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Practice Report 8/18: Long Feeling Healthy, Faster

Posted Aug 18, 2015

Defensive end Chris Long said after Tuesday's practice that he's feeling healthy and ready to be productive in 2015.

OXNARD, Calif. -- The Rams finished up their two-day session with the Cowboys on Tuesday afternoon.

One of the big storylines heading into the joint practices was the Cowboys’ offensive line squaring off against the Rams’ defensive line. Both units are regarded as among the best in the league. Defensive end Chris Long said he felt his squad was able to improve by facing such a quality front.

“I thought it was a great battle,” Long said. “They’re really at the top of their game. They’ve got one of the best young players in Zack [Martin]. … And they’ve got Tyron [Smith] at left tackle, who is a leader at his position. And certainly we’ve got two of the best guys in the league at their positions in Aaron [Donald] and Rob [Quinn]. And we’re very deep, and they’re deep as well. So it was a good matchup.”

Long, who has practiced sparingly during camp but was on the field for both Oxnard sessions, said he’s feeling not only healthy, but also faster as the season approaches.

“I feel good. I dropped some weight this year to try to be quicker,” Long said. “And I feel like playing at that weight, I can be productive and really get off the ball and cause problems.”

In all, Long said he felt like the team got a lot out of a competitive two days with another team.

“It was unique,” Long said of the experience. “I hadn’t done that in seven years, and it was good for me as a player. I hadn’t practiced in a while, and you practice against guys than you see all camp. And that’s what you’re going to see every week, is different guys. So having to come here, hit the ground running, and play different guys who have different sets, and play things differently -- it’s good for you.”

“That’s a good football team over there. They won 12 games,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “We’re a young team and we matched up and we got some things done. There were some great one-on-one battles, and some great team efforts, and great special teams work. So it was extremely valuable.”

FINISHING PRACTICE EARLY

The Rams and Cowboys ended up with an early finish to their second joint session after both teams got heated during 11-on-11.

“We had a day and about three-quarters and we had really good work. And then, unfortunately, things got out of hand and we shut it down,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “There’s no excuse for it. We can’t blame it on anybody -- it just happened. One thing led to another and it happened.”

It was an unfortunate situation, and everyone was relieved that both teams came away uninjured.

“Fortunately, nobody got hurt. I think both teams came out of two good practice sessions healthy,” Fisher said. “We got a lot of good work and it’s unfortunate about the end.”

“We’ll get it corrected,” Fisher continued. “There’s no place for that in our game. There’s no place for that from the standpoint of being role models in this game and representing this game for kids. There’s no place. That’s now how this game goes. And so, we’re sorry about that. And I know Jason [Garrett, Cowboys head coach], would echo the same thing.”

WEDNESDAY’S PRACTICE CANCELED

Earlier on Tuesday, the team canceled its solo practice in Oxnard, scheduled for Wednesday morning. Fisher said a significant part of the reason why was the fatigue that’s set in over the long road trip. The Rams left St. Louis last Thursday to head to Oakland for the first preseason game.

“We had originally planned on coming back out here tomorrow. The Cowboys have a day off and we were going to use the facility. We decided against that,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a tired team. We’re going to emphasize recovery.”

The team will instead stage a walk thru before heading back to St. Louis. The rest of the practice week will remain as scheduled.

“We’ll [practice at] 5:30 on Thursday,” Fisher said. “Friday is a players’ day off. And then we’ll come in [on Saturday] to have a walk thru and travel down to Nashville.”

VISITING PT. MUGU

Before the club boards the plane to get back to Missouri, the Rams will visit with soldiers from Naval Air Station Point Mugu for around an hour. It’s going to be a special occasion for players and coaches alike.

“It’s something that was part of this trip,” Fisher said. “Once we agreed to come here, we kind of looked around and said, ‘Where are they?’ And we found that they were close. So we’re going to spend some time with them tomorrow.”

“It’s awesome to be able to be with the military, anytime we do it,” linebacker James Laurinaitis said. “When we do it back in St. Louis -- it’s one of my favorite things at the end of camp when we go over there. So to be there and to sign autographs for our troops, it just puts life in perspective. We’re out here playing a game that we love, and they’re the ones who are defending our country.

“I wish that would kind of be flipped around,” Laurinaitis added. “We could be getting their autographs in a way to really salute them.”