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Practice Report 8/26: Wichmann Back on the Field

Posted Aug 26, 2015

Rookie offensive lineman Cody Wichmann is back on the field after being taken off the PUP list earlier this week. Plus, a couple players sat down for an interview with a special guest.

The biggest news of head coach Jeff Fisher’s press conference on Monday was running back Todd Gurley getting cleared for 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 practice. But Fisher also announced another rookie was able to go back to practice: offensive lineman Cody Wichmann.

A sixth-round pick out of Fresno State, Wichmann started 50 games as a Bulldog, twice earning All-Mountain West honors. But he suffered a calf injury back in the spring and had been sidelined since, having been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List at the start of training camp.

Now Wichmann is off of it and has made his way back onto the practice field, participating in all elements of the sessions over the past couple of days.

“It’s been really great -- I feel great. No more sitting and watching all my buddies work their butts off,” Wichmann said. “Being out there the last couple of days, I feel comfortable with where I’m going on the field and I’m able to play fast. So I’m making up lost time -- slowly but surely.”

Though he wasn’t able to perform the plays for the last few weeks, Wichmann said the mental reps were important as he learned the playbook.

“That was really important to me, to get in the playbook on my downtime and I think it’s helped out a lot,” Wichmann said. “I was watching the vets for almost two months and those guys are here for a reason. They’ve been in the league the years that they have been for a reason. So it was great to get those mental reps.”

The first-year lineman also said it’s been nice to have so many fellow rookies in his position group as they all acclimate to the league.

“We’re going to be close with everyone on the offensive line, but I think the rookies are really special,” Wichmann said. “We’re a tight-knit group. We’re always with each other on our off days and what not. There’s obviously a bunch of drafted guys, and you’ve got great talent in the undrafted guys, too. So there are a bunch of great guys and I hope we all make this team.”

The lineman added he thinks developing those off-field relationships should help on-field performance.

“I think chemistry is really important when it comes to a football team,” Wichmann said. “The closer you are off the field, the more you want to fight for them on the field. And being on the football field, you can actually stick up for them -- you can fight for them.”

It’s been a process for Wichmann to get back to practicing, which the lineman said the coaches have been understanding about. But that doesn’t mean the rookie is being complacent.

“I’m not going to lower my standards,” Wichmann said. “I hold myself to high expectations, and I’m not trying to go out there to survive. I’m going out there to get better every day.

“Their feedback is reassuring,” Wichmann continued. “They’re just bringing me along. They understand that I’ve been out for a while. But I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t like to make excuses, so I’m just trying to do my best.”

And he’s definitely excited about the possibility of playing on Saturday night against the Colts.

“I traveled to both of the other games but obviously didn’t get any playing time,” Wichmann said. “So hopefully it’ll be my first experience playing in one of those games. And I’m really looking forward to it.”

ONE-ON-ONE WITH A SPECIAL GUEST

Sometimes it’s fun to throw in a changeup. That’s what we did here at stlouisrams.com on Wednesday, with Alec Cabacungan at Rams Park to watch practice.

Alec, 12, has been diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta, which is a brittle bone disease. Earlier this year, Alec interviewed a few incoming rookies at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Chicago, where he is also a patient. Plus, he’s appeared in a few commercials for the hospital, and clearly has a camera presence.

That was on display Wednesday afternoon, when our own Dani Klupenger handed over the microphone to have him do some interviews with linebacker James Laurniaitis and defensive lineman Robert Quinn.

Following his interview, Quinn went into the locker room with a football to gather the signatures of Nick Foles and Todd Gurley.

“Those are some of his favorite players, so I made sure I could at least put one of those smiles on his face,” Quinn said. “Who knows how much that could help pick up his day, or the impact that makes on his life?”

“It sounds simple, but a signature could put a smile on a kid’s face,” Quinn added.

You can check out those interviews in the videos below.