Atogwe Returns to Practice
By Nick Wagoner
It’s been a long, frustrating wait with plenty of starts and stops but free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe finally returned to the practice field on Monday.
Atogwe has been out of action because of a hamstring injury since the opening days of camp. Aside from a one-day return, Atogwe has not been on the practice field since.
“You kind of forget the veteran presence that he brings to the back end,” coach Scott Linehan said. “He really has been, obviously, coming on the last couple years for us at safety and I’ve said it all along, he’s been one of our most improved ascending young players we’ve had since I’ve been here. We’ve kind of missed that here this camp and I think he looked pretty sharp.”
The return of Atogwe is only more good news for a defense that has been particularly effective in the past two weeks.
The Rams are taking an approach similar to the one they are using with running back Steven Jackson in order to get Atogwe back up to speed. Atogwe won’t be staying late for a form of simulated workouts but he did take extra repetitions with the second and third defense after working with the starting group.
“It’s a trying situation whenever you are being prevented from doing something you want to do,” Atogwe said. “It’s a little challenging but you learn stuff in that and come back stronger. I have been the No. 1 cheerleader on that sideline. The boys have been playing great, making a lot of plays, stopping a lot of guys, playing with a lot of mental toughness and a lot of energy and it’s just encouraging for me for when I do return to jump on board and just be a part of that.”
Atogwe missed the team’s minicamp in May because of a hamstring issue. He believes that something didn’t heal right at that time and that’s why he played so little before hitting the sidelines again.
Since he was unable to play, Atogwe has spent plenty of time working on the sidelines and riding the bike to keep his legs strong.
“It was a little hamstring hiccup,” Atogwe said. “It’s probably a little left over from some scar tissues that didn’t quite go away like I wanted to but it just came back and crept up on me. It’s good to go now.”
It remains to be seen whether Atogwe will play in the preseason finale against Kansas City. The Rams have only one more practice scheduled (tomorrow) before that game and two practices might not be enough to get Atogwe on the field.
For his part, Atogwe says he’ll take any chance to get on the field and get re-acquainted with collisions.
“That’s up to the coaches,” Atogwe said. “I love playing. If they want me to play this week I am going to go out there and play. If they don’t want me to play, I won’t play. Anytime I get the opportunity to play, I am going to play.”
BENTLEY VISITS: Perhaps unsettled by an uncertain center situation, the Rams brought in accomplished veteran LeCharles Bentley for a visit on Monday.
Bentley has not been offered a contract and any potential deal did not seem imminent. Bentley took a physical in the morning and got a tour of the training facility.
Bentley is recovering from a series of leg injuries that have kept him out of football the past two seasons. He asked for and received his release from Cleveland in June.
As it stands, the Rams have Brett Romberg competing with Nick Leckey for the starting job in the middle of the offensive line. Romberg has been dealing with a broken hand the past three weeks while Leckey has taken most of the repetitions and made the past two starts in preseason games.
JACKSON WORKS: Jackson got his second opportunity to participate in a full team practice Monday afternoon and continued his accelerated work load.
Jackson got carries with the first, second and third team offense in an effort to get him as many plays as possible.
“You know Steven’s got three real strong days on the mental and physical,” Linehan said. “We’ve done a lot of workouts prior to now. He came in at such a time where we were in game mode and walk-through mode that we had to accelerate that. He’s really had four straight days of some pretty physical workouts, at least on the conditioning side. Haven’t been able to play tackle football yet with him, but we’ll put the pads on him tomorrow and keep pushing that.”
Like Atogwe, no decision has been made on his status for the Kansas City contest, either.
“I haven’t decided yet; I’d say the chance is low,” Linehan said. “Right now he’s still in exempt status and that could effect what we do for Thursday as well so we don’t have to lose a roster spot for the game if we weren’t going to play him much.”
INJURY REPORT: Atogwe wasn’t the only injured Ram back working Monday. Left tackle Orlando Pace (bicep soreness) and Brian Leonard (shoulder) also returned to the practice field.
Tight end Joe Klopfenstein didn’t participate in the work out because of a reaction to some medication. Klopfenstein suffered from a leg infection late last week. He was given antibiotics after he re-opened the infection and had a reaction to it. His return is expected in short order.
Cornerback Fakhir Brown (shoulder) is still out but Linehan thinks Brown is closer to a return though that could still be a week or so away.
“He’s still a little uncomfortable and we’re evaluating what to do this week to make sure we do to everything possible to make him feel comfortable with where his shoulder is at,” Linehan said. “I know he feels better. He’s not 100 percent. He’s getting closer, but he’s been really working hard. I bet he’s in about as good of running shape as he’s been in a long time. He’s running extremely hard here in the last couple of weeks.”
Receiver Drew Bennett (strained groin), returner Dante Hall (sprained ankle), linebacker David Vobora (ankle) and Will Witherspoon (groin) also sat out Monday’s practice.
Tight end Anthony Becht (hamstring) did some limited work in team drills.
Re: Atogwe Returns to Practice
Best news I've heard since Jackson signed his extension.
Atogwe wasn’t the only injured Ram back working Monday. Left tackle Orlando Pace (bicep soreness) and Brian Leonard (shoulder) also returned to the practice field.
Re: Atogwe Returns to Practice
I agree. Hopefully the team injury list is all but gone by week 1.
Originally Posted by HUbison