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Rams get used to London

Published October 23, 2012 8:45 pm

NFL notes • St. Louis arrives early for game against New England.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Things are moving quickly for Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams as they deal with a change of continents and time zones.

Now their bodies just have to catch up in time for the annual NFL game in London on Sunday against the New England Patriots.

The Rams (3-4) arrived at Heathrow airport early Tuesday morning, and a few hours later they were on a wet field in Regent's Park in central London doing drills with local school children to show off the American version of football.

Not much time for resting up so far for the NFL's latest ambassadors to Europe.

"I can hardly believe we're here in London," Bradford said between drills. "Probably less than 12 hours ago we were back in St. Louis in a team meeting. … I think everyone was a little bit tired on the bus ride here, but that's why we got here so early in the week so that we could acclimate ourselves to the jet lag and get accustomed to the time difference. So hopefully by Sunday it'll be a non-factor."

The Rams are hosting the Patriots at Wembley Stadium in the sixth regular-season game played in Britain. The Patriots, who also played at Wembley in 2009, are practicing at home this week before arriving on Friday.

As the home team, Bradford said the Rams are also taking their ambassadorial duties seriously and want to have a visible presence in London to help boost the game's popularity.

"I think it would be really easy for us to come over here and lock ourselves up at the hotel and just go through our normal routines," Bradford said. "But I think this is a great chance for the NFL to expand their game beyond the states."

Holmgren may make return to coaching

On his way out as Browns president, Mike Holmgren would not rule out a return to coaching in the NFL.

Holmgren, who is stepping down after three years in Cleveland, would not commit Tuesday to staying for the remainder of this season to work with new owner Jimmy Haslam. Holmgren said he would like to help Haslam and incoming CEO Joe Banner in their transition, but doesn't know if that will be possible.

"I want to feel like I'm contributing," Holmgren said. "If I could help one player or one coach be a little better and I feel like I'm contributing, that could happen."

Holmgren said one of his only regrets during his time with the Browns was "we did not win enough games. I'm hoping the table is set for the future."

As for his own future, Holmgren said he misses coaching and hinted at a return to the sideline.

"I don't know," said the 64-year-old, who led Green Bay and Seattle to the Super Bowl, winning one title with the Packers. "I do miss the coaching part."

Bears know offense must improve

Eventually, the Chicago Bears defense will need help.

The Bears hoped the running game and a diversified passing attack would come around to complement quarterback Jay Cutler's throws to Brandon Marshall on offense, but after four straight wins and a 13-7 victory over the Detroit Lions on Monday night they know they've got a ways to go to assist their ball-hawking defense.

"We're still trying to find our way on offense," Marshall said. "There's some chemistry missing there, but you've got to expect that in a first-year offense."

In a 41-3 win Oct. 7 over Jacksonville, the offense struggled through a poor first half. The offense started slow in a win over Dallas and against Detroit it started fast but bogged down and needed the defense to force four turnovers to preserve the win. With a difficult schedule coming up, the Bears know they'll need both aspects of the team functioning well.

"In the second quarter, we got a little stagnant but we adjusted well," Cutler said.

Suh unlikely to be fined for Cutler hit

Ndamukong Suh appears to be in the clear on his big hit on Cutler, and the Bears' quarterback and others said Tuesday that's just how it should be.

Suh sacked Cutler violently to the ground late in the first half of Monday's 13-7 Bears win, injuring Cutler's ribs and resuscitating talk that he's a dirty player.

A league spokesman told the Detroit Free Press the play was legal, and Cutler said on his weekly radio show on Chicago's WMVP-AM (1000) that the play was "clean" and Suh is "a good player."

"It was a tough hit and he caught me just right," Cutler said on his radio show, via the Chicago Tribune. "It was an awkward fall more than anything."

Marshall took exception to the hit, tweeting to Suh, "What u did to Jay wasn't cool. Great players don't have to do that." And, "Something I've learned and now passing down to you. Succeed with character".

Around the league

Jaguars • With Maurice Jones-Drew out with a sprained left foot, Jacksonville signed running back Keith Toston and waived rookie defensive end Ryan Davis. Toston will back up Rashad Jennings, who will start Sunday's game at Green Bay in place of Jones-Drew.

Bills •Nicholas Stracick, CEO and president of the Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex, unveiled a proposal to build a $1.4 billion waterfront sports and entertainment facility that would include a 70,000-plus-seat, retractable-roofed stadium to one day serve as the Bills' new home and preserve their long-term future in western New York.

Packers • Green Bay will benefit from an NFL stadium construction program included in the league's new collective bargaining agreement. League owners have approved the Packers' request for $58 million to help renovate Lambeau Field, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed.

Redskins • Washington released running back Ryan Grant and brought back running back Keiland Williams. Grant was signed last month after a pair of injuries left the backfield depleted behind starter Alfred Morris. The former Green Bay Packers back appeared in only one game with Washington, rushing once for five yards. Williams started three games and rushed for 261 yards as an undrafted rookie with the Redskins in 2010. He spent last season and the first part of this season with the Detroit Lions before being released last week. —

Week 8 schedule

Thursday

• Tampa Bay at Minnesota, 6:20 p.m., NFL Network

Sunday

• Jacksonville at Green Bay, 11 a.m.

• Indianapolis at Tennessee, 11 a.m.

• Carolina at Chicago, 11 a.m.

• Miami at N.Y. Jets, 11 a.m.

• San Diego at Cleveland, 11 a.m.

• Atlanta at Philadelphia, 11 a.m.

• Seattle at Detroit, 11 a.m.

• Washington at Pittsburgh, 11 a.m.

• New England vs. St. Louis at London, 11 a.m.

• Oakland at Kansas City, 2:05 p.m.

• N.Y. Giants at Dallas, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 13

• New Orleans at Denver, 6:20 p.m., ESPN

Open • Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Houston

Monday

• San Francisco at Arizona, 6:30 p.m., ESPN