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Injuries thin the ranks in wide receiver corps
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Thursday, Oct. 11 2007
Gus Frerotte gets his second start this week at quarterback in place of the
injured Marc Bulger. But who will he throw to?
Wide receiver Isaac Bruce is expected to miss his second consecutive game
because of a hamstring injury. He was in sweats Wednesday as the Rams began
practice this week ahead of Sunday's game in Baltimore.
Wide receiver-return man Dante Hall also was a spectator. Although not ruled
out for the Baltimore game, team sources say Hall has a high ankle sprain and
will be sidelined for the next several weeks.
Not listed on the official injury report Wednesday is Drew Bennett, who
appeared gimpy at the start of practice with a nagging quad injury.
In addition, Torry Holt was held out of practice. After catching five passes
for a season-high 89 yards against Arizona, Holt came out of that game with
swelling in his surgically repaired knee.
Lastly, Dane Looker could barely walk, having had a blood transfusion after
suffering a severe thigh bruise Sept. 30 in Dallas. Looker already has been
ruled out of the Ravens' game and probably will be sidelined for several weeks.
That, in a nutshell, is the Rams wide receiver corps. Although less than 100
percent healthy, Bennett and Holt will start against Baltimore. But what
happens after that? As they say on that television game show ... Marques
Hagans, come on down!
Hagans suddenly finds himself the Rams' No. 3 wide receiver, and primary punt
and kickoff return man.
"I'm definitely looking forward to it, making sure I'm on top of my assignments
and just trying to make plays when given the opportunity," Hagans said.
The Rams drafted Hagans in the fifth round in 2006 with the idea of converting
him from college quarterback to NFL wide receiver. It has taken a while, but
Hagans' time is at hand. He spent last season on the practice squad, and
because the Rams are carrying only two quarterbacks on their active roster this
season, he was the team's designated third quarterback in Games 1-4.
Getting some snaps at quarterback every Friday in practice was fun. But ...
"I didn't really get to hang out with the quarterbacks much," Hagans said,
smiling. "I still had my receiver meetings and stuff like that."
With Bruce sidelined against Arizona, Hagans made his NFL regular-season debut,
catching an 11-yard pass. When Hall suffered his ankle injury late in the third
quarter, Hagans returned a kickoff for 20 yards.
During the exhibition season, Frerotte and Hagans probably were the Rams'
"co-MVPs" on offense. Now, they will hook up for real against Ray Lewis & Co.
"We've got to be on the same page," Frerotte said. "(Hagans) wasn't out there
much (against Arizona). Sometimes things can go fast for a young kid. I told
him: 'Look, you've got to slow your mind down. Take a deep breath, I'll give
you a play, and just play ball ... just play like you did in the preseason.'"
Even at age 36, Frerotte would like to heed his own advice. The Arizona start
was his first since the 2005 season finale as a Miami Dolphin. Against the
Cardinals, there were two throws — both interceptions — that Frerotte would
love to have back. Particularly the one that Roderick Hood returned 68 yards
for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. That snapped a 20-20 tie in what
became a 34-31 Arizona victory.
Coach Scott Linehan conceded that Frerotte was a little rusty against the
Cardinals, "like anybody that hadn't been playing for a year or two. Now that
he's got a game under his belt, I think you will see a guy that is that much
more comfortable this week."
Bulger will be the No. 2 quarterback once again. Bulger's broken ribs are
healing, but Linehan said he's a week a way from giving serious consideration
to returning him to the starting lineup.
On defense, however, that time is here for cornerback Tye Hill. After missing
four games, Hill took part in his first full practice since suffering back and
rib injuries. Barring any setback in practice this week, Hill will play against
Baltimore, although he probably won't start.
The Rams need all available bodies in the secondary. At safety, Jerome Carter
(foot) is out for the season. Corey Chavous (pectoral) did limited work in
practice Wednesday but probably is a week or two away. Todd Johnson practiced
but remains sore after suffering a sprained neck against Arizona. With all the
missing bodies at safety, Ron Bartell split his time between cornerback and
safety in practice.
Re: Injuries thin the ranks in wide receiver corps
It's very nice to have Tye Hill and Fahkir Brown back playing together. I like that Frerotte and Hagans seem to have a little chemistry going. Also unbelievably no mention of injuries, nagging or otherwise on the o-line, d-line or linebackers.
Re: Injuries thin the ranks in wide receiver corps
it seems as we're getting defensive players back we're getting killed everywhere else still..... how many players do we have on the IR... pathetic
Re: Injuries thin the ranks in wide receiver corps...Marques Hagans, come on down!
I hope Hagans will get to showcase a bit of his preseason plays that earned him a place on the Rams roster. He seems to be a playmaker. If Frerotte can get him the ball safely.
:\ Can't believe how dinged and dented we are all over the roster!
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