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Thread: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

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    Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    Fear the beard: Healthy Brockers ready to take next step

    11 hours ago • By Jim Thomas jthomas@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8197

    Michael Brockers’ beard can best be described as prolific, even biblical.

    “It’s coming along very well,” said Brockers, the Rams’ second-year defensive tackle. “At LSU, I just had a little chin (hair) going, but now I think the all-out beard really makes me look dominant. Beard equals sacks. And I think sacks are good for me right now.”

    Brockers was joking, but the goal definitely is to take the next step as an NFL defensive tackle, whether it’s sacks, tackles for loss — what have you — and become a force in the middle of the St. Louis front four.

    “Mike did a great job coming back off the high ankle (sprain), and really finished up strong toward the second half of the (2012) season,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “He’s worked very hard. He’s changed his body, and we think he can be a dominating player inside.”

    A high ankle sprain in the Rams’ 2012 preseason finale against Baltimore sidelined Brockers for the first three games of his rookie season. High ankle sprains can take forever to heal — just ask Sam Bradford — and Brockers felt lingering effects of the injury throughout the season.

    Even so, he came on strong over the second half of the year, playing very much like the No. 14 overall pick in the draft. At season’s end, he joined cornerback Janoris Jenkins as the first Rams since 2003 to make the NFL’s all-rookie team. Brockers’ season totals included 63 tackles, four sacks and 17 QB pressures or hits. All in all it made for a good start in the NFL, but Brockers wants more this season.

    “I can’t even see the ceiling yet,” Brockers said during practices in June. “I want to keep progressing from here on in, and I just keep doing my thing. The ankle is fine. I have no excuses now and I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to do great things.”

    The high ankle sprain, to Brockers’ right ankle, is long behind him. In addition, Brockers underwent cleanup surgery in February to remove bone chips in his left ankle. He believes that procedure corrected carryover symptoms from an injury at LSU that irritated his foot last season.

    “When I’m in my stance, it really pinched on nerves,” Brockers said after a recent training camp practice. “Now that that’s out I can just feel me being more explosive off the ball, getting in the backfield real quick.”

    Brockers now has two good wheels and has increased his overall weight and upper-body strength.

    “He’s changed his body,” Fisher said. “He’s gained some weight, but it’s good weight. He’s gained a tremendous amount of strength.”

    Brockers weighed in at 325 pounds for training camp after playing around 318 to 320 as a rookie. An extra five to seven pounds may not sound like much, but for a finely tuned pro athlete it can make a noticeable difference.

    “It can help a lot as far as playing the run, holding double teams, and just being a force in the middle,” Brockers said. “I’ve been training the same. I just feel like this year I put on more muscle mass. I can feel it.”

    But the bigger, stronger version of Brockers is nonetheless a faster Brockers.

    “That’s the crazy thing, adding weight and then getting quicker than I was,” Brockers said.

    The added strength and slight increase in bulk should make Brockers tougher to budge on run defense, which in turn should help Rams linebackers get to the ball carrier.

    Throw in the extra quickness that comes with having a pair of healthy ankles and Brockers hopes to be more of a force on the pass rush. When opposing QBs feel pressure from defensive ends coming off the edge, the natural instinct is to step up in the pocket. But if Brockers can simply push the pocket on a more consistent basis, much less break through the line, that escape hatch is gone. QBs will have no place to hide.

    As with many of his teammates, the summer break between the end of OTAs and the start of training camp wasn’t really a break for Brockers. Instead of working at Rams Park, he simply switched venues to Baton Rouge, La., and Louisiana State University.

    Why did he keep working? Because when training camp starts, “You gotta hit it running,” Brockers said. “I’m 100 percent. I feel better. I’m playing better. I can turn the corner better. It’s sad news for the other team but for me it’s great news.”

    Because beard, plus strength and quickness, could equal more sacks.

    “I don’t think I can get rid of” the beard, Brockers said. “You know, like (Fisher) with the ‘stache? I think I’ve gotta keep the beard. Just trim it up a little bit, that’s all it needs.”


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    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    Michael Brockers will be a superstar next year. He was such an amazing pick by the Snead-Fisher regime. You grab a raw player who was all the physical tools in the world and mold him along with Mike Waufle. That plan has excelled, and I believe Brockers will be a top 5 DT in the league post 2013-2014.


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    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    I remember when we first drafted him, a lot of folks here thought the sky was falling. I thought he was gonna have a tough learning curve to tackle but it looks like I was wrong.

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    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Michael Brockers will be a superstar next year. He was such an amazing pick by the Snead-Fisher regime. You grab a raw player who was all the physical tools in the world and mold him along with Mike Waufle. That plan has excelled, and I believe Brockers will be a top 5 DT in the league post 2013-2014.
    I could not agree more. This guy is special. All the talent in the world, with the drive and intense determination to match. He's the type of person who refuses to fail. If I had to pick one Ram who was an absolute slam dunk for becoming an All-Pro, it would be Michael Brockers.
    bruce4life and sosa39rams like this.

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    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    Waufle on draft day...

    "They say he's not much of a pass rusher, but we'll teach him to pass rush. Tommy Kelly wasn't either, at one time, and we taught him how to power rush. The last two years he's had more sacks [14 ½] than any defensive tackle in the league, and this kid will do the same. Tommy's tough, but this guy's nasty."

    On the big-screen televisions behind Waufle, Brockers strode to the podium. When NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said to former ***** and Lions coach Steve Mariucci, "Mooch, he's not much of a pass rusher," Waufle sneered, "Yeah – we'll see."

    I think he gets 10 plus sacks this year. He is the key for the defense to dominate.

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    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    Gotta love the force that is our defensive line. In a division that has some amazing defenses, ours is the best in my opinion. We have two 10-sack rushers outside, and now we have this beast to dominate the middle. If we can trust our interior triangle (DT, DT, MLB) to take on any interior run, we can be more free to stop the option mess from Kapernick and Wilson with the rest of the guys keying on the exterior stuff. With a great line, the rest of the team looks and plays better.

    It'll be fun to watch the race to the QB this year!
    I believe!

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    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    I remember A lot of people were disappointed we didn't get Fletcher Cox. Not sure how his season went but i'm pretty sure we can agree Brockers was a good pick.
    Kyle Fuller at 13!!!!!

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    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Michael Brockers will be a superstar next year. He was such an amazing pick by the Snead-Fisher regime. You grab a raw player who was all the physical tools in the world and mold him along with Mike Waufle. That plan has excelled, and I believe Brockers will be a top 5 DT in the league post 2013-2014.
    True statement, and to add to this a little with regardless to post 2013-2014, I think JJenks will be a top 5 CB in the league at that same point. Brockers Top 5 DT and Jenkins Top 5 CB, imagine that... All from the same draft? I love this regime.

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    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    Quote Originally Posted by lostsoul View Post
    I remember A lot of people were disappointed we didn't get Fletcher Cox.
    Really Brock was high on my short list of what we needed that season especially in the first round. Our staff and mgt group did a great job the last two seasons picking guys like MB! Not too sure about the beard, but if Mike thinks it gives him some Sampsonesque powers then ride the beard till you meet your Delilah Brock! You know I am amazed he was not picked higher he was a stud in college too and I remember being amazed the guy was there at 14. Like Ogletree this year we are really getting some timely pickups in these drafts. Having been a fan of this team for many decades it is nice to see such fortune and skill at the draft we certainly went through many that were not as fruitful... Good to see so many recognize how special a player MB is! He is the Tiger ( as in LSU) in our tank these days!

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    Re: Fear The Beard: Healthy Brockers Ready To Take Next Step

    I didn't realize he had those numbers. Very excited to see him progress next year. Maybe it will open up some more opportunities for Langford.

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