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Thread: Inside Slant
Posted 6/26/2007 12:07 PM ET
Defensive lineman Adam Carriker will be one of the most-watched players when training camp opens July 27. That's assuming he has signed a contract and doesn't miss valuable time. The Rams are counting on him big-time, and defensive tackle Adam Carriker knows the pressure will be on. He lined up with the first unit at nose tackle in the team's recent minicamp.
"It was a little bit surprising," Carriker said. "I still have a long way to go. There's still training camp, there's still preseason games. Right now, I have a job, and it's my job to hold onto it. I'm a little surprised, but now that I've been blessed with that, I plan to keep it."
Carriker played mostly defensive end at Nebraska, but when the Rams selected him with the 13th pick in the first round of this year's draft, plans were announced immediately to move him inside. When nose tackle Jimmy Kennedy was traded just before the minicamp, that created the obvious spot for Carriker, who increased his weight from about 296 at the combine to 313 since the draft.
He said coaches talked to him about nose tackle prior to the draft.
He said, "Two weeks before the draft they brought me in for a visit and they asked me about it. They wanted to see what I thought about it. I'm like, 'Anyway I can help the team, that's fine with me.' I'm happy. It's all fine with me."
Coach Scott Linehan has been impressed with Carriker since the first day he reported to the Rams for their rookie minicamp two weeks after the draft.
Linehan said, "He's just old school. He comes to work, he doesn't say anything, and he always does his best. He does things with great effort and pride, and that's what you want any player to do, let alone a rookie. He has that right mindset. He's going to be a pretty special player."
As for the steady weight gain, Carriker said, "I've just gradually put on weight. Right after the combine, I wanted to put on a little bit of weight because I knew I was going to be a 3-4 end or an inside guy somewhere, depending on who took me.
"As soon as I found out the Rams took me and they wanted me to play nose guard, I tried to get up to 305 by the time I got here. I put on about five pounds in the last month that I've been here."
During camp, the Rams will try alignments where there won't have a true nose tackle, calling their inside players just right and left tackles. There will be times when nose tackle skills will be needed, but others when pass-rush ability is wanted. Carriker believe he's versatile enough to do both even with added weight.
"I can carry it well, and I can still play fast," he Carriker. "It's not going to fatigue me and bog me down."
—DE Leonard Little, who signed a three-year contract during the 2006 regular season, said he likes the moves the team has made in the off-season.
"I think the upper management and the coaching staff have made some great moves to bring some guys in that we really, really needed," Little said. "James Hall, Dante Hall, people like that can really help the team. They made some real significant moves to help the team."
The subject of constant double-teams, Little especially likes the addition of James Hall, who will play right defensive end.
"There was a point last year where James was leading the NFL in sacks," Little said. "James has been double-teamed himself. It's going to be real interesting to see how teams are going to block us in pass (situations)."
—DT Tim Sandidge didn't play for the Hamburg Sea Devils in the NFL Europa championship game because of a knee injury. But leaving the team early allowed him to return to the States and do some conditioning work around Rams personnel.
There is a lot of competition, but Sandidge believes playing in NFL Europa will help. He was on the Rams' practice squad last season when he was signed to the Chiefs' active roster. But just before Kansas City's first playoff game, the Chiefs needed a defensive back, and Sandidge was waived. The Rams put in a claim, and was then sent to Europe.
Sandidge said there was no tear related to his knee injury, and that his time with Hamburg was well spent.
He said, "I played in about six or seven games. I felt like I went out there and did what I needed to do. I think I opened up a lot of eyes. I feel like being over there really helped me. I played a lot, got a lot of experience, and I feel like I got better."
—OT Jeremy Parquet, who was allocated by the Rams to NFL Europa, was named to the league's All-Pro team. Parquet plays for the Hamburg Sea Devils, who are in the World Bowl against Frankfurt.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not worried about that. After seeing the film from last year, and I've now been in the offense for 12 or 13 practices, I've seen what goes around and the amount of offense that is there. I'm not worried about who is going to be catching the balls or how many I'm going to get." — WR Drew Bennett, when asked if he is concerned about getting enough passes his way because of the other talent on the roster.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
As the offseason work concluded for rookies the week of June 18, three undrafted free agents were placed on waivers. The Rams released guards Stanley Daniels and David Thompson and cornerback Terrance Reaves.
That leaves the Rams with 87 players on their roster, a total that includes running back Marshall Faulk, who has still not officially retired, eight unsigned drafted players and four players with NFL Europa exemptions. Because of the exemptions, the Rams will be able to have 84 players in training camp.
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