Team and playbook coming together

Jim McElwain surprised his football team with a movie following Saturday’s scrimmage, part of the process of bringing the roster together.

It definitely caught the team off guard, judging from the flow of Tweets sent out that night. But the message he’s trying to get across was not missed. Nor are the benefits.

“I think that’s really helped us out as a team come together,” quarterback Garrett Grayson said.  “Last year, I felt like we really didn’t have the chemistry, and it kind of reflected on our record how we did. I feel like doing those things that make’s you really get to know everybody on a team — and that’s what Mac talks about, say hi to everybody every day.”

The team didn’t practice Sunday, but spent more time together, attending church and having brunch as a group before meetings. When the season hits, McElwain noted the team is pretty much together all the time, but he still hopes to mix in a few team activities along the way.

So far, he’s been impressed with how the roster is bonding off the field.

“Obviously, there’s some team building things you try to do,” McElwain said. “I tell you what, I’ve just noticed our guys, in general, they’re hanging around each other, they’re spending time with each other. They’re not just checking into the locker room and running away. Those are little things that I kind of thing are important in building a team.”

As it turns out, it is the thought that counts, not the movie. The team went to see “The Bourne Legacy,” which had the coach a little more in the dark than the normal dimming of the theater lights.

“We went and saw “The Bourne Legacy” thing, which doesn’t help when you haven’t seen the other ones, so I was lost,” McElwain said. “That’s all I can tell you. Somebody said (Leonardo) DiCaprio was in it, but all I saw were a couple of clips of his face on an ID, so he wasn’t even in there. I know nothing about the series.”

Which is clear, since Matt Damon starred in the first movies.

Looking Back — McElwain was happy with Saturday’s scrimmage, and that assessment didn’t change after combing over the tape. What stood out most to him was the effort, a target from the spring that is starting to be learned.

“I was, because for the most part, overall, they were draining their tanks, and that’s what you need to do,” he said. “Don’t save yourself for anything. So they drained their tanks, and yet, like always, it’s the details. I think the thing they’ve got to understand, it doesn’t matter who you are playing, it will have nothing to do with the team you are playing, it’s about what you do. It’s nothing the other team does, it’s what we do. Or don’t do. That’s kind of the mindset.”

Moving Forward — The Rams are progressing through the installation of the schemes at quicker pace early in fall camp, a compliment to the work the team put in over the summer. It’s also beneficial that the coaching staff can add in more and keep things progressing.

Moving off the base, the team is staring to throw in the corresponding movement that goes along with each play, as well as working on the personnel groupings, which he said will be multiple.

“It’s interesting, because you can tell what the guys did on their own over the summer,” McElwain said. “It looked like recall, so that allowed us now to be a little more aggressive, which, as an offensive guy, I kind of like that.”

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