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  1. #1
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    Goodspeed welcomes competition

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Wednesday, Aug. 17 2005

    Unsure just what to make of it when the Rams drafted a fellow fullback this
    past April, Joey Goodspeed at first thought the worst. "It kind of makes you
    feel like you're not good enough, you didn't do your job, maybe didn't play
    that well last year," he said.

    But his trepidation passed quickly, and Goodspeed pondered the positive side.
    "I was like, 'OK, I'll have another fullback at camp to give me a little
    competition. And anytime you have competition, it makes you play better,'"
    Goodspeed said. "So, it works both ways."

    Goodspeed's challenger is Madison Hedgecock, a seventh-round pick out of North
    Carolina. "He's doing well, but he still has a lot to learn," Goodspeed said.
    "This is not a very easy offense."

    Mike Martz deploys his fullbacks in a different way than most NFL coaches,
    using them heavily in motion and shifts. Still, Martz emphasized that the one
    winning the starting job "is going to be who the best hammer is." That is, the
    most effective lead blocker for running back Steven Jackson.

    The Rams haven't had a true "hammer" since releasing 6-foot-1, 273-pound James
    Hodgins after the 2002 season. Goodspeed has held the job the past two years,
    but at 6-1 and 247 pounds, he gives up significant size to the 6-3, 266-pound
    Hedgecock.

    "It's a very healthy competition," Martz said. "The fullback position is kind
    of a lost art. ... It's just a brutal position. You've got to throw your body
    in there and just try to slam people. And those two guys, that's what they're
    about."

    Goodspeed said he was willing to help Hedgecock. To a point.

    "If he has a question, I'll answer it. But ... he's trying to take my job,"
    said Goodspeed, a Notre Dame product. "I'm not going to be mean to the kid, but
    I'm not going to tell him my secrets, either."

    Camp ends quietly


    Technically speaking, the Rams broke camp after Wednesday morning's practice.
    But unlike in Macomb, Ill., the campsite the previous nine years, the
    conclusion wasn't greeted with lusty cheers and mad dashes to idling cars.

    "We've been in our (Rams Park) facility the whole time, so it didn't really
    feel like camp," defensive end Leonard Little said. "That's probably the reason
    why people weren't hootin' and hollerin', because we weren't leaving Macomb."

    The players were given the rest of the day off; practice resumes this
    afternoon. All sessions are closed to the public.

    Barron draws praise

    Three days and five practices into his NFL career, first-round draft choice
    Alex Barron is drawing plaudits. "I was pleasantly surprised by a lot of things
    with Alex," Martz said. "I think the toughness and resolve that he really came
    to camp with was evident."

    Penciled in as the first-team right tackle before missing the first 2 1/2 weeks
    of camp during contract negotiations, Barron has been working at left tackle,
    behind Orlando Pace. That's the side Barron occupied most often at Florida
    State.

    "You let him learn this offense where's he most comfortable. Then once he
    learns it, you can teach him the skill change" to right tackle, Martz
    explained. "When you're trying to get in a righthanded stance instead of a
    lefthanded stance and learn the offense, it's just kind of double duty."

    Martz says Incognito needs to join team

    Even though recovery from knee surgery would keep him sidelined several more
    weeks, third-round pick Richie Incognito could benefit significantly by signing
    a contract and joining the team, Martz said.

    "At least he'd be familiar with the terminology, and teaching him what's going
    on, that'd be out of the way," Martz said. "I'm sure he doesn't appreciate
    that, because he hasn't been at this level. And the agents ... feel like (the
    players) can pick this up in a week. It just doesn't work that way."

    Agent Jack Scharf said Incognito might sit out the season and re-enter the
    draft next year.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rams Camp at a Glance: Aug. 18


    Wednesday, Aug. 17 2005

    Injured: LB Louis Ayeni (calf), CB Jerametrius Butler (knee), LB
    Brandon Chillar (shoulder), DT Ryan Pickett (groin).

    Absent: Unsigned draft pick Richie Incognito (G, 3rd
    round).

    Attendance: Wednesday's final training camp practice was closed to
    the public.

    Bits and pieces: With the end of camp, two-a-day practices are over.
    The team switches to a schedule more closely resembling its regular-season
    routine. ... Rookie G Claude Terrell was limping after being leg-whipped, but
    he practiced with the first team Wednesday. ... S Michael Stone, a free-agent
    pickup in the offseason, has shined in special-teams drills.

    Overheard: "Those two guys are going at it pretty
    good. It's going to be fun to watch that." - Coach Mike
    Martz, on the competition at RT between Rex Tucker and Matt
    Willig.


    "That's why it's important to make it to the preseason games
    and be able to play in them, so that if it doesn't work
    out here, then maybe I'll get an opportunity elsewhere." - CB
    Duvol Thompson, an undrafted rookie from Penn.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Goodspeed welcomes competition

    Agent Jack Scharf said Incognito might sit out the season and re-enter the
    draft next year.
    Hold the phone! Are you kidding me? Does he really think he will do better in the draft after yet another year off?
    "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

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    Re: Goodspeed welcomes competition

    Yes, actually he would do much better. He probably would be a second or a first round selection.

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    Re: Goodspeed welcomes competition

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    Yes, actually he would do much better. He probably would be a second or a first round selection.
    Tx, he has that kind of talent, but he hasn't played in a couple of years now, and after another year away from football, I don't know that his stock is going to rise to his level of talent.

    That's quite a heavy set of dice to roll, but they're his dice to roll.
    "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

  5. #5
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    Re: Goodspeed welcomes competition

    I think the Incognito thing is just an empty threat by the agent. After all, if what else can he threaten to gain leverage?


    As for the Goodspeed thing - "I welcome the competition is one of my favorite sports cliches." I'm sure that Goodspeed is thrilled that a bigger rookie is competing for his job.... not.

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    Re: Goodspeed welcomes competition

    I think his draft situation would depend in large part on whether he could stay out of trouble for the next year. The draft issues with The Incognito one were as much mental as physical. If he works out like a banchee, doesnt beat the crap out of anyone in a bar and has another great combine, he could easily be picked higher than he was. After all, didnt someone take Mike Shad in Round One.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


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    Re: Goodspeed welcomes competition

    As for the Goodspeed thing - "I welcome the competition is one of my favorite sports cliches." I'm sure that Goodspeed is thrilled that a bigger rookie is competing for his job.... not.
    I do appreciate Goodspeed's honesty in this...
    Goodspeed said he was willing to help Hedgecock. To a point.

    "If he has a question, I'll answer it. But ... he's trying to take my job,"
    said Goodspeed, a Notre Dame product. "I'm not going to be mean to the kid, but
    I'm not going to tell him my secrets, either."
    "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

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