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Jeff Fisher says Odell Beckham could be 'all-time best'

LONDON -- Todd Gurley reared back to throw a rugby ball down a steep hill through spitting rain to his All-Pro defensive tackle teammate.

"Aaron, go deep!"

With an England rugby sign overhead and the woods behind him, the contrast between the American football players' usual Los Angeles digs and their quaint Pennyhill Hotel locale could not have been more stark.

The ball fell well short and to the right. Aaron Donald shook his head, his practice work done for the day, off down a dirt path back to do whatever professional athletes do while holed up in a five-star British hotel and spa.

The Rams have spent three days adjusting to life an hour southwest of London's center, hoping that the extra time getting acclimated is an advantage against the Giants, who fly from New York on Friday.

"We talked to them in advance. We told them today is the day you are going to feel better. We tell them they are going to feel better. And they feel better," Jeff Fisher cracked to the media on Thursday after a two-hour practice.

Here are some takeaways from Thursday's Rams session for the media:

  1. Odell Beckham takes up a lot of airspace overseas, just like in the United States. Rams coach Jeff Fisher spent half his press conference Thursday talking about Beckham, including saying that he has to go down as "one of the all-time best" receivers.

"He takes a slant and goes 70 yards ... There's not a lot of guys other than Julio (Jones) that can do that," Fisher said.

The Rams coach also downplayed any downside that comes from Beckham's emotions, saying that his emotions partly make him great.

"Every play is important to him," Fisher said. "He blocks. He's into the offense."

Fisher said that Beckham has "settled down completely" the last few games.

The Rams' secondary insisted it won't try to bait Beckham into a meltdown, assuming he plays after missing practice Wednesday and Thursday. Then again, some of the Rams' defensive leaders, from linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety T.J. McDonald, were involved in Beckham losing his cool the last time these teams played.

  1. Fisher repeated his stance that you'd be "hard pressed" to find a cornerback playing better than former Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, now with the Giants. Fisher noted Jenkins can play within the scheme and track the best opposing wide receiver when asked.

Rams tight end Lance Kendricks said he doesn't expect anything less than a lot of trash talking coming from his former teammate.

Jenkins' excellent play stands in contrast to the play of the Rams secondary, especially against Detroit last week. Rams No. 1 cornerback Trumaine Johnson was seen wearing a brace on his high ankle sprain Thursday and is not expected to play this week. The Rams chose to keep Johnson with the franchise tag and were not able to retain Jenkins in free agency.

  1. Robert Quinn, a 2013 All-Pro selection, is expected to return to the Rams' lineup this week, Fisher confirmed. Quinn, who missed the last 3 games, practiced fully. His absence has directly impacted Aaron Donald's production the last two weeks.

"The attention goes to Aaron," Fisher said about what's happened to Donald the last few games. "It goes right to Aaron. ... Basically when (Quinn) is on the edge, the firepower on the edge there requires help. Takes one person out of the route distribution."

It's hard to overstate Quinn's importance to this defense. Having one All-Pro defensive lineman is a huge edge. Having two on the same team is a problem for opponents with no easy solutions.

  1. The Rams love their location this week, although the resort is not 100% made for 21st-century athletes. It's looked like some bad Benny Hill routine watching the Rams players all duck their heads through the entryway to the hotel to avoid getting clocked in the head.
  1. This roaming Rams season has taken a toll on some players, while others are embracing.

"It feels like it's been long," running back Todd Gurley said with some resignation of the team's London trip.

Cornerback E.J. Gaines couldn't contain his glee at his entire European adventure.

"Growing up, who would have imagined I'd be playing football in London?"

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