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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Chris Long making impact with St. Louis Rams

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Friday, Nov. 07 2008
    More often than not, Chris Long looked almost lost on the practice fields of
    Concordia University Wisconsin and on into preseason play.

    From the Internet message boards to talk radio, some fans and observers
    wondered if Long could cut it as an NFL defensive end.

    "Some people were freaking out a little bit during training camp," Long said.
    "Early on, I think people thought the sky was falling when I didn't immediately
    look like an All-Pro around here.

    "But I just kind of kept at it, and I've used some of the tips and help from
    the older guys. I've been blessed to have guys like Leonard Little and James
    Hall at end, and La'Roi (Glover) inside. I just kept working hard and a couple
    plays came my way."

    A lot of athletes studiously try to avoid the sports page or talk radio. They
    don't want to know what's being said about them or their team.

    Not Long.

    "I read everything and I pay attention to everything," he said. "Sometimes for
    motivation, just 'cause I want to know."

    So did that early criticism motivate him? "Yeah," Long said. "I'm motivated
    anyways. I was the No. 2 pick in the draft. I find a reason to be (upset) every
    day."

    These days, no one around Rams Park is freaking out over Long's play. Eight
    games certainly doesn't make a career. Long is far from a finished product. But
    he has improved steadily with each game and is showing up more and more on the
    stat sheet and in the opposing backfield.

    "He's really coming along very well," coach Jim Haslett said. "He's actually a
    little ahead of schedule in some of the things that we thought he was going to
    be slow on."

    Midway through his rookie season, Long leads all NFL rookies with four sacks.
    He has 39 tackles, which is sixth-best on the Rams, a team-high eight
    quarterback hurries, plus a fumble recovery.

    Those numbers are well ahead of anything put up by the rest of the top 2008
    draft picks on the defensive line. On Sunday in the Meadowlands, Long will go
    head-to-head in a sense against Vernon Gholston, who along with Long was
    considered the top pass-rusher in the draft.

    The New York Jets made Gholston the No. 6 overall pick in the draft. The Rams
    brought Gholston in for a pre-draft visit, and until just before the draft were
    at least giving the impression that he was high on their list.

    But Gholston has struggled trying to switch from college end to NFL rush
    linebacker in the Jets' 3-4 scheme. He has yet to start, and in recent weeks
    has been reduced to playing special teams.

    "Vernon is making some progress," Jets coach Eric Mangini said Wednesday, via
    conference call. "He's now made the transition from hand-in-the-dirt play-in
    and play-out, to outside linebacker. And there's a lot that goes into that. But
    he works at it, and I'd say that like all the rookies that we have, each one
    gets a little better each week with experience, with reps, and with practice."

    More often than not, elite pass rushers in college seem to struggle early in
    the NFL. How come?

    "I'd say the one thing that stands out right away is there's nobody on the
    schedule from a directional school, there's no homecoming games," Mangini said.
    "There's none of that stuff. Everybody you play against is really, really good,
    and they study who they're playing against and they understand what your
    techniques are, what your strengths are, and they counter those things."

    Not unlike Gholston, Long was doing a lot of thinking, instead of reacting,
    during training camp and the preseason as he made the adjustment from a 3-4
    "two-gap" end, to a 4-3 end playing more on the perimeter. At times, Haslett
    said it was frustrating watching Long's early struggles. "All of a sudden, it
    just clicked one day," Haslett said.

    Long reached a point where he relaxed and started reacting instead of thinking.

    "He still makes a mistake once in awhile that (upsets) you," Haslett said. "But
    for the most part, he's really got a good grasp of everything."

    Long admits he keeps an eye on how the other top draft picks are doing,
    although he doesn't pay attention to their statistics. For Long, things seem to
    be less painful than they were in training camp..

    "It's been a little bit easier than I thought," Long said. "At this point, if
    you had told I would've made a couple plays, I wouldn't have believed you. ...
    Learning the defense, the speed of the game, I'm finally getting adjusted to.
    Now it's just a matter of preparation and improving my technique every week."
    Jackson unable to practice
    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Friday, Nov. 07 2008
    By Steven Jackson's estimation, it will take "something miraculous" for him to
    meet coach Jim Haslett's demand that he participate in a complete practice
    before being allowed to suit up for Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

    Jackson, who strained his right thigh muscle Oct. 19 against Dallas, didn't
    practice Wednesday or Thursday, which leaves him only today to fulfill
    Haslett's requirement.

    Is that possible?

    "A full practice? Probably not, to be honest with you," Jackson said Thursday.
    "I'm surely hoping that ... something miraculous will happen tonight so that I
    feel like I can give a full practice, like he wants."

    After sitting out Oct. 26 at New England, Jackson practiced lightly last week.
    He told Haslett he was ready after working out before Sunday's game against
    Arizona. But Jackson was still hampered by the injury, as he picked up only 17
    yards on seven carries. "My change of direction and bursting in and out of the
    hole are just not there yet," he explained.

    Haslett decided that this time, Jackson would have to prove himself at
    practice. "If he doesn't go tomorrow, then he won't play in the game on
    Sunday," Haslett repeated Thursday.

    Still, Jackson thinks he might have a little wiggle room left.

    "I'm hoping that maybe even Saturday, if I can during the walk-through have my
    own personal practice and see if I'm able to burst, then maybe (Haslett will)
    let that slide," he said.

    RUNNING BACK CAROUSEL

    Newcomers Kenneth Darby and Samkon Gado again took all the snaps at running
    back with the first team. Antonio Pittman (hamstring) did some running on the
    side and might try to practice today. Travis Minor (concussion) is scheduled
    for another neurological exam today.

    Defensive end Eric Moore (neck) also missed a second successive day of practice.

    CARRIKER IMPROVING

    Defensive tackle Adam Carriker was limited Thursday but reported that his left
    ankle, sprained in the Cowboys game, is "coming along" and that he figures to
    see increased action Sunday.

    Carriker was on the field for 28 of the Cardinals' 75 snaps and said he's close
    to being ready for a full workload.

    A HELPING HAND

    Not counting his thumbs, defensive lineman Victor Adeyanju has just four
    healthy fingers at his disposal. Two fingers on his right hand were injured in
    training camp and have been taped heavily all season. He hurt two fingers on
    his left hand vs. the Cowboys, and they, too, are wrapped up.

    "It's not fun, but you know what? Right about this time, everyone's banged-up,"
    Adeyanju said.

    BASSEY HOLDS JOB

    After Todd Johnson suffered a bruised kidney vs. Dallas, Haslett summoned
    fellow safety Eric Bassey from the practice squad and turned over Johnson's
    heavy special-teams load to him.

    Bassey, a second-year pro who got into eight games last season, mostly on
    special teams, paid Haslett back by getting three tackles on punt coverage last
    Sunday.

    "So, he keeps his job," Haslett said. "It makes me feel good that we're keeping
    some guys around here that can come in and help us in those situations. I'm
    fired-up for him. ... He deserves to be up."

    RAM-BLINGS

    Bryan Cox, an East St. Louisan who played 12 seasons in the NFL, is the Jets'
    assistant defensive line coach. ... Haslett was 1-1 vs. the Jets as head coach
    of the New Orleans Saints.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Chris Long making impact with St. Louis Rams

    But Gholston has struggled trying to switch from college end to NFL rush
    linebacker in the Jets' 3-4 scheme. He has yet to start, and in recent weeks
    has been reduced to playing special teams.
    Wow. All the fuss that was made over this kid back in March and April seems like an eternity ago. It would appear the NFL didn't see the YouTube "Godlike" video that convinced so many of Gholston's inevitable rise to the level of Lawrence Taylor.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Long
    "I read everything and I pay attention to everything," he said. "Sometimes for motivation, just 'cause I want to know."
    Allrighty then.....listen to this Chris. Within the next two years, this defense will become YOUR defense. YOU, along with Carriker, Atogwe, maybe Bartell will be guiding the next generation of young defenders on this roster. The core is there, the front office appears to be moving towards competency to provide the roster with young talent. Now it's up to you and the others to bring it together.

    Of course, first you have to master the 4-3 End........but after that....
    "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

  3. #3
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    Re: Chris Long making impact with St. Louis Rams

    Long is going to be a great player. I have had this gut feeling for a long time. Thank god the Phins decided to take Jake rather than Chris. But what's going to be fun, is watching these two go against each other.

    We have a young line, a decent one at that. Under a few more years together, they're going to be something special.

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    KoaKoi is offline Registered User
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    Re: Chris Long making impact with St. Louis Rams

    [quote=Mooselini;256933]Thank god the Phins decided to take Jake rather than Chris. quote]


    Well i'm not so sure Marc Bulger and his aching ribs agree much with you in that assessment. after all, had the fins taken chris... i doubt we'd be having quite as many discussions over how bad the O-line is. James Hall has looked a ton better now that his ankle is healthy and adeyanju has improved as well... so i'm not sure the DE position would necessarily be "falling apart" had Rams gotten jake instead of chris.

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    Mooselini's Avatar
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    Re: Chris Long making impact with St. Louis Rams

    [quote=KoaKoi;256982]
    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    Thank god the Phins decided to take Jake rather than Chris. quote]


    Well i'm not so sure Marc Bulger and his aching ribs agree much with you in that assessment. after all, had the fins taken chris... i doubt we'd be having quite as many discussions over how bad the O-line is. James Hall has looked a ton better now that his ankle is healthy and adeyanju has improved as well... so i'm not sure the DE position would necessarily be "falling apart" had Rams gotten jake instead of chris.
    Oh no. I'm not saying that the DE position would be falling apart. Trust me, it is a very tough argument when it comes to the J & C Long argument.

    The offensive line would be better. Without a doubt.

    But with Long in the defensive line, they have played better. It's exciting to see Long in the QB's face alot. It's really fun.

    But imagine what the offense might look like had we drafted Jake.

    AHHHH see what I mean?! Both are such good players and we would've benefited regardless of which direction we went.

    However, you and I can probably agree, that Chris Long was a great pick considering who was available. One thing it does is gives us our core defensive line players for years. (Ryan, Carriker and Long). Adeyanju may make his name on that list when Little retires because both him and Hall are up there in age.

  6. #6
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    Re: Chris Long making impact with St. Louis Rams

    Yeah the best part is the Dolphins made the decision for us lol. But OT should be our top priority in the draft, unless Oher and Andre Smith are off the board and Ray Malalugaogobuga is sitting there....

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    Re: Chris Long making impact with St. Louis Rams

    I think Michael Oher is way better than Jake Long. If Oher is gone by the time we pick, Smith and Monroe are also very good tackles.

  8. #8
    btimsah Guest

    Re: Chris Long making impact with St. Louis Rams

    I guess my criticisms of Long worked.... It was probably Haslett.

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