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Rams coach pleased with scripted scrimmage efforts

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — First-year Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo left the Lindenwood University field Friday pleased what his team accomplished during a scripted scrimmage held in front of about 6,500 fans.

But he said he would withhold judgment about how his team executed until after he saw the film.

"I think they got after it pretty good," Spagnuolo said. "There's a lot of the little organizational things that we think we need to clean up, but that's what this scrimmage was for."

The Rams ran approximately 85 plays, most of which mimicked moments Spagnuolo said are pivotal during an actual game. All available players were used to look at how the team handled kickoff coverage, the two-minute drill and a handful of other situations. But stats weren't kept and plays often were stopped to protect players from injury.

Spagnuolo said he was especially interested in how both the offense and defense handled fourth-and-short plays and when the offense had the ball near its own goal line.

"The two situations that we put them in that I thought was key was when we backed up the offense," he said. "That's a big-time important situation in the game on both sides. Fourth downs are critical downs."

Spagnuolo said Friday's scrimmage provided a dress rehearsal of sorts for the Rams, who play their first preseason game August 14 at the New York Jets.

While most first-team players saw significant playing time during the scrimmage, running back Steven Jackson touched the ball only five times. Spagnuolo said he wanted to protect Jackson, who has topped 1,000 rushing yards for four straight years, from injury and was pleased with his performance — much of which came with second- and third-team players on defense.

"We worked the timing of the offense line, once again," Jackson said. "And we played under the lights, it was like a game situation, so it was a good simulation."

Third-year defensive lineman Adam Carriker left the game early after hurting his left ankle, though the severity of the injury wasn't immediately known.

Lindenwood University is a five-minute drive from Rams Park, where the team holds its training camp. The team will watch film and work out, but will not practice Saturday.

Spagnuolo arrived in St. Louis about 5 p.m., an hour-and-half before the game, after attending the funeral for former Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. The two worked in Philadelphia together from 1999 to 2006.