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Gado's big game boosts stock with Rams ..
Gado's big game boosts stock with Rams
AUG. 14, 2009 By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
In a crowded Rams backfield, Samkon Gado took some big steps Friday toward establishing himself as the No. 2 runner behind Steven Jackson. About 77 steps, actually.
Gado's 77-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter against the New York Jets was surprising on a couple of levels.
For one, most observers didn't think he was that fast. "That's not the first time I've heard that — I don't know why," Gado said. "Several of my teammates said the same thing. But I've always known I was that fast. I just never really kind of had a chance to show it."
For another, how about that juke he put on Jets safety James Ihedigbo?
"I gave him an old move that my high school coach taught me called 'the double,' " Gado said.
When asked about the move, Gado said: "You can't describe it. You're just going to have to see it, I guess."
Suffice it to say "the double" was a shake-and-bake move by Gado, who looks bigger and burlier than his listed roster weight of 227 pounds. The move helped Gado record the Rams' longest run from scrimmage in exhibition play since the move to St. Louis in 1995 — a period encompassing 58 games.
It also helped the Rams gain 193 yards on the ground, their best preseason total since a
202-yard rushing game against Indianapolis in the 2006 exhibition opener.
"It was a simple draw play that just kind of opened up," Gado said. "I thought I had a pretty nice run, about 10-15 yards, and I was thinking that's about as good as it was gonna be."
Until he left the defender seeing "double." All told, Gado finished with 93 yards on six carries Friday, moving the pile for extra yards on several plays.
When he wasn't teasing Gado about being the postgame center of media attention Friday at Giants Stadium, Jackson praised the fourth-year pro from Nigeria.
"I knew Sam was that fast," Jackson said.
Last week in practice, the running backs got into the habit of running all the way to the end zone after taking handoffs during "team" periods. The exercise is designed to stress finishing plays.
"And Sam shows a burst when he finishes runs in practice," Jackson said. "So it was no surprise to me, but I was impressed."
Jackson took note of the fact Gado's big run came after spending most of the first half playing fullback in place of Mike Karney, who dressed but didn't play because of an ankle injury.
Big run notwithstanding, Gado isn't ready to say he's running away from the competition behind Jackson.
"I don't think it says as much as it may seem," Gado said. "We've got three more (preseason) games left, and I've still got a lot of work to do at fullback. I think I'm being evaluated at that position. And how well I do there I think is going to dictate where I land on this team."
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo didn't go that far, but he's definitely a big believer in the old adage about the more you can do ...
"Anybody that can play two positions I think is valuable," Spagnuolo said. "When you go to 53 (on the final roster), and all of a sudden it's 45 on game day, versatility's great."
Gado wasn't the only running back who played well against the Jets. Antonio Pittman was featured on a field goal march at the end of the first half, producing 45 yards from scrimmage in a 63-yard drive. Before the Jets game, Pittman appeared to be trailing Kenneth Darby and Gado in the battle for No. 2. But he looked quick and decisive running the ball on Friday.
"The only guy that's proven himself, basically, is Steven," Pittman said. "For all the rest of us, it's up for grabs for (No.) 2, 3, and whatever else. We all have to come out there and just compete every day."
Spagnuolo also was impressed with rookie Chris Ogbonnaya's ball security in the fourth quarter, when the Rams were trying to run out the clock in their 23-20 victory over the Jets.
"For a young guy at the end there, when we had to run it out, he was covering up that ball and doing a heck of a job," Spagnuolo said.
So the only back who lost ground Friday was Darby, who gained 16 yards on six carries, dropped a pass and missed on a couple of blitz pickups. So the result of the Jets game may prompt some depth-chart juggling, but the season opener in Seattle is still four weeks away.
"Whether it changes or doesn't change, they're all still hacking away and we've got some ways to go," Spagnuolo said. "But some guys there, they shined and did a good job. ... It was encouraging to see some of those runs and some of the cuts some of them were making.''
Re: Gado's big game boosts stock with Rams ..
if he can add kick returning to his skill set, which he is the mix for, then its an ideal mix of back up running back, back up full back and kick returner
thats three positions on the gameday roster used by just one guy, meaning that we can carry more players in positions of need or where we have injuries
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