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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Injuries Shuffle Secondary

    Monday, October 8, 2007
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    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’
    backups.

    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
    coming days.

    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
    chance.”

    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
    strong position.

    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
    well.”

    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
    abuse policy…

    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."


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
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    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.:\

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