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Practice Report 9/8: Starting With Seattle

Posted Sep 8, 2015

The Rams commenced their practice week on Tuesday, preparing for a challenging home opener against the Seahawks.

As divisional opponents, the Rams and Seahawks are two teams who have gotten to know each other quite well over the years. And with that familiarity comes some pretty competitive matchups.

“Need I remind you that we finished with these guys? So we’re coming right back here,” head coach Jeff Fisher said on Tuesday. “And that’s okay. It’s a familiar team. It’s a great challenge for us.”

“We know them, they know us,” offensive lineman Rodger Saffold said. “And when we play, it’s an extremely physical game.”

Since Fisher took over as head coach in 2012, St. Louis is 2-1 against Seattle at the Edward Jones Dome.

Last year’s contest went down to the wire, with the Rams using some nifty special teams plays to secure a 28-26 victory. But don’t necessarily expect too much of the same when the two teams open the season on Sunday.

“We always will have something to draw upon. Whether we dial them up or not that remains to be seen,” Fisher said. “You need the perfect situation for it. I think, not only for Seattle, but the rest of the league understands that we’re one of those teams that’s going to, not take chances, but try to steal possessions with our special teams.”

“We have to play good, solid football,” Fisher added. “We can’t go into a Seattle game expecting to win the game on a fake punt or a special team’s play. We’ve got to play better offense and defense against them.”

A significant part of that effort begins up front on the offensive line. With many young starters on the unit, Saffold said the onus falls on the players to prepare well.

I want to put as much stress as possible on our young linemen, because I think that when you get backed into a corner, sometimes you have your best moments,” Saffold said. “I think they’re going to really be able to study up. They’re going to really watch this team because they know how good that defense can be.”

Saffold, who has moved over to right guard, specifically pointed out how Seattle’s defense uses movement, a variety of blitzes, and its aggressiveness to be effective.

“Those three things are big because we have such a young offensive line,” Saffold said. “We’re going to have to communicate, and communicate loud and often to be able to help out the younger guys see some things.”

SOLIDIFYING THE OFFENSIVE LINE

While Fisher declined to name a starting center on Tuesday, we know the players at the other four positions. From left to right, Greg Robinson, Jamon Brown, Rodger Saffold, and Rob Havenstein will all be along the line at guards and tackles.

The coaches recently flipped guards Saffold and Brown, with Brown now on the left and Saffold on the right. The veteran said Tuesday he’s feeling more and more comfortable with the adjustment.

“It’s a quick switch but all you’ve got to do is work on that side of the ball a little bit before practice, after practice work on a couple sets,” Saffold said. “And then from then on, it’s just meshing with the people you’re next to.”

As for why the switch was made, the rookie said offensive line coach Paul T. Boudreau noticed from film that he’s left-hand dominant, and that a move could pay dividends.

“He told me that I did a lot of things instinctively or naturally on the left side, which was very encouraging for him, and it was encouraging for me,” Brown said. “So I feel like me being left-hand dominant, and being able to do a lot of things with my left will be able to help me on the left side.”

Brown said he was a bit surprised by to head over to the left late in the preseason, but he’s feeling good about playing there.

“Obviously, the type of guy that I am, it doesn’t really matter,” Brown said. “But making that switch kind of told me something. And coach told me what his mindset was going into that game, which was to find the best matchups and combinations that he could. So he was pleased with what I did on the left side and decided to make it final. So that’s what I’m gearing my mind toward, is playing left guard.”

MAKING THE SQUAD

Linebacker Cameron Lynch is one of three undrafted free agents to make the Rams’ initial 53-man roster. Along with wide receiver Bradley Marquez and offensive lineman Darrell Williams, Lynch did enough in training camp to prove he has the mettle to play in the league. And as a UDFA out of Syracuse, Lynch recognized that’s no small feat.

“It’s awesome,” Lynch said. “The stress of the NFL, the camps, the hot sun -- all that hard work, it finally pays off. It’s a great feeling.”

We’ll have more on the undrafted rookies on the active roster in a feature article later this week.