“This St. Louis Rams team, you have to go on the road, this is a team that’s not a lot different than us that has been a little downtrodden that’s now starting to make some progress, it is clear to see. This is a team that having been out in Arizona I saw a lot of and clearly can see this is a well-coached team, they’re getting better, they’ve had a couple big-timers that are still around starting with RB Steven Jackson that’s as good as any back in the league and looks like he’s playing as good as he’s played. He’s big, strong, breaks a lot of tackles. He can run inside and outside; very good in the pass game; has very good hands and they use him in the pass game in a number of different ways. He has been a good player, continues to be a good player and like I said is probably playing at as high a level as I’ve seen. They’ve got this receiver, number 16 (WR Danny Amendola) that gets a lot of balls thrown his way. He’s a competitive receiver; he’s also a very good returner in both kickoffs and punts. He gives you a full day’s work – quick, fast, makes a lot of plays for them. QB Sam Bradford is a young quarterback I thought a lot of coming out. I thought he had the chance to be a real good quarterback in the league and he’s showing up that that’s the way it’s going to go for him. He’s got great composure for a young quarterback. He does a very good job running the offense, looks like he understands exactly what they want as a coaching staff and he does a very good job managing the game and giving them a chance to compete and win each and every week. It looks like he’s going to be a real good quarterback and is making progress every week, clearly. They’ve got a couple good tight ends, a little banged up at that position. The receiver position is banged up but they’ve had a bunch of guys come in and look like they’re having fun making plays. I will say, across the board offensively, they’re a very well-coached team.
“Defensively, they are an up-and-coming defense that does a number of things pressure-wise, disguise-wise to give you a lot of problems. This is a team that you’ve got to watch a lot of tape on. They know what they’re doing, they know what their coaches are trying to get out of them and what to expect, they understand the defense very well it appears to me. Up front they’ve got DE (Chris) Long and DE James Hall who’s been around a long time but just every year I’ve ever played against him, even going back to when I was in Chicago, James Hall is a full day’s work rusher. He’s got 7.5 sacks. DT (Fred) Robbins is another disruptive inside defensive linemen. Really the defense starts with those linemen. They are good, they’re disruptive, they’re disciplined, they’re active and they play hard. The linebacker crew is a good one. They have a good, young linebacker in (James) Laurinaitis that is all over the place, 100 tackles, very smart football player, a guy we had in here and spent a lot of time with and liked him a bunch. They’ve got a tough secondary that’s physical. I will say that this defense is very well-coached, it’s clear to see on tape that they know what’s expected of them.
“On special teams, they’ve got a real good punter, kicker and like I said, the returner is a dangerous returner. They’ve got a couple cover guys in LB (Chris) Chamberlain, some linebackers that aren’t front-line on defense but they’re big-timers covering kicks along with a couple fullbacks that really do a great job. This is a team much like us, they’re in a situation where they’re trying to prove themselves just like we are and trying to become a good team. This has to be a great week of preparation for us and it ought to be a fun Sunday.”
Q: How does RB Steven Jackson compare to the two backs that you have?
HALEY: “He’s a totally different back. I think the reason why you’ve seen this guy staying on the scene for an extended period of time as being one of the top guys, whether the team’s been struggling or not, he’s always there, he’s a workhouse back. He’s the complete package in my mind. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, he can catch and he plays with great intensity. He’s a handful and he is a workhorse back that gets a lot of carries each year, year-in and year-out and it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down at all.”
Q: Matt is listed as limited. Do you have any further description of what went on at practice?
HALEY: “No, just that it’s truly going to be a day-to-day thing with him. That’s not on any kind of level of secrecy, it’s just I don’t think we’ll know. We’ve got to just see how he responds each and every day.”
Q: During the period that we saw, it looked like he was doing most of the stuff. Is it just how he reacts to that stuff or if he’s able to do most and/or all of it?
HALEY: “Yeah, I think a little bit of both. Again, it’s not your normal injury situation that you normally deal with. There are a lot of factors in play that I would prefer to stay out of.”
Q: Have you ever had a quarterback in your time coaching that had to deal with an appendectomy?
HALEY: “No. I had a center in Chicago, Olin Kreutz, (he) had one when they first started that arthroscopic procedure, a little more modern technique that allows guys to come back a lot quicker. That’s the only guy I can remember in season having to deal with it.”
Q: How long was he out for?
HALEY: “I was going to do the research on it, I had (head athletic trainer) Dave (Price) checking on it. I think he missed a game, but I don’t know what day it happened on for sure or things like that.”