The release of Mike Karney early this offseason left the Rams with just one option at fullback: converted linebacker Brit Miller.
After impressive work on special teams and two late-season starts at fullback, Miller missed the final two games of 2010 with a knee injury. Because his injury — a torn anterior cruciate ligament — came so late in the season, Miller still has a way to go in his rehabilitation.
"I'll be five months (from surgery) next week and that's kind of a big barrier to get to," Miller said.
But Miller has been running sprints and is just starting to do change-of-direction work.
"That's kind of the final phase of the rehab on ACLs," Miller said. "I hope to get a full season this year, really prove what I can do at fullback. I know (fullback) is not a huge part of what every team does, but I want to be the best at whatever we do. So I look at it as one position: fullback/special teams."
Miller, who played linebacker at the University of Illinois, said he wasn't surprised when Karney was released.
"Because I know," Miller said. "I've been that guy that's been cut. A lot of teams don't like to keep a lot of fullbacks. We have a guy in 'Oh-oh' (tight end Michael Hoomanawanui) that can play fullback, too. ... He was a guy that did a good enough job. So why keep two fullbacks whenever you have the option of doing that?"
Because of his rehab, Miller's work was limited this week during the Rams' informal practices at Lindenwood University and Lutheran South High School. But just being in the huddle and hearing the cadence helped him with the terminology of the new offense.
"Fullback's more of a specialty position these days," he said. "You have to have one in goal line. You have to have one in short yardage. You want to use one coming out (from your own goal line).
"It's just one of those things where I feel like if you have the 'hosses' up front and a good fullback, you can get that yard on third-and-1. Instead of guessing on your passes, guessing the formation, guessing what (defense) they're going to play, why not give it to one of the best running backs of all time? And I think that will stay true as long as we have Steven Jackson here."
Overlooked in most discussions of the Rams' wide receiver corps for 2011 is Dominique Curry, who made the opening-day roster as an undrafted rookie last year in one of the feel-good stories of training camp.
Curry played in two games, blocking a first-quarter punt in Game 3 against Washington. He left later in that same quarter with a torn ACL and partially torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee. Curry suffered the injury when he planted trying to make a tackle on punt coverage.
Seven months removed from surgery, Curry has been rehabbing back home in Philadelphia and says the knee is about 75 percent to 80 percent healthy. But with many of his Rams teammates taking part in this week's practices, Curry couldn't stay away. He arrived Wednesday.
"I just want to see where I'm at, catch a couple passes, hang out with the guys," Curry said. "It has been really tough for me, especially from last year being my first year and getting hurt so early in the season. Not being able to work out in the offseason with the guys is pretty tough."
All things considered, cornerback Bradley Fletcher performed pretty well coming off major knee surgery last year.
"And I'm looking forward to doing even better this coming season," Fletcher said. "Last year was different. I was coming fresh off the injury, getting right on the field. This year I had time to get myself together, and now my knee feels great. Now I can just go. I don't even have to think about it any more."
Chamberlain good to go
Chris Chamberlain, who led the Rams with 19 special teams tackles and also started six games at weakside linebacker last season, ended the year with a small fracture in his wrist and a foot injury. He had surgery on the foot but not on the wrist
"The foot's fine," Chamberlain said. "I had a bone spur — calcium deposit — on the left foot that had just been bugging me."
The wrist healed on it's own with rest and time off.
Besides the pre-draft sessions in Houston, quarterback Sam Bradford also worked with several Rams wide receivers in his home state of Oklahoma just after the draft.
"It was just for a day or so," wide receiver Danny Amendola said.