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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Incognito plays with an old-school mentality

    By Bill Coats

    The very thing that got Rams center Richie Incognito in trouble two weeks ago in Seattle is part of the reason he could develop into a top-flight NFL guard, coach Scott Linehan surmised.

    "I don't know if it's the mentality, temperament or whatever," Linehan said. "He's a throwback of what guards were. He's a big, physical player, and likes to use that as an edge. As a center ... you've got to temper that."

    The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Incognito likes to mix it up in the trenches. He should endear himself to fans of the erstwhile St. Louis football Cardinals who maintain fond memories of another hell-bent-for-leather guard, Conrad Dobler.

    Like Incognito, Dobler was more a brawler than a technician. Legend has it that gouging, biting, yanking and poking all were part of his repertoire.

    Not that Incognito resorts to such tactics. Still, he's not averse to bending the rules just a hair. On Nov. 12, he got caught.

    Running back Steven Jackson had just bulled into the end zone on a 14-yard run, putting the Rams up 22-21 with 2 minutes remaining. In the scrum that developed near the goal line, Seattle cornerback Kelly Jennings ripped off Jackson's helmet, and Incognito retaliated.

    Incognito was hit with a 15-yard personal foul that forced Jeff Wilkins to kick off from the 15-yard line. Seattle took possession on the Rams 49 and eight plays later prevailed 24-22 on Josh Brown's 38-yard field goal with 9 seconds left.

    Incognito was fined $5,000 by the league and upbraided by Linehan.

    Anger management

    Controlling his temper long has been a challenge for Incognito, 23. "It's not a real anger thing; it's a passion thing," he said after the Rams selected him in the third round of the 2005 draft. "I care a lot about the game. ... I play with fire, and I play to win."

    His collegiate career, which began when he was the first freshman offensive lineman to start an opener for Nebraska, was short-circuited when he was booted from the program after his sophomore season.

    Charged initially with three counts of assault stemming from a fight at a party, Incognito was found guilty of one misdemeanor charge and fined $500. He already had been suspended by former 'Huskers coach Frank Solich for a variety of indiscretions, including ejection from a game for fighting.

    Incognito spent 2004 at home in Glendale, Ariz., preparing for the NFL combine the following February. He was confident his disciplinary problems hadn't damaged his stock. "I always knew I was good enough to at least get a shot," he said. "That's all I was looking for, a shot."

    But Incognito was derailed again when he suffered a broken kneecap in his workout. The injury kept him out all last season, which he says he regards as "kind of like a redshirt year." While he healed, Incognito attended meetings and soaked up all he could from the veterans at Rams Park.

    He trimmed a bit of weight in the offseason, had a strong training camp, and earned the No. 1 spot at left guard ... where he remained for one game. Veteran center Andy McCollum suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener vs. Denver, and Incognito was thrust into a position he hadn't played since his redshirt freshman year at Nebraska. At first, he was overwhelmed by the intricacies; he still doesn't relish making line calls.

    What he does enjoy is the mano-a-mano duels that come with being in the middle of the action. "I just like being in close, having a nose guard head-up on me," he said. "It's more fit for me, quickness and strength. That's my game, right there."

    Assuming that McCollum returns for a 14th NFL season, and Terrell and Pace are healthy, Incognito probably will move back at guard next year. Center ... guard ... it really doesn't matter, Incognito stressed.

    "I like center a lot, but if need be, I'll play guard," Incognito said. "I just want to win, really. I wish we could get things turned around."

  2. #2
    dgr828's Avatar
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    Re: Incognito plays with an old-school mentality

    Really like Ritchie alot, it's great to watch him develope as a lineman.
    He's taking his lumps now, but the future looks bright. (Not to mention his cool tats...)

  3. #3
    UtterBlitz's Avatar
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    Re: Incognito plays with an old-school mentality

    He is coming along very quickly. I like the attitude.

  4. #4
    RamFan_Til_I_Die's Avatar
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    Re: Incognito plays with an old-school mentality

    His passion was contagious today as a patchwork O line played better than I've seen in many many games. I really like Cog and I'm sure he'll start somewhere on the line next year. To be so young and so good at such a tough position as center speaks volumes of his talent level.

  5. #5
    MikeB1603 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Incognito plays with an old-school mentality

    After reading this it seems like it wouldn't be the worst of things to have Cog stay as a longtime center for the Rams. If that were the case, I would be excitedly anxious to see our future O-line.

  6. #6
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Incognito plays with an old-school mentality

    Quote Originally Posted by UtterBlitz View Post
    He is coming along very quickly. I like the attitude.
    i agree,we need that nasty attitude on the o-line, for as good as pace is he doesnt have it and neither does barron or timmerman,doesnt mean they can't play but having a bada** as your center doesn't hurt,maybe we should have him play both ways,i bet he can tackle.


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