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Hagans boosts his chances with big night on returns
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Saturday, Aug. 11 2007
MINNEAPOLIS — Marques Hagans' bid to earn the Rams' sixth wide receiver job was
aided Friday night by his work on returns. But don't overlook rookie Derek
Stanley, who did his best to get noticed by catching four passes for a
team-high 61 yards in the Rams' 13-10 exhibition victory over Minnesota.
"It was really nice to see the two kids take advantage of an opportunity,"
coach Scott Linehan said.
With Pro Bowl returner Dante Hall sitting out with a sore hamstring, Hagans was
featured against the Vikings on kickoff and punt returns. Hagans, a converted
college quarterback, made the most of the opportunity by returning a punt late
in the first half for 25 yards. Next, he took the second-half kickoff 30 yards
to the Rams' 36.
Hagans also caught two passes for 25 yards, including a 16-yarder that put the
Rams in field-goal position for Kevin Lovell's game-winning kick as time
Entering training camp, it appeared Hagans and Dominique Thompson were the
leading candidates for what might be the final spot on a talented wide receiver
corps. But Stanley, a seventh-round pick from NCAA Division III
Wisconsin-Whitewater, threw his helmet into the ring with his pass-catching
"I feel like I made a little name for myself tonight," Stanley said. "But I
know that I've still got things I have to tighten up. I still have routes I
need to run a little better, things I can do better on special teams."
Stanley's first reception came on a ball deflected by Vikings safety Tank
Williams late in the third quarter. The third-down play originally was ruled
incomplete but was overturned on a replay challenge by Linehan.
Thompson, meanwhile, caught one pass for four yards. He suffered bruised ribs
on a nine-yard end-around in the third quarter but kept playing.
Second-year defensive tackle Claude Wroten started in place of La'Roi Glover.
Glover tweaked a hip flexor injury in pregame warm-ups and did not play. Brett
Romberg started ahead of Andy McCollum at center. McCollum missed Wednesday's
workout — the last full practice of the week — because of a stomach virus and
entered the game in the second quarter with the No. 2 offense.
As expected, Ron Bartell started at cornerback in place of Fakhir Brown, who is
facing a four-game suspension at the start of the regular season for violating
the NFL's substance abuse policy. In nickel situations, Bartell slid into the
slot, with Lenny Walls coming off the bench to play cornerback.
SITTING IT OUT
Besides Hall and Glover, also sitting out Friday's contest were kicker Jeff
Wilkins, linebacker Raonall Smith, linebacker Tim McGarigle and offensive
tackle Ken Shackleford.
McGarigle has been out since the first week of training camp with a hamstring
injury. Smith has a shoulder injury. Shackleford, a sixth-round draft pick in
April, has a sprained knee.
Even with temperatures expected to reach the high 90s, the Rams will hold an
open practice Sunday. The public is welcome to watch Sunday's workout at Rams
Park, starting at 3 p.m. The players will be off today. Because of the heat
wave, the Rams moved three practices indoors this week, closing them to the
S Corey Chavous, WR Torry Holt and long snapper Chris Massey represented the
Rams for Friday's pregame coin toss.
The Minnesota roster includes TE Braden Jones, a rookie free agent from
Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Re: Hagans boosts his chances with big night on returns
Hagans and Stanley both looked good. On that game winning drive, Hagans, caught a short pass made a move and turned it into 16. Nice. Stanley made a few tough grabs too.
So, if one of them doesn't get a roster spot will they go to the practice squad? Can another team sign them away if their on the practice squad?
I'm sure that wouldn't happen, but I was just wondering.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Maybe not now, but soon.
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