Practice Report: Life Without Amendola; Jackson, Hunter Healthy
St Louis Rams
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Some notes from Wednesday’s practice, the first full practice following the long layoff from the Thursday night game:
-There’s still no timetable for WR Danny Amendola’s return.
Amendola suffered a dislocated clavicle in Thursday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. The thought is that Amendola will be out up to two months, but no official word has been given about the injury or its seriousness. Rams coach Jeff Fisher offered only that Amendola wasn’t at practice today.
Assuming Amendola does miss considerable time, all the receivers will have to step up to replace Amendola’s production. On the season Amendola has 32 receptions for 395 yards, which rank 8th and 13th in the NFL, respectively, through the first five weeks.
“It’s definitely a big loss,” WR Austin Pettis said. “As an offense, as a whole, especially in the receiver room, we’ve got a lot of slack to pick up. I think we’ll be able to spread that around and be really successful.”
One receiver who will almost certainly see an expanded role is veteran Steve Smith. Smith has five receptions for 70 yards on the year but has been inactive the past two games. Smith is a smaller, slot-type receiver like Amendola, so it’s natural to assume he’ll inherit much of that playing time with Amendola sidelined.
Smith said he’s just preparing like usual.
“I’m just coming in ready to work everyday,” Smith said. “That’s on the coaches. I’m just going to be prepared for whatever they ask from me.”
Fisher said Smith handled being inactive like a professional, practicing hard and helping prepare the defense for the upcoming game. Now he’ll be asked to again help the team, this time in a much bigger role.
“You don’t expect him to like it, but he understood,” Fisher said. “He understands patience, and unfortunately through injury he’s been given another opportunity.”
-Other notable names on the injury report include FB Brit Miller (ankle), T Rodger Saffold (knee) and LB Mario Haggan (thigh), all three of whom did not participate in Wednesday’s practice. DT Matt Conrath (knee), DE William Hayes (back) and DE Eugene Sims (head) were all limited.
-Two notable omissions were RB Steven Jackson and T Wayne Hunter. Jackson had been limited by a groin injury the past few weeks, while Hunter had been bothered by a knee injury. Both seem to be healed and ready to contribute fully this week in Miami.
-Rams P Johnny Hekker was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against the Arizona Cardinals. Hekker averaged 56.9 yards per punt with a long of 68 yards while keeping dynamic return man Patrick Peterson under wraps.
“It feels a little undeserved,” Hekker said. “I’m a product of the guys around me. The guys work their butts off covering Patrick Peterson all day, not letting him get any big returns. They did an amazing job. I’ve really got to give the award back to those guys.”