OTA Wrap-Up with Coach Spagnuolo

Rams Coach Steve Spagnuolo talked Wednesday about what he learned about the team this offseason, on the importance of Jason Smith being at training camp on time, on if he is confident Smith and James Lauriniatis will be ready for starting positions, on if he has thought about two-a-day practices in the heat here, and if he puts a lot of stock in the preseason games.

(Opening Remarks)
"The first thing I wanted to mention was I thought what happened yesterday was really a great thing. We went over to East St. Louis and built a playground over in Lincoln Park. I thought that the people in this organization and the people that were involved with it did a terrific job. I thought (Vice President/Corporate Communications & Civic Affairs) Molly Higgins and (Director/Community Outreach & Youth Football) Michael Yarbrough who work in our community relations (department) did a nice job of putting it together and I really do think that our players got a lot out of it. In a lot of ways when you do something like that you get more out of it helping people than the people you're actually helping. So that was the first thing and I thought it was a good way for our team to end. They did something together. It didn't have to do really with football it had more to do with giving back to the community. I would also like to kind of convey our training camp dates so that you know going forward. The rookies, quarterbacks and the selected vets will be here on July 29. That will be their reporting date. They'll have two practices the following day just that group. The full squad will report here on July 30 and we'll have our first practice here on the 31st. Going forward I thought that would help you a little bit. Right now we anticipate that all 86 guys that are on the roster will be healthy, be ready to go. Don't see any problems there unless something should come up between now and then. Other than that I'll open it up for questions."

(On what he learned about the team this offseason)
"I'll tell you this, I do know that it's a bunch of hard working guys. I told them yesterday as they departed that I thought we had enough character, enough talent and enough guys that are driven that we can accomplish whatever we want. Whatever we decide we want to accomplish I think we can do that."

(On if he has set a training camp practice schedule)
"Yeah, it's laid out right now. It's going to begin with two-a-days. Most of them will be two-a-days. There's some selected days that will be one, we'll work around the weather, the heat, etc., etc. But it's hard to tell right now having myself not gone through the weather conditions here in July and August, but we'll be on the ready, ready. We'll be ready to dance around things that might occur."

(On if the basics of the training camp schedule are taken from Coach Tom Coughlin and Coach Andy Reid)
"Yeah, quite honestly it is a combination of Andy and Tom. There's certain weeks there that will be a little more of what Andy did and as I'm in my mind thinking about it there will be more of what Coach Coughlin had. So definitely a combination of both."

(On the importance of T Jason Smith being at training camp on time)
"Yeah, that's probably a no-brainer. It's important for all the players to be here on time. I think they understand that. There is a business side of this business, so we'll let it run its course. But I'm confident in Jason's group that is representing him and (Executive Vice President of Football Operations/Chief Operating Officer) Kevin (Demoff) certainly here."

(On if he talked to Smith about getting the business side settled on time for camp)
"I had an initial conversation back when we drafted him, but that's really the business end part of it. I try to stay away from that."

(On if T Alex Barron will be at left tackle and Smith at right tackle)
"Everything's still open. If you saw some of the practices, we moved guys around looking for some versatility, so nothing is carved in stone right now."

(On if he is confident Smith and LB James Lauriniatis will be ready for starting positions by the time the season starts)
"I'm not going to down that road. I won't make any kind of prediction. I think certainly both of them are capable of doing that, but we have a long way to go here. They haven't even put the pads on yet."

(On what it was like to say good-bye to everyone for a month)
"I got lost, what do I do now? None of the guys are here. No, this is part of it. I think they do need to get away from…they certainly get away from me, the coaches, from each other. Be with families and wrapped around all that they still need to be working. We don't want them to lose anything in the strength development part of it, certainly the conditioning. I think they all understand that. Certainly the guys that have been in this league in previous years do. But I probably need a little bit of a break some where along the way too. My wife's glad that they're all gone now."

(On how much of a break the coaches will have)
"We'll actually work right through Saturday. We're going to work on Saturday, we have a committed staff that's going to put time in the weekend here, this particular weekend. Then, they'll be off until July 27, when we come back together right before the players get here."

(On if he will get to enjoy his time off or will the wheels be turning)
"I'll keep you posted. I think the wheels are always turning. You need some down time. I'll force myself to kind of do that. I think that's a healthy thing to do."

(On if his wife will force him to enjoy his time off)
"Yeah, she's terrific. She'll be great about it. She's probably got something already lined up."

(On where he plans to be during his break)
"Actually, I'll be here next week. I'll be in and out of St. Louis throughout the month of July and then certainly I'll be back before July 27. I'll be itching to go, so I'll be in and out."

(On if he has to set a tone in training camp or is it already set and just moving forward)
"Well, I can tell you what I told the team. The way it's laid out, the first five days are definitely a bear. The way it's laid out, the times the practices are going to be, the length of practices and typically if you don't come in shape and in the right frame of mind, you run the risk of getting injured and not being up to speed for what we want to do. Now after that it doesn't get that much easier, but it tends to thin out a little bit and they're able to survive. I think any of these camps have to be like that. I mentioned this the other day to the team that it's between now and really the first game or through the preseason games that you establish the foundation that helps you win in November and December. I believe that."

(On if he has thought about two-a-day practices in the heat here)
"I've put a lot of thought into it. We're ready with a couple of different options. I'd like to keep them in the day right now. There's some night practices sprinkled in there. We always have the capability if it got really too rough on them to go indoors to protect them from the sun, its air conditioned in there. We kind of have an open plan; we'll just play it with Mother Nature."

(On if there is a need to temper expectations of those who say if the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens can all rebound with a winning season coming off a losing season then the Rams can too)
"Well I'm not going to temper anything. People can believe what they believe. You have to have a little bit of confidence in what you can do, but to me it's not about bold predictions, it's not about looking into the crystal ball. It's one day at a time and that's what we'll do. If we can do that hopefully something positive can come out of it. I have a lot of respect for those teams that you mentioned. (They) did a great job last year. Terrific."

(On the alleged interest the Rams have in QB Michael Vick)
"I think (General Manager) Billy (Devaney) has already addressed that. That's a non-story."

(On what his final message to the team was)
"We talked about a vision. You have to have a vision and a belief in that vision before you can do anything. I asked them to believe in what we built in these last 14 weeks of the offseason. Let that carry them through the five weeks of work that they have between now and training camp. When we get back here together we'll hit the ground running and see what happens. But again, like I just got done saying, I asked them to not be about bold predictions, don't worry about long range, let's take it one day at a time, one phase at a time. They're in another phase now. The phase is the offseason program they've gone through it, they have five weeks where they're on their own that they can maintain that and then we get back here to training camp."

(On if he puts a lot of stock in the preseason games)
"Yeah, you have to use them as indicators because throughout the whole training camp we'll just be knocking heads against each other. When you're able to stack yourself up against somebody else that's when you get a better indicator of where you're at and what you have."


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