Injuries Shuffle Secondary
Monday, October 8, 2007
By Nick Wagoner
In the mountain of injuries the Rams have dealt with
this year, the offensive line had previously been the
leader in the clubhouse for position with the most
casualties. After Sunday’s game against Arizona, the
secondary could now make a similar claim.
Already without starting cornerback Tye Hill and
strong safety Corey Chavous, the Rams got a boost from
the return of suspended cornerback Fakhir Brown. In
Sunday’s game, though, the Rams lost both of Chavous’
By the end of the game, starting cornerback and nickel
back Ron Bartell found himself filling in at safety
for the first time. There was good news and bad news
in relation to the secondary Monday afternoon.
Coach Scott Linehan said Monday that Jerome Carter,
who started in Chavous’ place, suffered a broken bone
in his right foot similar to the injury tackle Todd
Steussie suffered in the preseason.
The injury will effectively end Carter’s season and he
will probably be placed on injured reserve in the
Todd Johnson, who came in for Carter after the injury,
suffered a sprained neck in the second half and did
not return either. But his prognosis is much better
than that of Carter.
“I think he felt a lot better today and we are pretty
optimistic about him coming back this week and being
ready to go,” Linehan said.
There might also be some more good news this week for
the defensive backfield with the possible return of
Chavous and Hill.
Chavous suffered a pectoral injury against Dallas on
Sept. 30. That injury appeared to be more serious than
it turned out. It kept Chavous out all of the past
week, but Linehan said Chavous is hoping to be ready
to go in time for this week’s game at Baltimore.
“We are hopeful,” Linehan said. “I think he’s going to
try to go so we are hopeful about him having a
Hill, meanwhile, has been making excellent progress in
his return from a back injury. Hill began
participating in segments of practice last week,
including most individual drills. That was the first
week of any participation for Hill since suffering the
injury in the week after the season opener.
Hill has missed the past four games and is probably
closer to a return than any of the other injured Rams.
“We are real optimistic about Tye coming back this
week,” Linehan said. “I think Tye has a good chance
based on what I saw on Friday especially.”
Regardless, the Rams will have to find someone to
replace Carter and provide depth at safety or
potentially even start. Bartell has experience at free
safety as the team experimented with him at the
position last season.
But Bartell has played well at corner and is the
team’s nickel back meaning a potential third role
would be even more difficult to handle.
The Rams will bring in more players Tuesday for
auditions with the likelihood that a safety will be
signed. Bhawoh Jue and Dovonte Edwards have visited
St. Louis in recent weeks and are potential candidates
for the spot.
If the Rams do need Bartell to play safety, defensive
coordinator Jim Haslett said Bartell would slide in at
free safety with Oshiomogho Atogwe moving over to the
Haslett said he would be OK with Bartell playing
safety and that Bartell fared well all things
considered against Arizona.
“The last time he took a snap at safety was about
halfway through last year,” Haslett said. “I commend
the guy for going in and competing and he actually did
Bartell did make one mistake on Arizona’s final
touchdown according to Haslett. On Larry Fitzgerald’s
touchdown catch to seal the game, the Rams had a
triangle of defenders on two receivers in the slot.
Bryant Johnson ran a curl route with Fitzgerald
running a wheel route to the corner of the end zone.
The Rams had Bartell, Lenny Walls and Pisa Tinoisamoa
in coverage. On that play, it is Bartell’s
responsibility to read the inside receiver, in this
case Johnson and jump the curl route. Once he does,
that frees the cornerback (Walls) to drop with the
receiver with the linebacker following him out.
Because of his inexperience, Bartell was unable to
make the read and Walls stayed inside to defend the
curl leaving Fitzgerald open.
“He just hasn’t played it,” Haslett said. “He was
headed that way but it wasn’t as fast as you would
have liked it.”
GOING WITH GUS: Linehan stopped short of naming Gus
Frerotte the starter again this week after Frerotte
threw for three touchdowns and three interceptions
against Arizona on Sunday.
Starter Marc Bulger is still recovering from broken
ribs and a knee injury and his progress is still
coming along slowly.
Reading between the lines, it appears as though
Frerotte will handle the quarterback duties again this
week as Bulger continues to heal.
“Bulger will be available to play,” Linehan said.
“We’ll make the decision as to what direction we are
going (Wednesday). We still want him to come back,
when he does come back, to be at 100 percent.”
INJURY REPORT: Johnson and Carter were two of the
three added to the injury laundry list Sunday, but
returner Dante Hall might have been the most important
loss of the day.
Hall suffered a sprained left ankle. The extent of the
sprain and whether it was a high ankle sprain or not
has yet to be determined.
The injury happened on a 36-yard punt return at the
end of the third quarter when the defender rolled up
on Hall’s ankle.
Linehan did not declare Hall out this week, but it
appears he is going to miss some time as he recovers
from the injury.
“It’s a significant sprain so I don’t want to say
until I see how he responds to treatment in the next
couple of days,” Linehan said.
Should Hall be out as expected, the Rams will turn to
Marques Hagans for return duties and possibly as the
team’s third receiver. That would depend on the
potential return of receiver Isaac Bruce, who is still
recovering from a hamstring injury.
Either way, the Rams will probably add another piece
to the receiver corps whether it is an outside or
addition or one of the two receivers on the practice
squad (Dominique Thompson or Derek Stanley).
The rest of the injury report remains the same.
Running back Steven Jackson has already been ruled out
this week as he continues to battle a groin injury.
RAM BITS: Linehan said Andy McCollum fared “pretty
well” at left guard against Arizona and said the Rams
are leaning toward starting him at the position again
this week…Defensive tackle Claude Wroten will be
re-instated this week as he completes his four-game
suspension for violation of the league’s substance
The Rams have a roster exemption for the
week and won’t have to make a choice on who will go to
create room for Wroten until later this week…Torry
Holt went over 11,000 yards receiving with his 89-yard
effort against the Cardinals, making him the fastest
player to reach that number in league history…Rookie
Adam Carriker played most of Sunday’s game at the
three technique spot on the defensive line and had
what Haslett called the “best game he’s played by far."
Re: Injuries Shuffle Secondary
We've had so many injuries this season. Linehan and Haslett ought to be real good at shuffling players by now.:\