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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Chris Long and Jake Long meet at Edward Jones Dome

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/28/2008

    Last spring, a sign in front of Lapeer (Mich.) East High proclaimed, "Jake Long Is Our No. 1 Pick, Too!"

    Long, a three-sport star for the Eagles, was the first overall selection in April's NFL draft, which earned him a five-year contract worth $57.75 million, including $30 million in guaranteed funds.

    The Miami Dolphins are footing that bill. Call it a Long shot, but had circumstances been different, the Rams might have Jake Long and not defensive end Chris Long on their payroll and in their lineup.

    After finishing 3-13 last year, the Rams held the No. 2 pick behind the Dolphins, who went 1-15. The Rams, too, coveted Jake Long, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound tackle from the University of Michigan. There were strong indications from the front office that if he were available, he would be the Rams' choice.

    Meanwhile, the Dolphins also were very interested in Chris Long, a 6-3, 263-pound Virginia product. They evaluated him carefully during a pre-draft visit.

    "We got a chance to get to know him, and I thought he was an outstanding guy and an outstanding player," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "At the end of the day, we moved obviously in a different direction and felt that Jake was going to be the best piece for us at the time.

    "But we thought an awful lot about Chris Long ... an awful lot."

    Sparano hinted that the deciding factor was Miami's defensive alignment. The Dolphins play a 3-4, which means they would have had to convert Chris Long to outside linebacker, a transition that Sparano noted "was going to take some time fundamentally."

    Instead, Jake Long stepped directly into the starter's spot at left tackle. "Anything could've happened, but I ended up here," he said. "I'm real glad about the situation I'm in."

    Chris Long realizes how close he was to becoming No. 1 overall. "But I never really hung my hat on anything coming into it," he said. "I totally just had an open mind. Nothing really surprised me."

    MIAMI RESURGENT

    Although he's nursing a sore ankle, Jake Long has given up just 2 1/2 sacks and committed three penalties. "I think I'm getting better every week," he said. "I'm never satisfied with how I do. I want to keep improving. That's just how I am."

    The Dolphins have rebounded dramatically. They'll take a 6-5 record and serious playoff aspirations into Sunday's game against the 2-9 Rams at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "We've made some strides," Long said. "We're a relentless group. Everybody since Day One has been fired up, wanting to win and do great things."

    Long isn't the only newcomer to make an impact in Miami. In January, football-operations director Bill Parcells hired Sparano, who had spent nine seasons as an NFL assistant, the last three as offensive line coach in Dallas. The Dolphins also signed former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington as a free agent; he has kick-started the offense with 2,715 passing yards and a solid 93.7 passer rating.

    The Dolphins are eighth in the 32-team league in total offense and averaging 21.5 points per game. Last year, they ranked 28th and produced 16.7 points per game.

    Still, landing a first-team left tackle in the draft was a major bonus. According to veteran offensive line coach Mike Maser, Long was teeming with potential.

    "I thought he was comparable to Tony Boselli," a five-time Pro Bowler whom Maser coached at Jacksonville. "Attitude, demeanor, philosophy about how to play ... those are all things that Tony had and those are things that Jake has, too. Those are the things that attracted me to Jake.

    "Plus, he's very athletic, too. He's a big man and he's got long arms and he's a strong guy. Those are all things that I'm constantly looking for."

    GOOD FRIENDS

    Chris Long, who received a five-year, $48 million deal, with $29 million guaranteed, also has been in the lineup from the outset. Working mostly from the right side, he has recorded 47 tackles, seventh among the Rams defenders. His four sacks are the most among NFL rookies.

    "It's going OK," Long said. "I didn't expect to come in here and set the world on fire. I don't think any rookie does. I just came in and tried to work hard."

    Coach Jim Haslett noted that Long's play has leveled off a bit lately. "With young guys, this is that time of year where they get tired," Haslett said. "He's going to be a good football player, but there are a lot of things going on in his head. He has to fight through it until the end of the season."

    The Longs who are not related are "good friends," Jake said. "We've met a bunch through All-American banquets and stuff like that." With a laugh, Chris said they're often mistaken for each other. "People still call me Jake," he said. "I think it's funny."

    Assuming that Jake Long's ankle mends, the two will have a reunion of sorts Sunday, lining up helmet-to-helmet when the Dolphins have the ball.

    "That's going to be a lot of fun," Chris Long said. "You can't measure a tackle's season statistically a lot of times; you've got to watch film. I think he's having a great rookie season."

    Back at you, said Jake. "Chris is a great player, plays tough, he's a strong guy, he's quick," he said. "I'm really excited to play against him."


  2. #2
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Chris Long and Jake Long meet at Edward Jones Dome

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/28/2008

    Back at you, said Jake. "Chris is a great player, plays tough, he's a strong guy, he's quick," he said. "I'm really excited to play against him."
    To bad the teams are headed in different directions.
    :ramlogo:

  3. #3
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    Re: Chris Long and Jake Long meet at Edward Jones Dome

    This will be fun to watch. Excited to see these two go at it.

  4. #4
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    Re: Chris Long and Jake Long meet at Edward Jones Dome

    I would like Chris Long and his high motor to dominate Jake Long all game and record 4 sacks. I want to see him near the QB and RB all day. I want him to show the Dolphins he should of been picked 1st overall. Most of all, I want this win. Hey, a guy can dream can't he?

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    huck1974 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Chris Long and Jake Long meet at Edward Jones Dome

    Jake is coming into the game on a bad ankle.
    Nobody has dominated him all year. Even with double teams, he has only given up like 1 sack. He is 6'7 and 315 no fat.
    On a bad ankle I see this as the only week to take advantage of him, although I doubt it. He will be a perennial probowler for the next ten years. I thinkChris Long is very talented and is stuck in the middle of a bit of a mess so to speak.

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