Print
RSS

Practice Report: 10/22

Posted Oct 22, 2014

Read Myles Simmons recap from the Rams' Week 8 Wednesday practice.



The Rams were back on the field for practice on Wednesday afternoon to prepare for the Chiefs. Here’s what you should know from the session.

SPECIAL DAY FOR SPECIAL TEAMS

The special teams unit played a significant role in the Rams’ victory over the Seahawks on Sunday, and the accolades are starring to come in for it. Wide receiver Stedman Bailey was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week on Wednesday morning.

“It’s a very big honor,” Bailey said. “It’s something I never really saw myself being able to achieve because I’m not a punt return guy. But it means a whole lot to me.”

One of the more impressive parts about Bailey’s feat is that his 90-yard touchdown marked the first time he’d returned a punt at any level. Based on the week’s preparation, Bailey said he wasn’t too surprised that he took the first one to the house.

“I kind of had a good feeling that I may have a chance to if everything was executed perfectly,” Bailey said. “And once I secured the catch and turned around, I saw a lot of green grass and thought, ‘Hey, here it is.’”

Even considering Bailey’s lack of experience, special teams coach John Fassel said he was confident in Bailey’s ability to make the play because of the wideout’s ball skills and how he’d ran it in practice. Still, Fassel acknowledged that it took a lot of factors coming together in order for that play to work.

“It’s a bit of a perfect storm with the ball at the right spot on the field, and the right kick, and everybody executing exactly what they’re supposed to do,” Fassel said. “All the stars aligned on that, and it was fun to see it work.”

Of course, Fassel and the special teams unit had an excellent game in general. But even with the 75-yard kick return, Bailey’s punt return, and the fake punt in the fourth quarter, the special teams coach said that the game plan was not truly complicated.

“It was a good day,” Fassel said. “It wasn’t anything that was extravagant. Really, the guys did a great job of executing things that we’ve practiced for quite a while.”

Cunningham’s long kick return helped vault him to the top of the league in kick return average at 31.6 yards. Fassel noted that even though he does not look like a typical return man, the running back’s decision-making and ability to break tackles makes him good at the job.

“I think credit goes to Benny, but the guys have been working real hard on blocking,” Fassel said. “Again, nothing real elaborate going on, just hard work in practice. And it’s good to finally pop one. We’ll see if we can do it again.”

But when it comes to the trickery, Fassel said that even if the Rams don’t reach into the bag again this season, they’ve probably given their opponents plenty of things to think about.

“That could be a part of it,” Fassel said. “If we’re studying another team that has some unique things on tape, then it kind of raises red flags and gets the antennas up a little bit. So that could be a part of it moving forward.”

LEFTOVERS

…Though Bailey’s accolade has already come through, the Rams are also up for two more. Punter Johnny Hekker is up for the GMC Never Say Die Play of the Week for completing the 18-yard pass to Cunningham on the fake punt. And Tre Mason is up for the Pepsi Rookie of the Week as well for his 18-carry, 85-yard performance on Sunday.

The running back said Wednesday that Sunday was enjoyable because it ended in a W.

“I know from high school, I was always told, ‘How do you spell fun? It’s W-I-N,’” Mason said.

You can vote for Hekker by going to nfl.com/gmc, and vote for Mason by going to nfl.com/rookies. Voting is open until 2 p.m. CT on Friday for both awards.

…On the injury report, William Hayes (illness), T.J. McDonald (concussion), Kenny Britt (ankle), Janoris Jenkins (knee), Rodger Saffold (knee), and Tim Barnes (shoulder) all did not participate in Wednesday’s practice. Jo-Lonn Dunbar (toe) and Trumaine Johnson (knee) practiced on a limited basis. Brandon McGee (foot) and Ethan Westbrooks (hand) were both full participants in practice.

…Having done that limited work, Johnson said after practice that he’s continuing to progress as makes his way back from the knee injury suffered against Cleveland in the penultimate game of the preseason.

“Big confidence factor, just being out there today, going through the motions, going through the scout team,” Johnson said. “I’ve felt better every week -- better every day.”

…Bailey said that despite the superb acting job on the misdirected punt return, Tavon Austin hasn’t tried to take half of the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award.

“He never claimed half of it, but if it were up to me, I would definitely give half of it to him because he did a great job of selling it,” Bailey said. “Everything else just worked out perfectly from there.”