ST. LOUIS (AP) Chris Long lobbied heavily for playing time last week. This week, the St. Louis Rams are likely to grant the defensive end’s wish.
”He’s coming on,” coach Jeff Fisher said after Wednesday’s practice. ”We’ve missed him, we’ve missed his production.”
Long understood Fisher’s reluctance to use him last week, but he’s getting antsy. The Rams (4-7) play the Raiders (1-10) on Sunday.
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”When you’re treating every day and you know you don’t have a shot to be back, it’s tough,” Long said. ”Now, you know you have a chance and that’s what’s exciting for me.”
Shaun Hill’s final-minute goal-line interception was costly in last week’s three-point loss at San Diego and the quarterback acknowledged another game can’t come too soon.
”Yeah, absolutely, the best thing to do is get right back on that horse,” Hill said. ”So, yeah it was good to get back to work today.”
The defense was just as shaky after making consistent improvement for several weeks, getting burned by a San Diego offense that had been struggling. Ryan Mathews had a season-best 105 yards rushing with an 8.8-yard average and Philip Rivers, was 29 for 35 for 291 yards.
Long’s return would put William Hayes back into the rotation.
”That’s my guy,” Hayes said. ”When he’s out there he gives us more life. I can move inside or play outside, and I feel like I’m a lot better when I can move around.”
Long is a stalwart and before undergoing left ankle surgery hadn’t missed a game in six NFL seasons. He’s increased his practice participation since the Rams started the 21-day window to activate him from injured reserve-designated for return.
The surgery was unusual in that tendons surrounding the foot were torn and had to be reattached.
”Structurally you’re good, so it’s not an issue,” Long said. ”With any surgery, you try to get back to what you were.
”You’ll get there eventually, but are you at that point? You have to close the gap that was created.”
Fisher said the Rams have until Monday to activate Long.
”If he thinks I’m ready to roll, I’m ready to roll,” Long said. ”I told you I want to play Sunday. I don’t know what else to say.”
Marcus Gilchrist’s goal-line interception was deflating for the 34-year-old Hill, who said he’s done his best to put it behind him. After flawless play against Denver, Hill had three turnovers against San Diego.
”Some good, some bad, like every game,” Hill said. ”It wasn’t good enough to win. Luckily, today is Wednesday and we’re on to the next opponent.”
NOTES: The Rams are likely to have additional security at Sunday’s game as a precautionary measure against protests from nearby Ferguson, Missouri. In St. Louis’ Monday night game against the 49ers last month, fans in the upper deck unfurled a large banner above the video board and others paraded around the concourse. ”I’d keep a close eye on that situation no matter where it was in America, but it happens to be in our backyard,” Long said. ”You hope they’re able to heal in Ferguson, you pray that everybody can protest peacefully and safely, and that everybody comes out of it all right.”
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