Greg "the Leg" is a go for launch.
Los Angeles Rams field goal kicker, Greg Zuerlein, kicked seven field goals during the team's last full practice before the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Zuerlein injured his left foot during halftime of the Rams NFC Championship victory over the New Orleans Saints, and was in a walking boot a few days after the game.
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The All-Pro placekicker drilled the game-tying field goal at the end of regulation, and then stunned the Saints crowd at the Superdome when he converted a 57-yard field goal in overtime to send the Rams to the Super Bowl.
"He felt good," Rams head coach Sean McVay told Pro Football Writers of America pool reporter Charean Williams after practice on Friday. "He hit the ball well. He hit the kickoffs and his field goals really well. That's kind of what we expected, that's what we hoped, and he'll be ready to go."
However, Zuerlein wasn't the only injury concern for the NFC Champions, cornerback and special teams player, Blake Countess had been nursing a foot injury all week, and he too was able to participate in practice for the first time on Friday.
"Blake was good too," McVay told Williams. "He was full. His foot felt good. He responded well, and he ended up having a good day today, moving around. Both those guys look like they're going to be ready to go for the game."
Now that the Rams are relatively close to full strength, their head coach says they expect to hoist the Lombardi Trophy once the dust settles on Sunday.
"We're going into this game as healthy as you could hope for," McVay told Williams. "Now, really it's about just tightening things up, making sure we clean up any of the last little details, a little bit over 48 hours out. There's a confidence that I think has been earned. Certainly, we respect the Patriots, but we're coming here with the expectation of winning the game."
Todd Gurley also looked good in practice and is expected to be a major part of the Rams offense on Sunday, despite the fact that he only got five touches for 13 yards against the Saints.
“He didn’t have that many touches, but he still played a good amount of snaps [against the Saints],” McVay told Williams. “We just weren’t able to run it as much as we’d like to, because New Orleans did a nice job stopping us. Then, we were in some two-minute situations at the end of the game and the end of the half where you’re more inclined to throw it. He should be good. But I think really our team, as a whole, is feeling really good just having two weeks since our last game and looking forward to the challenge and competing to the best of our ability.”
The three-time Pro Bowler went to college at Georgia, and is a fan favorite in Atlanta, host of the 53rd Super Bowl. After a bad performance in the NFC Championship game, Gurley expects to bounce back in a big way in the biggest game of his professional career.
The weather was a nice 55 degrees, and the sun was shining in Flowery Branch, Georgia underneath a cloudless sky. That allowed the Rams to practice on natural grass and alternate work between the first-team offense and the first-team defense. Music was also played for the first time, but more for fun and entertainment, rather than to simulate crowd noise inside Mercedes Benz Stadium.
“Typically what we do is we’ll really blare it depending on if we’re at home or away,” McVay told Williams.. “If we’re on the road, it’ll be blaring during offensive periods. If we’re at home, it’ll be during defensive periods. Now, in a static environment, we just kind of had it in the background. Hopefully there will be more Rams fans than Patriots, but you never know.”
The Rams are now 48 hours away from kickoff, and will leave Flowery Branch for downtown Atlanta on Saturday. The team expects to tour the Mercedes Benz stadium for the first time, as they go through a walk through before the big game.
"We’ll go over to the stadium and allow the families and friends who are here to come over and enjoy that," added McVay. "That will be more of an appreciation with all the people that are here to share in this journey with our players and our coaches. Then, we’ll have quick, little meetings tomorrow night. We’ll get up on Sunday and have some walk-throughs and meetings and anxiously await that kickoff at 6:30 or whatever it is.”
After that, McVay and his players will try to get some rest before the big game. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30PM PT on Sunday, February 3, 2019.