The Rams left St. Louis this summer for Wisconsin, setting up camp at Concordia University in Mequon, a small Lutheran school where the players' dorm sits about 100 yards away from massive Lake Michigan. The weather has been spectacular, with one practice lost to lightning, but most others taking place under sunny skies with no humidity.
There were three days of practice in steamy Nashville, two against the Titans, and Wednesday marks the final practice in Mequon as the team heads home Thursday. To a man, the organization is pleased with how well things went for a first-time effort. Wide receiver
The night before the first practice of camp, the Rams offered Jackson a deal worth between $7 million and $7.5 million a year, with guaranteed money totaling around $18 million. Parker rejected the offer the next day and said Jackson wouldn't report to camp. Rams president of football operations/general manager
Pace was cleared to practice at the start of camp, although he was brought along very slowly, not participating in one-on-one drills and taking limited snaps in team segments of practice. He did start in the preseason opener Saturday against Tennessee, and was beaten cleanly on an outside move by defensive end
The standard on offense was raised with the addition of offensive coordinator
Green also returns this year as the backup to
The Rams might be fortunate to finish 8-8, as a worse result is possible considering the first seven games of the season. Both Super Bowl teams will be played in that stretch, in addition to three other '07 playoff teams. The seven opponents -- at Philadelphia, N.Y. Giants, at Seattle, Buffalo, at Washington, Dallas, at New England -- combined for a 73-39 regular-season record last season. Only one team was under .500, Buffalo at 7-9. After the Patriots, the Rams play Arizona at home, and suddenly the first game of the season's second half looks more formidable than before: on the road against the
There are only four players left from 1999 (Pace, Green, wide receiver
Vermeil, who doesn't wear his Super Bowl ring much anymore, displayed it proudly. He attended practices Monday and Tuesday and spoke to the team Monday night.
"You look at it, it's a great symbol of so many wonderful things that happen," Vermeil said of the ring. "I wanted the kids here to see that the Rams -- there're people in this building -- that know how to do it. They've already done it."
In his talk, which numerous players described as inspirational, Vermeil spoke about overcoming adversity, playing as a team and taking advantage of opportunities.
Said Linehan, "As you would expect, it was a passionate talk. That's what you're always going to get every time with Dick. He knew the hot buttons to push about coming off a tough season, but being ready to make your own magic. I welcome him back any time."
• The Rams' numbers were so low in the secondary because of injuries that international practice squad player
• In the absence of Jackson,
• Each year it seems, coaches try to replace wide receiver
• Speaking of Berlin, he has a leg up on