The Quote Sheet - Saturday

Head Coach Scott Linehan

(Opening Statement) “We’re in September, you can tell. The weather’s
changed a bit. I’m sure we’re due some warmer days still, I haven’t
been through a calendar year in St. Louis, but it’s a pretty nice day.
Down to 53, so if you have any questions on that certainly ask me.
Some tough decisions. Probably since my time here, that was probably
my toughest night. They were all tough, but last night, went round and
round on a couple, but you’ve got to make decisions, live with them and
move on. I’m very happy with the group we have. I think we’ve got a
very good roster. I’m pleased with the fact that we’re very healthy
going into the first game. Now we’ve just got to go and put out a
great effort here starting September 10th.”

(On why QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was chosen over QB Dave Ragone) “I think
Fitz [Patrick] having some extra time certainly gave him an advantage.
He played well in practice and most of the preseason. I don’t think
either one had their best night Thursday night, but it’s like I told
Dave this morning when I met with him. Not one game made the decision
for me or for anybody. He worked an uphill battle, and improved, and
did well, and better every game he played until the last one. I said
‘You should have no regrets.’ He’ll have feelers from other people.
He’s certainly someone who’s been here that is now familiar with what
we’re doing, so I told him I wouldn’t forget about him. I go a long
way back with him now and that was a tough one. I’ve done it…I left
before his senior year when I was coaching him in college, and then I
had to talk to him about this deal today, which was certainly not

(On depth being the reason CB DeJuan Groce was cut) “No question. We’
ve added some real quality depth to our secondary. We needed to. The
battles were very good there. DeJuan did a nice job for us. I think
he had an interception early in the preseason, I think I might have
even been the Indianapolis game, but he did a nice job for us. Had a
little set back with the hamstring injury, and that held him back
some. It didn’t allow him to stay in that mode he was in as far as
competing, but that was another tough one. It hampered him being able
to help possibly making the team as a specialist because he was never
100 percent healthy after he got that hamstring injury in training

(On if the hamstring injury was what kept Groce out) “The hip flexor,
and then his hamstring was bothering him this last week, so he was
having some problems with both. He went as much as he could but it
didn’t get any better. He did everything he could to get in there and
play Thursday night but he just wasn’t ready so we kept him out.”

(On CB Ron Bartell) “Ron had a tough transition. He’s in between. He
played corner, we moved him to safety, then we started getting a few
injuries or nicked up a bit, we moved him back to corner. He did it
and never once blinked. He didn’t complain about it. He just did it
and improved, improved at both. Where I noticed Ronnie more than
anything is that I think he started showing up on special teams with
making some nice plays and tackles on special teams. He’s one of those
guys who’s got the physical characteristics you’re looking for and he’s
certainly got the personality you’re looking for when it comes to a guy
that’ll do whatever. He just improved little-by-little each day and I
think that shows his upside ability. I’m very excited about his

(On the decision to cut RB Fred Russell) “It was tough. Like I said,
they all were tough. The signing of Stephen [Davis] certainly gives us
a number two-type running back which is not a knock against [Tony] Fish
[er] or Moe [Williams] or Freddy [Russell] or anybody, but he’s a
proven player who’s done it, and did it last year. If he hadn’t
probably had a problem with his knee, he wouldn’t be on our team. He’d
still be at Carolina. They moved on, went to the younger players, and
Stephen went through the disappointment of not being able to stay some
place that he’d been for a while, but I think this is a new life for
Stephen. It certainly is for us, to have a veteran player like that
that’s going to be a great compliment to Steven Jackson. I’m really
excited that we’ve got Stephen now.”

(On his impressions of Davis from today’s practice) “He looked good.
The first time we actually handed him the ball in team, he hit up in
there so he ran up on everybody’s legs, and I was like ‘Wow, who was
that?’ For a second I had to say ‘Who was that,’ and I turned around
and I looked and it was Stephen. He came back and kind of tapped me
and said ‘I’m back.’ It was fun. I know he’s real excited to be here
and he’s a great addition to our team.”

(On what LB Jamal Brooks and S Dwaine Carpenter brought to the table)
“First of all, they improved their position. I think both were looked
at as guys that if they made our team, they were going to really help
special teams, which they do, and will have big roles there. I think
Carpenter did a nice job at safety. Had a couple of good solid games,
and a really solid camp. He makes his presence known on our special
teams and is a big ranging-type safety that you’re looking for to give
us good depth there. Jamal Brooks was a guy, I call him old school, he’
s kind of one of those guys who plays with a sprained toe and doesn’t
complain about it. He goes out there…you can’t tell the difference
whether it’s pads or shorts. The guy plays at the same speed, running
into everybody. He just played really good middle linebacker. He’s
tough against the run, he’s a real heavy player, he’s proof that if you
stick with it, don’t get frustrated, and you just take advantage of the
opportunities you get, you’re bound to stick with somebody. He’s one
of those guys, and he’s certainly earned his spot.”

(On Brooks making the team because he played with an injury) “No
question. If he didn’t feel he could play with it or if he wasn’t
cleared to play with it, we’re not going to play a player. It’s one of
those things that you can play as long as you can stand the pain. He
never once…I never really knew until I’d seen him limp a little bit. I
knew he had to be hurt because this guy never complains. Then it was
getting kind of down towards the end and the day before we left for
Miami he was running down full speed on that kickoff and I know he wasn’
t healthy yet. He was doing whatever he could. It was that important
to him to do whatever he could to make this football team, and those
are the kind of guys we want on this team.”

(On LB Tim McGarigle having a good camp) “No question. I met with Tim
this morning. I’m crossing my fingers that we get him back on our
practice squad. He’s certainly a guy who’s got a great future in this
league. I told him this morning, ‘I hope you understand you’ve hit a
position where we’ve provided better depth there and you and Jamal
[Brooks] really battled it out to the end.’ I think there’s very few
things that separate them. I think more than anything, it might be
just a little bit more experience, but I think Tim has a great future
in this league. I’m hoping he will still continue to be a Ram for us.”

(On anyone making the team based on Thursday’s game) “I think Jamal is
a good example. He gave up a couple of things because he was playing
all over the place, but just the fact that we had Ronnie [Bartell]
playing safety and moving to corner…he’s still going out making tackles
on special teams and handling it, never once complaining about it,
never once made an excuse, over came a penalty and just hung in there.
I think a guy like Bartell’s a great example of a guy who just shows he’
s going to persevere and he has that want to and has a great attitude,
has a short memory, one of those kinds of guys. I think he’s certainly
was one. I could name a number of guys, but I think those guys are
good examples.”

(On it being difficult to choose WR Marques Hagans over WR Dominique
Thompson) “Oh yeah…I mean here’s two quality guys. I think in a lot of
ways to be honest with you, I think Dominique, in a lot of ways, is a
receiver. He is one of those guys that Henry [Ellard] spent countless
hours working with and Dominique working with Henry to become a guy
that we felt confident with, where as Marques, he’s not yet. He hasn’t
had the time on the job. He’s got a great upside, but I think that was
the toughest part. I think that’s another person I hope is still in a
Rams uniform. You put those guys out there, certainly, you gamble that
they could be picked up by somebody, but I’ve talked to both of them at
length about coming back and being ready because they’re one injury or
roster change from being away from being back on the 53-man roster.”

(On Hagans' return ability helping secure his spot) “Yeah, and he’s
going to have to continue to work there. He hasn’t proved that he’s
going to be the returner next Sunday. That certainly has a lot to do
with it.”

(On the consideration of carrying four running backs until Stephen
Davis gets into shape) “Yeah, but our plan, after we looked into it…and
Paul’s done it. Paul Smith really can be the fourth emergency back.
The problem is that Paul and Madison [Hedgecock] are both really big
parts of our special teams, so if you carry the fourth back…it was
certainly considered, but then you have to loose a fullback or a tight
end. At the end, it all adds up to the number we had planned from the
start, and it’s never perfect, but right now it’s the best 53 to get
ourselves ready for next Sunday.”

(On the 2006 Rams draft class) “I think the draft class is solid. I
felt that way and I think some of them still have a long way to go.
The fact that you’re drafted doesn’t guarantee you a spot, it certainly
helps you though. You earn that right too. You’re a good enough
player to be drafted where you were and I think that they all, for the
most part, haven’t disappointed us that way. I think the biggest thing
now and it’s still going to be proved over time I think these players
all have great attitudes, the character of the group’s excellent, and I
think all of them want to improve everyday and that’s really what we’re
looking for. I think ultimately, a couple of years down the road we’ll
be able to evaluate this class.”

(On G Tony Palmer being released today) “He had a good camp. He’s
another guy that will hopefully be in a Rams uniform come Tuesday. We’
d love to have him back. When you release players you’re putting them
out there, but he’s a guy that I think is going to develop into a real
fine offensive guard in the NFL.”

(On gauging how much the defensive additions will mean to the Rams
during the Broncos game) “The great thing about it is that a lot of the
additions are veterans. They know what Denver does and exactly what
they’re going to do. They all play them and we got a little bit of an
idea of how it would be when we played Houston in the preseason. We
put a lot of time into that preseason game to ready ourselves some. We
know what’s coming. They’re going to come downhill at us. Have that
zone block scheme, run those nakeds and bootlegs, try to get themselves
a lead so they can run it and run the play action game. I think what’s
good is that our players do know. They know the league. We’re not
necessarily in the same division, but I think very few people don’t
understand what Mike Shanahan and the Broncos are trying to do. That
helps that we have those veterans that have been there.”

(On kickoff and punt returner situations) “I feel pretty good about
Mac (WR Shaun McDonald) at punt return. Kickoff, we’re certainly going
to use Kevin (Curtis). Now with the addition of Stephen (Davis), my
whole time I’ve been possibly thinking about using Tony Fisher there.
It’s going to be a different style. I told him you’ve got to return a
kick like you’d run a run. You need to have an idea of where we want to
be when we start that drive. You’ll end up getting probably some more
yards, but he’s not going to try to do anything extraordinary. He’s
going to get us that return hopefully. We’re going to continue to look
at guys. I went around the room and I threw out names. There were
some eyebrows raised at some of the names I threw out there, but you
never know. Guys turn into pretty decent returners that you never
really give a chance. We’ll still look for guys. If we can make our
team better by adding a kickoff returner 15 minutes from now, we
certainly would look into it. We would certainly entertain it.”