Practice Report: Amendola Returns; Offensive Line Still A Work In Progress
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Hello from across the pond!
Alright, so I’m not in London, but the Rams are. The team flew out late afternoon Monday and had their first practice Wednesday afternoon in London time, meaning sometime mid-morning in the U.S.
The biggest development to come from Wednesday’s practice was the return of WR Danny Amendola in a limited capacity. It wasn’t even a month ago Amendola suffered a clavicle injury against the Arizona Cardinals. That injury, which some feared to be season-ending at the time, occurred Oct. 4 at the Edward Jones Dome. Amendola has missed the previous two games and hasn’t practiced since suffering the injury.
Still, a return to the practice field this soon was unexpected. When word came that Amendola had made the trip to London, which some injured Rams didn’t do, it was interesting but didn’t necessarily hint at a possible return as early as this week. And while Rams head coach Jeff Fisher wasn’t saying anything more than that Amendola was limited in practice, his presence on the field was felt.
“Just the guys seeing him out there knowing that he’s close to coming back, I think he gave everyone a little bit of a spark today just seeing him out there,” QB Sam Bradford said.
Bradford noted that the team has to be the one to govern Amendola’s practice time, saying he’s realized trying to tell Amendola to take it easy would be “falling on deaf ears.”
“I think if it were up to Danny, he would have taken every rep today,” Bradford said. “That’s just how he is. Even last year, after he tore his triceps, he wanted to play. Obviously he had to have surgery but he never wants to miss a play. You really respect him for that.”
Those who didn’t practice Wednesday were LB Mario Haggan (thigh), T Wayne Hunter (back), DE Eugene Sims (knee), T Rodger Saffold (knee), and WR Brandon Gibson (illness). DT Matt Conrath (knee) was limited along with Amendola.
The injuries to the offensive line forced the Rams to rely on two new starters last Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. T Joe Barksdale and G Shelley Smith started in place of Wayne Hunter and Quinn Ojinnaka, respectively, and held their own against a tough Packers pass rush. Bradford commended the pair for keeping him relatively clean Sunday.
“I thought those guys did a great job,” Bradford said. “It’s not easy to come in and play against Green Bay, who coming into last week was No. 1 in the league in sacks. They got put in on short notice but I thought they handled everything extremely well and played at a high level.”
Ojinnaka has since been released. The Rams brought in T Chris Williams, formerly a Chicago Bears first-round draft pick, to take his spot on the roster.