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  1. #1
    Bruce=GOAT's Avatar
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    Alston is ready to show his skills

    Alston is ready to show his skills
    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/30/2007


    If one word could sum up Jon Alston's rookie season with the Rams, it would be frustration. After spending the first 13 weeks on the game-day inactive list last year, a glum Alston said in December that he felt as if he'd been "thrown away and forgotten."

    Alston wasn't blaming anyone for his predicament. A third-round draft pick (No. 77 overall) in 2006, he was the victim of an NFL rule that bans rookies from participating with their team until their college's senior class has graduated. Because Stanford is on a quarters system, Alston was forced to sit out all the organized team activities (OTAs) and the full-squad minicamp last spring.

    Instead of beginning his adjustment to the pro game, Alston was in California, taking one course and working out. "At that point, you don't have too much (classroom) work left," he said. "You're just kind of hanging out and feeling left out."

    As a result, Alston was lost when training camp began, and he scurried to catch up all season as he attempted to learn the Rams' systems on defense and special teams. "It's somewhat of an unfair penalty, I guess, but I understand it," coach Scott Linehan said. "We're not anti-education around here, but we've got a schedule, and unfortunately it doesn't fit for the guys that have to finish up their quarters."


    Alston, who will turn 24 on Monday, suited up for the last three games in 2006. He made an impact on special teams with his speed, hitting and eagerness.

    During this year's OTAs, Alston has been receiving first-team reps at weakside linebacker, as Pisa Tinoisamoa continues his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. "He's getting the crash course," Linehan said. But Alston welcomes the extra work.

    "At first it was a little bit overwhelming, but now I'm starting to feel like I have a grip on the defense," he said. "I think that although I'm not there yet, having these OTAs is going to help me get to the player that I know I can be, which is a real special player."

    After starring at Loyola College Prep in Shreveport, La., Jonhenri Alston chose Stanford for its high-level mix of academics and athletics. Alston, an academic all-stater and National Honor Society member in high school, interned in bio-medical research at Stanford while earning a degree in public policy.

    On the football field, Alston's specialty was pass rushing; his 164 career tackles included 21 sacks. Although the Rams are limiting Alston to linebacker work now, Linehan has considered deploying him as a "box" safety. He would position himself near the line of scrimmage to defend the run and blitz the quarterback.

    At 6 feet and 225 pounds, Alston remains a bit undersized at linebacker. "They definitely want me to bulk up, and that's going to come," he said. "When I showed up last year, I was actually about 229, but it was bad weight from missing all that time. Now, I feel like I've put it on a lot better, and I'll be able to carry that athleticism at that weight."

    His job on defense will be to provide depth, and Alston is realistic about that. "We have some excellent linebackers on this squad, with Pisa, Will (Witherspoon), bringing in (free agent) Chris Draft, and with Brandon Chillar doing as well as he is," he said. "So I really can't expect a whole lot, to be honest, but to contribute whenever I'm asked to contribute and where I'm asked to do it."

    That figures to come mostly on special teams, where Linehan and first-year unit coach Al Roberts envision a heavy load for Alston. "He made an impression on us at the end of the year on special teams," Linehan said.

    Alston assured that he's ready, willing and ó after a year of getting up to speed ó able to take on whatever the Rams toss his way on special teams.


  2. #2
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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    thats awesome to hear that he's ready and willing to do whatever the team needs him to do.... we need more players like that

  3. #3
    The Shredder Guest

    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    He doesn't have the talent to be anymore than a practice squad player.

  4. #4
    Bar-bq's Avatar
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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shredder View Post
    He doesn't have the talent to be anymore than a practice squad player.
    And you're basing this brash and ...characteristic... statement on????

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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    I don't know if he has a lot of talent yet, but we did spend a third round pick on a guy who isn't really large enough to start at his position and he didn't get on the field hardly at all last year. There is plenty of reason not to be opptimistic.

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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    Alot of players have been drafted for positions some may consider undersize.

    For example,

    Shannon Sharpe when drafted undersize for a TE
    Leonard Litlle
    Brian Urlacher

    Most I go on.... Hard to say that Alston pick was wasted I do not think he's done. And if his best days are only on specail teams many players have made a name for themselves in that role.

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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shredder View Post
    He doesn't have the talent to be anymore than a practice squad player.
    I would love to see the evidence you base this on.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  8. #8
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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shredder View Post
    He doesn't have the talent to be anymore than a practice squad player.
    Premature........again!

  9. #9
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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    Ive' come to the conclusion (by reading many post on this board) that shredder dosen't have even a shred of knowledge of what the Rams have or don't have.

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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shredder View Post
    He doesn't have the talent to be anymore than a practice squad player.
    Boy, I didn't see that one coming.

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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    During this year's OTAs, Alston has been receiving first-team reps at weakside linebacker, as Pisa Tinoisamoa continues his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. "He's getting the crash course," Linehan said. But Alston welcomes the extra work.

    "At first it was a little bit overwhelming, but now I'm starting to feel like I have a grip on the defense," he said. "I think that although I'm not there yet, having these OTAs is going to help me get to the player that I know I can be, which is a real special player."
    Its good to hear tha he's getting some reps with the 1st team. Maybe this will help him get up to speed and into the games this year.

  12. #12
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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    Quote Originally Posted by BIG-BLUE View Post
    Ive' come to the conclusion (by reading many post on this board) that shredder dosen't have even a shred of knowledge of what the Rams have or don't have.

    Amen to that. I think if Alston bulks up he could be a great WLB. He works very hard and plays with intensity.

  13. #13
    laramman Guest

    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    i hope the lb position gets alot better

  14. #14
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    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    Quote Originally Posted by CRAZYHORNS View Post
    A lot of players have been drafted for positions some may consider undersize.

    For example, Brian Urlacher* [et al]

    Must I go on.... Hard to say that Alston pick was wasted I do not think he's done. And if his best days are only on specail teams many players have made a name for themselves in that role.

    So true, many players have been considered undersized at first to play a given position in the NFL and end up surprising everybody but themselves. They've got the heart. Zach Thomas, Ernie Conwell (as TE), London Fletcher, etc. Very successful players.

    I trust Alston will be an effective ST player or a specialist in certain defense situations. He's got the heart, I believe.


    *. Crazyhorns, just wanted to make a correction on Urlacher: he's 6-4, 255 lbs. BIG LB! :-)
    Last edited by RealRam; -05-30-2007 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Format

  15. #15
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Alston is ready to show his skills

    I'm looking forward to seeing him play more,i think he's going to surprize some people.

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