Fan Fest is a Winner for All

Posted Aug 4, 2013

Casey Pearce
Special to

Following his team’s two-hour practice at the Edward Jones Dome Saturday afternoon, Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher began listing what he was most pleased with from the eventful day.

He spoke of the offense’s execution during a two-minute drill, of the way his team competed throughout the workout and of individual performances. Then he broke stride to acknowledge one of the most important aspects of the team’s second-annual FanFest.

“That was a great crowd,” Fisher said.

Nearly 15,000 fans filled the Edward Jones Dome Saturday for an eventful day that gave them an inside and up-close look at their favorite team. Season ticket holders were invited to enter the building at 9:30 a.m., where they were treated to tours of the Rams locker room, sampled new food items that will be available this season and listened to fan forums where General Manager Les Snead and C.O.O. Kevin Demoff took questions.

Young fans were invited onto the Edward Jones Dome turf where they could attempt field goals and throw the football around. The practice session was free to all fans, and following practice, Rams players signed autographs for upwards of 30 minutes.

“One of our goals as an organization is to be the most fan friendly one in the NFL,” Demoff said. “We want to give our fans unique access and make them understand that they’re a crucial part of what we’re trying to build here. We had a great turnout and I know our players appreciate the enthusiasm they received from our fans Saturday.”

While the fans in attendance received unique experiences Saturday, the players and coaches did as well. For Rams rookies and newcomers, FanFest provided their first opportunity to see the turf that they’ll call home on Sunday’s this fall. Many fans received their first glimpses of those newcomers as well, and the event allowed the Rams’ coaching staff with an opportunity to run through much of their gameday operation.

“I think everybody benefits from it,” Fisher said. “The fans benefit from it. Those that have not been out to camp have an opportunity to really see the new guys close up. They get to see Jared Cook for the first time and make plays down the field. And Tavon (Austin) running around, that’s good. And of course, we benefit from the exercise, the coaches, communication, simulate games and then everybody. And the new players get to see where we’re going to be playing.”

Those first-year Rams didn’t disappoint on the field. Austin was a frequent target of QB Sam Bradford Saturday, and the team’s top draft pick dazzled fans as he made sharp cuts up and down the Edward Jones Dome’s fast track.

“It felt good walking down that tunnel for the first time,” Austin said. “Even though it was a scrimmage I approach everything like it’s a game and I made a couple plays, so it felt good.”

Early in the practice, Bradford squeezed a tight throw to TE Jared Cook for a touchdown, giving fans a look at a budding chemistry between the fourth-year signal caller and his big new target.

“I think you saw today my trust with Jared,” Bradford said. “I have all the trust in the world that if I put the ball up there that he’s going to go get it and I think every time we step on the field that comfort level grows.”

Rookie S T.J. McDonald also provided one of the big highlights of Saturday afternoon with an interception during the team’s 7-on-7 period.

The Rams will enjoy a day off Sunday before returning to the field for a 3:30 practice at Rams Park that is open to the fans. St. Louis will kick off their preseason schedule Thursday night in Cleveland.

As the second week of training camp came to a close, Saturday’s FanFest was a perfect way to move to the next phase of training camp.   

“It always fun for us to get out here in front of this many fans and practice,” Bradford said. “It just kind of breaks up the routine from going out to Rams Park every day to practice.”