Incognito Settled at Center
By Nick Wagoner
The first time Richie Incognito lined up at center in an NFL game was just over a month ago. Now, with five games under his belt, Incognito looks like he’s been playing center for years.
In fact, it took just a few moments for Incognito to settle in the middle. For his performance against the ***** on Sept. 17, just a week after replacing the injured Andy McCollum, Incognito was named the team’s offensive player of the week.
Despite his early success, Incognito is keeping a level head about his performance.
“I played very well in San Francisco,” Incognito said. “I don’t think I’ve been going up and down, I think I just kept an even track and I think it’s been going pretty good.”
Indeed it has. Incognito has made an almost seamless transition from guard to center. Incognito estimates that the last time he played center before this season was in fall camp before his second season at Nebraska. In that case, he was also replacing an injured ball snapper.
This year, Incognito got some opportunities to work in the middle during minicamps, but he hadn’t had a whole lot of experience. That’s why Incognito calls the transition one that will continue to take some time.
“It’s an ongoing thing,” Incognito said. “It’s tough because I wasn’t there in training camp and I wasn’t preparing for all of the defenses, so every week, each team has a different look, so it’s like I’m getting acquainted each week.”
Incognito will have to get acquainted quickly this week considering the challenge that is put before him. The Chargers boast the league’s top rated defense, allowing just 241.2 yards per contest.
Anchoring the defense is giant nose tackle Jamal Williams, a 6-3, 348 pound monster in the middle who went to the Pro Bowl last season. Williams is the key to San Diego’s 3-4 defensive scheme and will be the man who has to line up directly over Incognito. Incognito squared off against San Francisco’s Bryant Young and held his own.
Williams is a bit different, though.
“He’s a game wrecker,” Incognito said.
Incognito is the type of player that relishes one on one battles in the trenches. But center is a different deal than guard as far as lining up for those battles.
“Just the close proximity,” Incognito said. “I have a guy right, head-up over me. When I played guard, my toes were on his heels, so there was about two feet of space in there where I get two or three steps in before he makes contact. Now my feet always have to be on the ground and I can’t get really too far in bad position.”
SMITH RETURNS: After fullback Paul Smith’s horrendous collision with the Lions on special teams on Oct. 1, all indications were that he would be able to return after the bye week. But that was adjusted when it was learned that Smith would have to have surgery near his eyes.
According to Smith, that intricate surgery involved putting a titanium plate and a screw at the bottom of his eye and another plate near the nasal cavity that pushed all of the muscles near the eye back where they belong. After that, they let it heal up and removed the stitches.
Surprisingly, Smith returned to the practice field Wednesday after a CAT scan showed he had improved enough to play earlier in the week.
“I’m a little rusty, but it’s kind of like riding a bike,” Smith said. “You have got to do it the same way (as before the injury).”
BRYANT SETTLES IN: Defensive end Tony Bryant missed the first six weeks of this season while searching for another NFL job. After signing with the Rams last week, Bryant is starting to settle in and find his niche.
Bryant spent time with current Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett in New Orleans where Haslett was the head coach so he understands the defense. In that regard he is adjusting quickly.
But don’t expect Bryant to get on the field right away. For now, Leonard Little and Victor Adeyanju remain the starters and Brandon Green is the No. 3 end. Eventually, Bryant could factor in because of his size, but it won’t happen right away.
“Right now we’ll wait and see how fast he picks everything up,” Linehan said. “It is somewhat familiar to him since he played in the defensive system we’re running in New Orleans. We’ll have to evaluate him as we go. Right now he’s more for depth and giving us a look and catching up.”
RAM BITS: The first injury report for the week lists Smith (eye) and linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (hand) as probable…Cornerback Fakhir Brown is not on the injury report…San Diego will be without defensive tackle Igor Olshansky who has a knee injury…Joining Olshansky on the injury report are receivers Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson, safety Bhawoh Jue and linebacker Shaun Phillips as questionable and tight end Antonio Gates is probable.
Re: Incognito Settled at Center
Sounds like this will be the ultimate test for Incognito. Should be very interesting with Incognitos temper and all.
Re: Incognito Settled at Center
Sounds like we will find out if Cog is the real deal or not. I have a feeling Williams will be giving him the whole welcome to the NFL routine. Let's hope Cog can stand his ground.
Originally Posted by RamWraith
What did I miss? Got any links to stories I could read about this, or is this rumor mill stuff? We don't have another Kyle Turley on our team do we?
Originally Posted by laram0
Re: Incognito Settled at Center
Originally Posted by RamFan_Til_I_Die
I just answered my own question and looked some stuff up. Don't know how this slipped by me. Here are a few links:
"BIO: Three-year starter at left tackle for Nebraska, receiving All-Conference honors every season. Dismissed from the Cornhusker program prior to the start of the 2004 campaign for repeated violations of team policies. Subsequently transferred to Oregon but suspended from that program before ever playing a game. Has a history of losing his temper both on and off the field. Convicted of a misdemeanor assault charge in July of 2004.
POSITIVES: Big, strong lineman who must mature as an individual before having any shot at the next level. Blocks with leverage, immediately gets his hands into opponents and effectively uses angles. Fights throughout the action, keeps his feet moving and extends, controlling opponents at the point. Solid position blocker who walls defenders from the play. Drives opponents off the ball and finishes blocks. Plays with a nasty disposition.
NEGATIVES: Lacks fluid footwork sliding out to protect the edge and possesses marginal size for the tackle position.
ANALYSIS: A player with the physical skills to be a productive starter in the NFL, Incognito must learn to control his temper to have any shot of reaching his potential. Possesses the tools to be a dominant blocker and looked like the best lineman at the combine, but will always be questioned until he displays some maturity."
"Nebraska C Richie Incognito's temper might cost him. Incognito is strong, quick and mobile, and he also could play guard. But he was suspended by Nebraska this past season and then withdrew from the school. He once was a potential Day 1 selection, but his troubles likely will push him to Day 2."
http://www.stlouisrams.com/article/55683/ an interview with Coach
"(On talking to RG Richie Incognito and CB Dwight Anderson during practice) “We want the competitiveness. We want the fire inside of you, but you can’t do that at the expense of the team. You get in a fight in the game, they’re going to kick you out and that‘s going to cost the team. It’s going to result in you missing the next game. There’s always a consequence to your actions and you have to learn from that and know how to control your emotions when it’s a critical situation, especially when you are competing. You lose your temper sometimes, but you can’t do it on the field.” "
Interesting. Looks like he has kept in yunder control since joining the Rams. Let's hope this continues.