Rams' Linehan stops practice in attempt to send message

MEQUON, Wis. -- St. Louis Rams coach Scott Linehan briefly halted the second practice of the day on Wednesday, imploring players to persevere through the warmest day of training camp.

The ninth practice of camp began in 89-degree heat, more like conditions the team thought it was escaping when it moved 400 miles north this summer. Linehan called the team to the middle of the field and could be heard yelling before the practice resumed.

"It was between myself and the team," Linehan said. "More than anything, it was the hottest day we've had and it was a challenging day.

"There were a lot of guys taking a lot of extra reps because of guys not being in there."

Linehan did not want players using a heavier workload and adverse conditions as an excuse. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders had a similar message earlier in the practice after noticing the effort level declining.

"If you're not going to do this right, you'll be out of here," Saunders said. "There'll be no compromising. Do your job."

For Linehan, it was an opportunity to remind the team not to get comfortable in their summer surroundings. Generally, temperatures have been 10-15 degrees cooler than in St. Louis, where the Rams trained the previous three years.

"Sometimes that's the way it's going to be in games and you've got to train yourself," Linehan said. "It's going to be like that when we play on the road early in the heat and it's going to be like that in Tennessee next week, and we've got to get ourselves prepared."

The Rams and Titans will practice together for two days next week in Nashville.

Saunders said Linehan's message served as a wakeup call.

"This was a humid day for us and sometimes they need to be made aware that the standard performance is not acceptable, that we've got to fight through these things," Saunders said.

"Coach pulled them up and talked to them, and after that I thought the tempo was excellent."

Linehan eased up at the end of practice, with players giving a big cheer in the middle of the field after he informed them he was canceling night meetings.

"They've been working very hard, and they need a little break," said Linehan, who added players could use the time to get treatment and to "get away from the coaches."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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