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Fisher plans to play starters in final preseason game

The Sports Xchange

--With two games remaining in the preseason, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said the team's starters will not only play more on Saturday in Dallas, but will play into the second half of the final preseason game at home against Baltimore. That is a different approach from most teams that sit their regulars for the last game.

Fisher said his philosophy is simple: "If you do nothing or very little, then you've done nothing or very little in a two-week span. To me, there's too much time off, so we're just going to continue to build. I think you lose momentum and you lose ground if you don't play a significant amount of plays in the fourth preseason game.

"What you're doing is you're playing, it's Thursday, and you're trying to get quality reps and you want to go through the halftime thing. The halftime experience is unusual. You need to go through it before the regular season starts. We don't opt to do it in Week 3, we'll do it in Week 4. Come in, cool down, get yourself warmed back up again and go back out and play. That's as it relates to just the starters."

As for the next game, Fisher said. "We're just going to continue to build through the preseason. Most of the guys had anywhere from 20 to 25 plays with a few exceptions, so we'll probably push that up into the mid-20s, even 30 plays for starters."

--Sam Bradford is growing weary with the questions. But there they came again last week after a report by Jason LaCanfora on cbssports.com claimed the quarterback might need surgery on the ankle he injured last season. The key word was "might," but that didn't stop the panic from spreading.

So it was that Bradford was asked after practice about the reports. He said, "That would be news to me. To be honest, I'm tired of talking about the ankle. Until it causes me to miss reps or miss time, it's a non-issue."

And he hasn't missed any this summer. Granted, it's only been three weeks, and he hasn't yet gone through the grind of a complete game, but speculation of what might happen in at least five months is just that: speculation.

The reality is that the stretched ligaments from a high ankle sprain can linger. As coach Jeff Fisher said, "A high-ankle mechanism is serious stuff. There was a lot of separation in there last year. He tried to play through on it and he couldn't.

"You have options. You can go in and fix it (surgically) and you're talking about four to six months. Or you can just rehab it, which he did. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer. But he's really not having any issues. He's doing fine."

--The streak is over. Until Wednesday (Aug. 15), the Rams had been the only team in the NFL not to make any roster moves since the start of training camp. Just before camp opened for the Rams, they waived guard Michael Hay and cornerback Jeremy Caldwell, and signed fullback Ovie Mughelli. Until Wednesday, they had been one under the league roster limit of 90 players.

However, with only 10 wide receivers in camp and two of them - Danario Alexander and Brandon Gibson - on the sideline, the Rams added two receivers with fresh legs to the roster and waived rookie tight end Jamie Childers. That now gives them 90 players on the roster with the addition of Brandyn Harvey and Charles Gilbert.

Said coach Jeff Fisher, "We just got a couple guys that are still a couple days away from coming back. The numbers are down so both Brandyn and Charles had really outstanding workouts. They're both in good shape, ran well, caught the ball. We need some guys to help us practice and it's an opportunity for them."

Harvey, from Villanova, was a rookie free agent with Atlanta in 2010, and was waived from reserve/injured with an injury settlement on Sept. 13. He was added to the Falcons' practice squad on Dec. 29 and was then signed to a 2011 contract after the season. He was waived by the Falcons on Sept. 3, and was then briefly on the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad until Sept. 21.

Gilbert, from Concordia (Minn.), was in training camp this summer as a rookie free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars until being waived Monday.

Two days later, the Rams added defensive tackle John Gill and punter Tom Malone, apparently ceding the latter job to rookie free agent Johnny Hekker.

--Wide receiver Austin Pettis is making a move for a roster spot with a strong camp. Pettis will miss the first two games of the season for the remainder of a suspension for performance enhancing drugs that cost him the final games of the 2011 season.

Asked if Pettis has shown improvement, coach Jeff Fisher said, "Yes he has. He's doing a good job on special teams as well and that's the thing that you don't see. So, he's improved along with the rest of the group."

"Austin's making good decisions. Keeping drives alive and the one play he knew he was hot, he got rid of the ball to the tight end (Mike McNeill) and it was just like, 'bang, bang.' He's playing, at times, like an experienced veteran. He has a really good feel for what we're doing." - Coach Jeff Fisher on undrafted free-agent quarterback Austin Davis.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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