Practice Notes: Defense Preparing For Kaepernick; Bradford With ‘Unfinished Business’
Notes from the St. Louis Rams’ Wednesday practice before they meet – again – the division-leading San Francisco 49ers, this time at the Edward Jones Dome Sunday:
-While not news, both wide receiver Danny Amendola and center Scott Wells missed Wednesday’s practice after both playing Sunday in Arizona. Amendola is dealing with a foot injury that held him out of practice all last week and made him doubtful for last week’s game.
Wells hadn’t seen game action since the opening week of the season before playing the entire game Sunday. Both players were likely getting another day of rest before this weekend’s test against the San Francisco 49ers.
-Slightly bigger news came with the team’s full injury report. Aside from Amendola and Wells, the biggest name that sat out Wednesday’s practice was defensive end Robert Quinn. Quinn missed practice with a concussion. No word was given as to his status for Sunday’s game. Running back Steven Jackson (foot) and linebacker Mario Haggan (elbow) also sat out practice.
-That 49ers team on the other side of the field Sunday, it was learned (officially) this afternoon, will be quarterbacked by second-year player Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick got his chance when starting quarterback Alex Smith was knocked out of the game by Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar when the teams met in San Francisco on Nov. 11.
Although Smith has since been deemed ready to play, Kaepernick has started the team’s last two games, both San Francisco wins. San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh has shied away from naming either player the team’s official starter for any length of time, instead making the decision on a week-by-week basis.
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher spoke about the difficulty of preparing for two different quarterbacks heading into Sunday’s game.
“We did that the first time around because Colin (Kaepernick) played a little bit,” Fisher said. “When he’s in the game, you have to be ready for a slightly different offense. We’re going to do the same thing as we did the first time around – prepare for both of them.”
-After a string of five straight games without forcing a turnover, the Rams defense forced four in Sunday’s win against Arizona. It’s something Fisher has preached all season long and something he said they need to continue to work at in the coming weeks.
“We have to keep it up,” Fisher said. “We credited (QB) Kellen (Clemens) because he threw about a dozen picks last week on the practice field, so we gave him the credit. But, you just have to keep going. If you want to look at the turnover thing, we’re still not getting fumbles. We were fortunate to come up with the interceptions, but we still need to get on balls and knock them loose.”
-When the two teams met on Nov. 11, they played to a rare 24-24 tie. It was a result – or lack thereof – that left a bad taste in the mouth of many of the players on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Sam Bradford said Sunday will serve as an opportunity to settle the score from their previous meeting.
“It’s kind of just starting the sixth quarter here,” Bradford said. “Obviously, we’re looking to finish this game with a win, not a tie. But, I think there’s definitely a sense of some unfinished business going into this game.”