Hall's presence eases Little's double trouble
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Thursday, Jun. 14 2007
James Hall was holding court Tuesday afternoon in a hallway at Rams Park,
talking to reporters about the trade that sent him to St. Louis, his projected
role here, and his early days as a Ram.
Leonard Little walked by, heading out the door at the completion of the work
day. In passing, Little offered a few words that said it all.
"Thank God for James Hall," Little said, laughing. "No more double teams."
Ever since the loss of free agents of Grant Wistrom (following the 2003 season)
and Bryce Fisher (after 2004) to Seattle, the Rams have been searching for help
at right defensive end. The lack of a reliable pass rusher on the right side
has led to plenty of double-team blocking on Little at left end.
The hope at Rams Park is that Hall's arrival from Detroit will stabilize the
right end position but also force teams to play Little straight up more often.
"I think (Hall) will bring to the table a lot of what Leonard brings to the
other side," coach Scott Linehan said. "Maybe a little bit different style.
He's a guy that has that sneaky pass rush but is a very willing run defender. I
think he can be pretty good for us."
After seven largely miserable seasons in Detroit, Hall desperately needed a
change of scenery. He asked for a trade in January. The Lions complied on March
2, the first day of the free agency/trading period, by shipping him to the Rams
for a fifth-round draft pick.
After a 9-7 rookie season with Detroit in 2000, the Lions' average record from
2001 through 2006 was 4-12. In none of those six seasons did Detroit lose fewer
than 10 games.
"I personally didn't feel that the organization was going in the right
direction, as far as the people they were bringing in to make it a winning
team," Hall said. "I just got tired of every two years rotating the coaching
staff, guys going in and out, not really having any continuity on the team. I
just felt like I wasn't going to have the opportunity to get something done
Hall hasn't played in an NFL postseason game, and after a while in Detroit,
Hall couldn't stand to see the playoffs on TV.
"It got to the point where it was so frustrating, disappointing, that it was
hard to watch," Hall said. "And not even being close to getting in (the
playoffs). ... Every year you come back and you try to put in the work and do
what you're supposed to do individually. And it gets hard when it doesn't pay
off for you during the season."
Hall's 2006 season ended after only seven games because of a torn labrum and
rotator cuff. He underwent shoulder surgery in November and was physically
cleared to play just last week.
"He hasn't missed one workout,'' Linehan said. "He hasn't missed one rehab
(session). . . . I think his mind-set is that he's got a fresh new beginning."
Comparing the Rams to Detroit, Hall said, "I can see a huge difference in the
team speed. It's like night and day here."