Danario Alexander working hard on practice squad ..
BY BILL COATS Thursday, October 7, 2010 12:10 am
This week, he's Calvin Johnson. Last week, he was Deion Branch. Previously, he'd been Santana Moss, Louis Murphy and Larry Fitzgerald.
Such is life after a month in the NFL for former Mizzou record-breaker Danario Alexander. One of Alexander's main tasks as a member of the Rams' eight-man practice squad is to simulate the next opponent's top wide receiver.
"I try to give (the defense) the best look I can give," said Alexander, who added that just being on the practice field every day is helping him progress.
"It benefits me a lot," he said. "I get to actually see defenses and go against our No. 1 defense. It's tremendous that way."
Then on Sundays, Alexander watches from the sideline in street clothes. It can be frustrating, but Alexander realizes that until he regains full strength in his left leg, he's not ready for the rigors of regular-season NFL action.
Alexander has had four operations on his left knee. The knee is going OK; it's his thigh muscle, which had atrophied because of the operations, that must improve.
"He and I have a little game going on," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "We measure his thigh (every week), and he's always giving me one more centimeter or half a centimeter."
The goal is to get both quadriceps muscles to measure equally. Alexander works on his left leg daily in the weight room and with the trainers. "Once I get that back ready, the same size, I'll be ready to go," he said.
"He's doing well, moving around well," Spagnuolo said. "We just want to make sure if we were to do anything — and I'm not saying we would — that you don't put him in a position where he's going to injure something else."
"Do anything" in this case translates into a promotion to the 53-man roster. That won't come soon, but it's not out of the question that Alexander could move up before the end of his rookie season.
"That's the main goal," he said. "Right now, I'm just going to work toward it every day. I'm still in my playbook so in case my number is called, I'll be ready for it. …
"Once I get completely healthy, it'll be on Coach Spags. All I can do is control what I can control, and right now that's building my quad muscle."
JOHNSON GOES ON IR
Rookie cornerback Marquis Johnson, who had been dealing with knee and shoulder injuries, has been placed on injured reserve. Johnson, a seventh-round draft pick out of Alabama who was on the game-day roster for two of the team's four games, will have surgery on both joints.
"He was a real warrior going through that," Spagnuolo said. "But it was kind of wear and tear, and it was just the smart thing to do."
After a week in which he barely had enough healthy bodies to run effective practices, Spagnuolo welcomed back several players who had been on the injury list. Wide receiver Laurent Robinson (foot) was full-go; returning on a limited basis were safety Darian Stewart (hamstring), tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle), tight end Billy Bajema (knee) and linebacker Chris Chamberlain (toe). Also, running back Steven Jackson (groin) and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (thigh) participated in most of the drills.
Defensive tackle Gary Gibson, who injured his shoulder Sunday, sat out. Cornerback Kevin Dockery also was sidelined after tweaking a hamstring vs. the Redskins. Tackle Rodger Saffold left practice early after taking a blow to his left shin. An X-ray was scheduled.
Still out with previous maladies were defensive tackles Clifton Ryan (migraines) and Darell Scott (ankle).
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Wednesday that quarterback Matthew Stafford (shoulder) will sit out Sunday's game against the Rams. Shaun Hill, who in four games has thrown for 991 yards and five touchdowns, with seven interceptions, will start
Re: Danario Alexander working hard on practice squad ..
i hope he becomes good... and we sign him.. he was great in college