end like (Jeremy) Shockey and they put basically a rookie in there last year and it was kind of hard to tell the different between the two of them now. When that kid gets in there, he plays really good football. They play really smart, really physical football. The thing they got is if you get up in there and hold that box up to try and stop that run game, they have a quarterback who is smart enough to change the play and go to a pass and throw it to that sixth or seventh wide-out they have. That's going to be their primary target. They'll through it to him and other guys are being productive in their passing game. It's a heck of a challenge. They have a pretty darn good thing going."

(On if CB Tye Hill is back in the starting lineup)
"We're evaluating. Everybody is obviously evaluating themselves and each group and Tye Hill will be back in there, but I met with him myself this morning and I told him, ‘You're no different than a quarterback or head coach, or whatever it is. Things go good. That's your job. You are a first round draft pick. If things go bad, people are going to be on your butt. You just have to practice better so you play better.' He had a really good day today."

(On the availability of G Jacob Bell)
"It's early right now, but he didn't practice so there is a little bit of doubt there at this point."


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